Ten Tips for Summer Barn Fire Safety

As the summer heat dries out our vegetation and the Oklahoma summer winds pick up speed, it's time to review fire safety once again. Many of you know that we lost our goat barn in a fire three years ago. Ever since then I've been even more conscious of fire safety than I had been before, and my husband will tell you I was already obsessive before the fire.

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According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), barn fires are more common during the winter and summer months. Winter fires are often the result of heating equipment, but there are many common causes of summer barn fires including spontaneous combustion of newly-baled hay and lightning strikes.

Summer is a good time to check your list of fire safety precautions. Inspect your barn for the following problems:

1. No Smoking Allowed - hay, straw and dried-out manure are all flammable. Hang a No Smoking sign in your barn to let visitors know they shouldn't light up. No exceptions!

2. Don't allow debris to pile up in or around your barn. Clean up old wood and piles of dead brush and trash.

3. Store hay, straw and bedding in another building, not in your livestock barn.

4. Inspect the electrical wiring for worn spots or damage from rodents. Electrical wiring should be run through conduit for the highest level of safety.

5. Fans are one of the leading causes of summer barn fires. House fans are not made to withstand the dust in a barn; dust can clog up the motor and cause a fire. Use a fan made for use in a barn (affiliate link) available at farm supply stores and at Amazon.

6. Cobwebs and dust are flammable and allow flames to spread rapidly from one end of the barn to another. Use an old broom to keep your beams and walls cobweb-free.

7. Check light bulbs in your barn. Don't allow them to collect dust and dirt. Keep light switches and outlets free of dust.

8. Keep a fire extinguisher in the barn and know how to use it.

9. Don't store flammables in the barn. Gasoline and gas-powered machinery are obvious, but how about those bottles of fly spray, cleaning solutions and other flammable materials? Find another place to store them, such as in your stock trailer.

10. Create a defensible space around your barn to slow down or stop the spread of fire. Trim tree branches so that they are at least ten feet from the roof and keep grass and brush trimmed within a thirty-foot perimeter of your structure.

While you're checking your fire safety list in the barn, apply these tips to your home as well! You probably don't store hay in your house, but the rest of these tips apply to homes and other structures too.

Do you have a fire safety policy? Please share with us in the comments below.

How to make a barn fire safety policy and prevent a barn fire.

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