Animals: Preventing Barn Fires


A barn fire is a frightening event for farmers and livestock, and can become a tragedy. Here are some tips to help in your planning:

Have you done everything to prevent and prepare for barn fires?

  • Prohibit smoking in or around the barn areas
  • Restrict access to your barn, and keep it clean and free of debris
  • If possible, store hay and bedding in another building
  • Make sure electrical wiring is up to code
  • Install lightning protection and have fire extinguishers on hand
  • Install heat or smoke detectors, and barn sprinklers
  • Restrict tractor and motor vehicle use in the barn
  • Plan an evacuation route and practice fire drills. Include your livestock and desensitize them to flashlights and flashing lights
  • Post emergency numbers at each telephone and at each entrance
  • Invite the local fire department over to identify hazards

In the Event of a Barn Fire:

  • Immediately call 911
  • Use fire extinguishers if the fire is manageable.
  • Do not enter the barn if it is already engulfed in flames
  • If it is safe for you to enter the barn, evacuate animals one at a time starting with the most accessible. Be sure to put a halter and lead rope on each when you open the stall door.
  • After the fire, be sure to have all your livestock checked by a veterinarian. Smoke inhalation can cause serious lung damage and respiratory complications.

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