A fire in the horse barn: Do you know what to do?

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To help horse owners be prepared for such an event, a new set of downloadable infographics outlining barn evacuation plans in the event of a fire has been made available by Equine Guelph.
Photo by Jen Theodore

Would you know what to do if you were the person in the barn when a disaster such as a fire occurred? Do you have an evacuation plan? Who do you call?

To help horse owners be prepared for such an event, a new set of downloadable infographics outlining barn evacuation plans in the event of a fire has been made available by Equine Guelph.

Being prepared is the best defence in a disaster, and can mean the difference between panic or focused execution of a practiced plan during a chaotic situation.

One of the options for an evacuation plan for a barn fire.
One of the options for an evacuation plan for a barn fire. © Equine Guelph

Every facility is different and the new evacuation infographics highlight four possible scenarios and stress the importance of making a plan; including alternate plans and routes – and practice. A plan should be scalable depending on the number of people on hand to help.

The top causes of barn fires are electrical, such as unprotected wiring being damaged by rodents, deteriorated electrical components and connections, and the use of extension cords and power bars instead of properly installed permanent wiring; and storage and the use of flammable in the barn. These include motorised vehicles stored or used in the barn, stored hay and bedding, and improperly stored fuel and other flammables.

Guelph also has a free online Barn Fire Prevention tool to help equestrians learn the steps to establish fire prevention practices, and a short course on Fire and Emergency Preparedness, starting from March 8.

Dr Rebecca Gimenez-Husted, who has travelled the world providing training in Technical Large Animal Rescue Techniques (TLAER website), is the guest speaker for the course. Also a volunteer firefighter, she edited the only textbook available to the fire service and veterinarians on the technical rescue of large animals and has published numerous critiques, techniques and journal articles on the topic.

Guelph is also offering two 90 minute Zoom webinars introducing Large Animal Rescue on March 4 and 11.

Victor MacPherson will be presenting material along with Dr Susan Raymond of Equine Guelph, during the two webinars. MacPherson became involved with the TLAER program in 2013, having completed several training seminars, and assisted in both training and facilitating courses with Equine Guelph and Gimenez-Husted. During that time MacPherson was involved with several operational rescues with the fire department.

Photo by martin.jessica on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

MacPherson served with the Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department for 25 years, 19 years as the District Fire Chief for Station 2. He was Master Emergency Vehicle Technician for 19 years at the City of Vaughan Fire, and is currently Acting Chief Mechanical Officer. A Retired Master Corporal, he served in the Canadian Military attached to armoured units, serving with NATO in Europe.

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