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Barn and stable fires can be devastating. They can not only destroy property but also kill horses and livestock, destroy valuable livestock, and damage equipment and machinery.
They are a farm owner’s worst nightmare and can result in the loss of life as well as livelihood. Such tragic incidents are very hard to overcome and result in serious financial losses as well as emotional and mental disturbance.
There are several reasons that may cause barn and stable fires, and while some may be outside your control, such as lightning, most of them can be prevented by taking the right safety measures.
If a fire does occur, you can lessen its impact by installing fire alarm systems for barns and stables and prevent it from spreading and causing further damage.
Read on to find out more about fire safety in barns and stables, what causes these fires, the best fire alarm systems for barns and stables, and much more:
Barns and stables are very different from typical buildings and present a unique array of challenges when it comes to fire safety.
They are often large, open spaces with high ceilings that can make it difficult to detect and control a fire. They are filled to the brim with combustible materials, with many stables and barns constructed with timber.
Most of these items are necessary in order to run the property and include materials such as hay, straw, wood, and grain. Animal care products and cleaning supplies also present an inherent fire risk as they can all be easily ignited and burn rapidly.
Other leading causes of barn and stable fires include smoking materials, electrical issues, and faulty or ill-maintained electrical equipment.
Barns and stables pose an imminent fire risk due to the nature of the property and the type of materials found inside. Whether your barn is made of timber or steel, it may still contain hay, bedding, wood, grain, and fuel; all of which are highly flammable.
While you can’t do much about not using these items since they make up a big part of the barn/stable’s activities, you can be careful about what tends to ignite these combustible materials and take measures to prevent fires from erupting.
According to The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, the owners of barns and stables must take the required safety measures to mitigate the risk of fire.
The best way to do so is to install fire alarm systems that can detect fires and provide the earliest possible alerts. In order to determine the best type of fire alarm system for your property, a fire risk assessment needs to be carried out that provides an organised and methodical look at the premises and the associated risks.
A fire risk assessment gives insights into the activities carried out at the barn/stable and the likelihood of a fire starting and causing harm to those in and around the premises. It includes:
In the event of a fire breaking out in your barn/stable, you need to act fast and get everyone to safety. This often becomes a challenge and is why so many people lose their lives and property.
The fact of the matter is that you only have around 5 to 7 minutes from the time the fire erupts to the time when the barn/stable becomes too hot and dangerous to enter.
This short span of time is crucial and every single second counts. For this reason, the earlier the fire is detected, the more time you’ll have to get to safety.
The best way to detect a fire before it spreads out of control is with fire alarm systems. Since barns and stables are usually unmanned standalone buildings, a fully automated fire alarm system would work best.
It is also very important that you install the right type of fire alarm since the type of fire risk in a barn or stable is very different from other types of properties.
The placement of the sensors and detectors also plays a crucial part in how well the system will be able to detect a fire. In a home, they are usually installed on the ceiling, but in a barn or stable, this location may be too high.
Fire detection devices are a core component of fire alarm systems as they are what detect the fire. From automatic sensors and detectors to manual call points, there are various types of fire alarm systems that can be used in barns and stables.
A manual call point, also called a break-glass point, is a device that works by an individual detecting a fire and raising the alarm by breaking the glass.
Since they require human intervention to detect and sound the alarm, they are not the best choice for buildings with animals such as barns and stables. For such properties, the fire alarm systems of choice are automatic.
There are 3 basic types of early warning devices: smoke, heat (thermal), and flame detectors.
Smoke detectors provide the earliest warning of a fire as they have the capability to detect a fire while it is in its smouldering phase.
The issue with these systems is that they may not be suitable for a barn/stable. They may quickly become clogged with dust and debris and may not be able to withstand the environmental changes, resulting in false alarms.
Heat detectors and flame detectors are better suited for barns and stables. Let’s look at them in detail:
Heat detectors, also called thermal detectors, are one of the best options when choosing a fire alarm system for your barn/stable. They are a type of automatic fire detection device that works either on a fixed temperature basis or on the temperature’s rate of change.
Fixed temperature heat detectors are more commonly used and are set to trigger the alarm when the temperature reaches a certain level. The other type, also called rate-of-rise detectors, triggers the alarm when the temperature rises at an alarming rate.
Both detectors work best when installed closer to the heat source, which is why they must be installed in high-risk areas determined through a fire risk assessment.
The third type of thermal detector, which is called the fixed temperature line detector, doesn’t require the sensor to be in very close proximity to the heat source.
Two wires run between the detectors and the alarm is triggered when the insulators are damaged because of degradation due to a specific temperature. The advantage of using these detectors is that they cover a larger area at a lower cost.
Thermal detectors are extremely reliable as they are not affected by the dusty and moist environment in barns and stables. Their adequacy, however, is a bit debatable since they take some time to detect a fire when it is in its later stages of progression.
This increases the time for the fire to be detected and decreases the time the occupants have to safely evacuate. This extra time taken to detect a fire can cause greater damage and may result in a fire that is difficult to control.
For this reason, they are not used as sole detection devices and are preferred in combination with other fire detection systems.
Flame detectors imitate human sight and, compared to heat detectors, are a more effective early warning detection device in barns and stables.
They need to be strategically placed so that they can be directly “looking” at the fire source and assess the electromagnetic radiation’s wavelengths.
These systems are highly reliable, especially for burning fires that do not give off smoke. The key to their efficiency is their placement since the farther they are from the source, the larger the fire must get for the sensors to detect it.
Early warning systems such as the ones discussed above can add valuable time to evacuation and rescue efforts. The only issue is that someone needs to be nearby to hear the alarms. This can be a real problem when there is no human presence on the property as the alarm can easily go unheard.
One way to ensure that someone is always alerted in the event of an alarm trigger is through fire alarm monitoring. You can have a professional 24-hour monitoring service monitor the alarm at all times and contact the relevant people and authorities during a fire emergency.
Fire alarm systems are an integral fire safety measure for barns and stables. They help detect fires and prevent them from spreading.
Depending on how early the fire was detected and how well the fire emergency plan was executed, you may be able to reduce the damage, but there still may be some level of damage that you may not be able to recover.
To avoid that from happening, here are a few fire prevention tips to follow:
Electric fires are one of the most common types of fires erupting in residential, commercial, as well as agricultural properties.
In order to prevent sparks and short circuits from turning into full-fledged fires, have a certified electrician inspect the electrical installations, appliances, and wiring around the property on an annual basis. Unplug any electrical appliances that are not in use and avoid using any damaged electrical equipment.
Contact Calder Electrical for a thorough electrical inspection of your barn and stable to make sure your electrics are up to the mark and you are compliant with the law.
Not only is smoking injurious to health but can also be a serious fire hazard. Dropped cigarette butts are one of the most common causes of barn fires, which gives you all the more reason to implement a strict no-smoking policy on the property.
This refers to keeping the barn/stable as clean as possible in order to reduce dust and other flammable materials. Consider clearing out trash, dirt, cobwebs, oil, cleaning rags, and other fire hazards.
Hay is a big source of fire on farms, particularly if it is damp or not completely cured. Smouldering may start inside the hay before it is even baled and become nearly impossible to notice.
In addition to that, make it a point to control grass and weed growth around the barn. Not only will proper upkeep and maintenance give your barn/stable a nice look but also reduce another potential source of fire.
You can’t possibly remove all flammable items out of your barn and stable as the animals need bedding and food. What you can do is try to avoid storing excessive amounts of hay and other combustibles in the barn.
You can try to limit it to a few days’ supply or arrange separate storage space for all this extra material. The same applies to other items such as wood and fuel. Not only will they increase the risk of fires but, in the event of one, the combustibles may make it more intense and difficult to extinguish.
Other than cigarette butts and faulty electrics, machinery exhaust is a commonly overlooked source of combustion as well.
Trucks driven in areas of the barn or stable where hay or other flammable materials have been kept increases the chance of fires as the hot exhausts can start a fire if they come in contact with these things.
The best way to go about this is to park vehicles away from the living quarters and the barn/stable and store any fuel or fuel tanks at a distance too.
Our experts have been working in the industry for over 40 years and can provide you with a comprehensive solution for your barn/stable’s fire safety needs which includes:
The proper installation of a fire alarm system is just as important as the quality of the system itself and is a complex task requiring expertise in the field.
We can survey your property and determine the best kind of system suitable for your needs and one that complies with the current standards and regulations.
We can then plan and install your system to high standards using only the best quality equipment from our trusted suppliers.
We also offer after-sales care and an ongoing maintenance package after the installation to ensure your fire alarm works in optimal condition providing you with a system you can depend and rely on.
Fire alarms must follow strict regulations and guidelines to keep them in good working order and the best way to stay compliant is to have them serviced regularly.
We have a vast understanding of the regulations in force and can provide you with a high level of service to keep your system healthy and working all the time.
According to the law, a fire alarm system must be maintained properly and depending on certain factors, it can be up to three times per year.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to speak with our representatives right away!
Or would like us to provide a survey and quote then please contact us and we will be happy to help.Call us on 0800 612 3001