Emergency Preparedness: What to do in the Event of a Barn Fire
Barn fires are a horse owner's worst nightmare. Here are some guidelines from the U.S Humane Society on what to do in the case of a barn fire:
- Immediately call 911 or your local emergency services. Keep that number clearly posted.
Do not enter the barn if it is already engulfed in flames.
- If it is safe for you to enter the barn, evacuate horses one at a time starting with the most accessible horses. Be sure to put a halter and lead rope on each horse when you open the stall door. Be aware that horses tend to run back into burning barns out of fear and confusion.
- Blindfold horses only if absolutely necessary. Many horses will balk at a blindfold, making evacuation more difficult and time consuming.
- Move your horses to paddocks close enough to reach quickly but far enough from the barn that the horses will not be distressed by the fire and smoke. Never release horses in an area where they are able to return to the barn.
- Following a fire, have all your horses checked by a veterinarian. Smoke inhalation can cause serious lung damage and respiratory complications. Horses are prone to stress and may colic after a fire.
Your local animal care and control agency, agricultural extension agent, or local emergency management agency may be able to provide you with information about your community’s disaster response plans.