The Humane Society of Canada recommends the following safety standards to prevent fires in barns:

  • Assign overall responsibility for safety prevention to one person and provide him/her with the full authority, human and financial resources to do their job effectively
  • Install and maintain a sprinkler system and other fire suppression systems
  • Install and maintain a high pressure water mains system for use by the fire department
  • Install and maintain detection systems for fire and other hazards
  • Post "No Smoking" signs and have a zero tolerance policy, namely a $5,000 fine for the first and only offence, followed by an immediate and permanent eviction of the person responsible from the stables
  • Maintain a list of horses in each barn along with a list of which stalls are occupied and which are unoccupied. This will allow rescuers to know where in the barn horses may still be in a stall.
  • Develop and improve a plan for safe and efficient evacuation and for dealing with emergency situations such as fires. Conduct unannounced safety drills once each month with the appropriate people including family, neighbours, boarders and so forth
  • Keep a well-stocked first aid kit (one is available from The Humane Society of Canada) on hand along with your veterinarian's phone number (including their emergency phone number)
  • Install a phone in the barn so that a fire, or other emergency, can be reported quickly
  • Keep halters and lead ropes in a convenient location
  • Have a long garden hose hooked up to a water supply
  • Ensure that there are an appropriate number of exits and that they are kept free of debris and obstacles and the doors are maintained in good working order
  • Have tools and other equipment on hand - items such as a long ladder, garden hose with spray nozzle, shovel, rake, water bucket, blanket and so forth
  • Have a list of the animals on the premises and ways to contact their owners in an emergency
  • Put a decal in appropriate places indicating that animals reside inside (such a decal is available from The Humane Society of Canada)
  • Store fuel and other flammable materials in an approved safety container away from buildings housing animals (or people)
  • Check electrical systems and ensure that they are in good working condition, free of dust, dirt, cobwebs and combustible material like hay, straw and wood shavings
  • Don't permit oil or gas burning lamps, candles or other flammable materials in barns or other buildings housing animals
  • Make sure that hay, straw and wood shavings are dry or well-cured and stored away from buildings housing animals (only the bedding and feed that is actually in each animal's stall should be kept in the barn)
  • Protect light bulbs from animals and make sure that wiring and electrical fixtures are inaccessible to (or protected from) animals
  • If your animals have access to a fenced in yard, leave the barn door open, because most farm animals, and especially horses, are flight animals and flee at the first sign of danger
  • Some people who keep horses and other animals have even gone so far as to ensure that there are no electrical outlets or appliances at all in the barn area
  • Many stables are old; roofs and buildings should be kept in good repair
  • Report any suspected cases of arson immediately to the local police and your insurance company. Arson and fraud investigators have years of experience and a wide range of investigative and forensic techniques at their disposal, and offenders are almost always caught and punished