Keep you and your barn safe

For horse lovers, the barn is a favorite place - a comfortable, familiar refuge from the real world. You spend a lot of time in the barn, so don't take its safety for granted. Following are suggested ways to keep you and your barn safe.For horse lovers, the barn is a favorite place - a comfortable, familiar refuge from the real world. You spend a lot of time in the barn, so don't take its safety for granted. Following are suggested ways to keep you and your barn safe.

Story originally posted by: Amy K. HabakHorseCity.com Free-Lance Writer

For horse lovers, the barn is a favorite place – a comfortable, familiar refuge from the real world. You spend a lot of time in the barn, so don’t take its safety for granted. Following are suggested ways to keep you and your barn safe.

Clear the barn aisle. Keep the aisle clear from clutter to avoid tripping. Designate storage places for stall cleaning equipment, tack boxes, feed buckets, etc. and keep everything in its place.

Keep one horse length spacing between horses. Crowding horses while you are leading poses more of a threat to you than when riding. Since you are down on the ground, you are closer to the horse’s mouth and his heels. While most horses wouldn’t intentionally kick or bite a human, they often miss their equine enemies and inadvertently get you.

Install emergency equipment. Number one on your list should be a first aid kit. Everyone at the barn should know where it is located. Every barn should have fire extinguishers at several handy locations. Smoke detectors and fire alarm systems are also great.

Other emergency equipment you may wish to include in your barn are lightning rods, security systems, emergency lights, motion detectors or sprinkler systems.

A phone is a must. A phone, with emergency numbers posted nearby, should be readily available to everyone at the barn for use in emergencies. Keep all emergency phone numbers and written directions on how to get to your place by each barn phone. Include phone numbers for the fire department, ambulance, police, local hospital, poison center and game wardens.

Keep it light. Make sure your barn is adequately lighted. Eliminate dark areas where a person could trip or run into something. Even if you primarily work at your barn during the day, you should have some lighting in case an emergency happens during the night.

Clear the road. Keep all drives to your barn clear at all times. They should be wide enough to allow emergency vehicles to pass. Additionally, make sure you have adequate parking for bath normal barn traffic and emergency vehicles. Keep your parking lot free of such hazards as broken, uneven pavement, ice and snow, and oil.

Clean. Cleaning is truly a never ending job, but one that reaps many rewards. Barn fires are more likely to occur when cobwebs build up, especially around light fixtures. Oily rags, trash left lying, and old scattered hay is unsightly as well as a fire hazard. Regular cleaning includes emptying trash cans, sweeping down all cobwebs, dusting and raking up scattered hay.

Keep electric safe. Check your wires regularly, taking care to replace any questionable wiring right away. Keep all wires and outlets out of horses’ reach. Rodents may also chew on your wiring. Check it often and replace any bare, worn or chewed-on wiring.

Other tips for electrical safety are similar to those you follow in your home such as resisting the urge to overload outlets and using ground fault circuit interrupters. Ground fault circuit interrupters keep you from being electrocuted. Consult with your electrician. For additional safety, keep lights covered with cages, so horses can’t break the bulbs.

Don’t lock yourself in a stall. You never know when your horse may act up. If he does, you’ll need to get away from him quickly. You won’t have time to unlatch the stall door. Make sure you always have a clear escape route when working with your horse.

Watch visitors. Many accidents occur when unsupervised public or visitors come into contact with horses. Use signs to restrict public access to your horses. Stalls with bars helps prevent horses from biting unsuspecting visitors.

Store hay safely. Stack hay in an area designated specifically for hay storage. Parking tractors and other equipment in the hay barn increases risk of hay fires. If you store hay overhead in a loft, make sure your barn has good ventilation, as overhead hay increases risk of fire. Lofts present additional risk because of their height. Build hand rails around your loft so you don’t accidentally trip and fall overboard.

All hay should be dry and free from mold. Leave some space between your hay and the walls, floor and ceiling to allow for proper ventilation. Before stacking, check for heat and mold.

Lock up the tack. If you leave the barn at night, lock the tack room door. This prevents easy access for thieves. Some may wish to lock their entire barn. However, if a barn fire occurred and you weren’t around, fire fighters couldn’t get into your barn.

A little extra attention to details affords you valuable peace of mind that you are doing all you can to keep your barn a safe haven.