Agriculture, forestry and fishing

NFPA offers barn-fire safety checklist


Photo: James Pintar/iStockphoto

Quincy, MA – In response to several damaging fires in Canada, the National Fire Protection Association is advising barn owners to check both barns and outbuildings for fire hazards.

The agency has released a checklist to help prevent barn fires. The checklist includes the following guidance:

  • Keep space heaters and heat lamps a safe distance from anything flammable.
  • Ensure heaters are on a solid surface so they are unable to tip over.
  • Label electrical equipment for agricultural or commercial use.
  • Ensure wiring is undamaged.
  • Do not use extension cords in the barn.
  • Cover lightbulbs to shield them from dust, moisture and damage.
  • Quickly identify and fix damage.
  • Remove dust and cobwebs from electrical outlets and lights.
  • Keep oily rags in a closed metal container, far from heat.
  • Store feed, hay, straw and flammable liquids away from the main barn.
  • Keep the barn a smoke-free area.
  • Clearly designate exits. Keep pathways clear.
  • Frequently conduct fire drills.
  • Train workers to use fire extinguishers.
  • Have a set schedule for hazard checks.

NFPA encourages contacting the local fire department to review a barn’s safety issues. The agency also notes that local building codes may require safety equipment, including:

  • ABC-type fire extinguishers near each exit and within every 50 feet
  • Fire alarm system
  • Sprinkler system
  • Carbon monoxide detection system

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