Safety Guidelines to Follow, When You Own 0r Operate a Farm. Part Three: Fire Protection

Monday, November 21, 2022
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This is the third article on a new series that Markel is working on; Guidelines to follow when you own or operate an Equestrian Farm Property. For every threat of a mishap, there’s usually a simple safety measure that you can apply to eliminate or drastically reduce the possibility of an accident. However, you have to make sure you are looking in all the right places for possible pitfalls. The following safety tips can help you to reduce accidents and even save lives, but their effectiveness will depend on how frequently you use them – and on how well you communicate to others on your premises the importance of using them too.

A successful safety program requires consistent supervision and planning. While these checklists do not take the place of the advice given by fire and police departments, utility specialists, and other trained professionals, they will provide suggestions for what to look for and how to establish your own safety program.

Besides saving lives and protecting property, using these guidelines can help you qualify for lower insurance premiums. Insurance costs less for people who use safety guidelines because they have fewer losses. While safety can help you save money on your premium, insurance remains a necessity for every farm and business. Liability and property coverage help to protect your assets and keep you in business in the event of a loss. Markel can provide this protection. See your local agent today!

This week we will cover: FIRE PROTECTION

1. NO SMOKING signs should be posted, and NO SMOKING enforced in all outbuildings. Smoking should be restricted to designated areas. Proper fireproof disposal containers should be provided and emptied daily.

2. Fire protection devices are recommended in all buildings (i.e. lightning rods, smoke detectors, smoke alarms, or heat detectors). All devices should be properly installed, meet UL standards, and be tested periodically for defects.

3. Replace battery operated smoke alarm batteries every six months.

4. ABC type fire extinguishers should be placed throughout the dwelling and all outbuildings, and serviced on an annual basis. All personnel should be instructed on the proper use of these extinguishers. Anyone who is in the barn should know the location and how to operate the fire extinguishers properly. The best location is to mount a fire extinguisher by the door and prominently identify the location of all fire extinguishers.


5. An established, well-practiced fire escape plan should be in place for all buildings. All exits should be clearly marked and a fire evacuation plan posted. This should include plans for removing livestock or horses from areas of danger, such as a designated pasture for turn out.

6. All roads and lanes should be maintained year round for easy access by fire fighters. Ask your local fire department to do a “practice run” to your farm. Inviting them to do a training activity on your property might help encourage a “practice run.” Gated entries need to have proper clearance so that the long fire trucks can successfully make the turn into the property. Keys to the property can be place on file at the fire department.

7. Emergency telephone numbers should be displayed near all telephones along with directions on how to dial “911” if it requires accessing an outside line. Numbers for fire, police, vet and hospital should be included.

8. Fuel tanks should be far away from any building, and have barriers placed around the tank to avoid collision with a vehicle or machinery.

9. Welding must be conducted in confined areas or off premises.

10. Metal-sided or framed buildings and structures must be properly grounded.

11. Handle and store flammable liquids with care.

12. A separate open shed should be used for hay storage to avoid spontaneous combustion. Check hay to be sure it is dry and properly cured. Hay should be stored in a building without horses. Hay storage should be limited by stacks that are at least 250 feet apart.nStack limit may vary based on insurance coverage’s.

13. Inspect dry exhaust hoses every 6 months. Clean and/or replace any hose congested with lint and remove any debris covering the exhaust area.

14. Maintain all propane grilles and associated propane tanks in proper working condition and free of excessive grease buildup.

Use Proper Fans

Did you know that many barn fires start by trying to cool down animals in the barn? The No. 1 cause of barn fires in the summer is inexpensive box fans that are meant only to be used in your house. Because the motors are not sealed, dust and dirt get into the motors, making them heat up and catch fire, melting the plastic housing.

Also, the cords on these box fans are not durable enough for barn use. Livestock can chew on the cord, and out it goes. Motors in agricultural or industrial-level fans are sealed and are much less likely to catch fire.

If you follow these simple rules, you will certainly reduce your risk of a fire. In the coming weeks we will offer more guidelines that relate to electrical maintenance & heating systems maintenance.

Mary Phelps

HorsesDaily's Mary Phelps ( is a Markel Equine Insurance Specialist and CSR Tracey Scharf ( provide the personal attention needed to help make the lives of their clients smooth and easy when it comes to the process of insuring your Farm, business and equine mortality needs. While Mary travels to the shows and barns, you can count on Tracey in the office to be available to answer questions and manage the details with ease. 1-800-572-3286.

This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser.  Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss or damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.
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