Is Your Livestock Barn At Risk For A Fire? Here’s A Safety Checklist

By: Sara Brown, previously published by Farm Journal’s Pork

It seems there have been more livestock barn fires in 2018 than years prior, according to coverage on and sister publications Farm Journal’s PORKDrovers and Dairy Herd Management.

While wildfires are nearly impossible to prepare for, stationary livestock barns can be modified to lower the risk of fire. During winter months, it’s even more important that farmers inspect livestock facilities before installing additional heaters and inspect electrical wiring for damage.

The National Fire Protection Association and Iowa State University offers these tips to lower fire hazards on the farm:

Heaters and Electricity

  • Keep heat lamps and space heaters a safe distance from anything that can burn
  • Put heaters on a sturdy surface that can’t fall over.
  • Use electrical equipment that is labeled for agricultural or commercial use.
  • Inspect all electrical wiring and cords to ensure they are free from damage.
  • Install covers on lightbulbs to protect them from dust, moisture and breakage.
  • Remove dust and cobwebs around electrical outlets and lights.

Proper Material Storage

  • Feed, hay, straw and flammable liquids should be stored away from the main barn.
  • Buy hay at the correct moisture (less than 17% moisture) and check its condition frequently.
  • Store oily rags in closed, metal container away from heat.

Prevention Measures

  • Create a no-smoking zone in all buildings.
  • Clearly mark all exits and keep pathways clear.
  • Install ABC-type fire extinguishers near every exit and within 50 ft. from any point in the barn.
  • Install fire alarm, carbon monoxide detection and sprinkler systems.
  • Post written emergency information at each phone.
  • Hold fire drills frequently with everyone who uses the barn.
  • Train workers on how to use fire extinguishers.
  • Talk to your local fire department to address unique safety concerns on your farm.


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