The Ontario Equestrian Federation is deeply saddened by the two recent stable fires in this province. We offer our sincerest condolences to those whose lives have been touched by these tragedies.
These recent events have left Ontario’s equine community reeling and wondering if more can be done to protect the animals in our care. In light of these recent events, we encourage all stable operators, including “back yard” horse owners, to have an emergency action plan in place for emergencies that may occur in your area (fire, floods, etc.). In addition to having an emergency action plan in place and practicing that plan regularly, we also recommend implementing the following safety practices:
- Consult a local fire department for specific advice on fire prevention, particularly before renovating or building a new facility
- Ensure your emergency action plan includes evacuation procedures and emergency contacts.
- Ensure staff, boarders etc. are familiar with your emergency action plan
- Have fire extinguishers (Class A,B,C) located at various points in any facility and ensure staff, boarders, etc. know of their location and proper use
- Do not store combustible materials near where horses are kept
- Check electrical equipment regularly for stray voltage and ensure wiring or electrical panels are not accessible to horses
- Maintain a perimeter fence to prevent horses from leaving the property
- Ensure stalls and equipment that restrains horses have quick release mechanisms. A halter and lead rope should be available at each stall front to facilitate the rapid removal of horses
- Build or renovate facilities for the rapid removal of horses (e.g. a door leading to a secure, fenced runway where horses can be released rather than haltering each horse).
- In the case of a fire, horses should be secured in a safe location as they may return to a barn that is on fire.
While fires can still occur even with safety precautions and protocols in place, making fire safety a priority at your stable can help save lives.
Reducing the Risk of Fire on your Farm – Published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines – Published by Equine Canada
Farm Fire Safety Checklist – Produced by the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management
Fire Prevention on the Farm – Developed by the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management with the assistance of Perth East Fire Department and the Farm Safety Association.
There are also large animal emergency rescue awareness seminars available through Equine Guelph that we encourage horse owners to attend. They are designed to educate first responders, law enforcement, animal control officers, veterinarians, emergency animal response teams and horse owners on how to deal with emergency situations. For more information, visit www.equineguelph.ca