We care about the safety and well-being of you, your family, your
employees and your animals. While response to a fire is important,
prevention is even better. That is why we continuously work with
farmers and industry to develop different ways to plan, monitor
and inspect farms to reduce the potential for human and animal life
or injuries and/or property loss as a result of barn fires.
Main causes of barn fires
Barn fires can be tragic events for farmers, and the loss of livestock,
buildings and equipment can be devastating in many ways. Approximately
40 per cent of all barn fires are caused by faulty electrical systems,
which is one of the leading causes of barn fires. Regular inspections
and maintenance are key to reducing the risk of a barn fire.
What can you do?
Monitoring and inspecting your buildings and equipment can go a
long way in preventing a fire on your farm.
Have your buildings inspected and maintained regularly by a
licensed electrical contractor.
Develop a preventative maintenance and housekeeping schedule
to reduce the risks of a fire.
Monitor the heat conditions of your barn using infrared technologies.
Work with your local fire department and insurance company to
identify problem areas on your farm, and fix any problem areas
Have a plan ready to deal with any emergency.
Train your family and employees on what to do if there is a
barn fire. Plan what to do about livestock, who to call and establish
a safe meeting point.
There are many new technologies available today that can help you
monitor and inspect your farm buildings. We haven't tested the technologies
listed here, nor do we endorse any of these companies; however,
the technologies are available and in use currently in Ontario and
are good starting points in your research to find what could work
for your operation.
makes a series of different cameras that can detect gas leaks
and electrical hot spots.
There are many different methane sensors available. Do some
research into what might work for you, such as Cole-Parmer
gas detectors or MSA's
combustible gas infrared detector.
Do you have a different fire prevention device, technology or program
that could be listed here? Contact the Agricultural Information
Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
These resources can help you determine risk areas in your operation,
and provide guidance for reducing the risk of barn fires.
Barn fires are stressful and traumatic events for farm families.
The After the Fire Checklist is a tool to help you manage the
overwhelming number of decisions you may need to make in the aftermath
of a fire involving livestock.
Systems in Barns provides information on how an electrical
system can start a fire, regulations and barn electrical maintenance
Use our Agricultural
Information Atlas to develop a sketch of your farm showing
farm features like fire risk areas, utility shut-off points,
water sources, livestock barns and access routes for emergency
vehicles. This sketch can be shared with local first responders
to have on-hand in case of an emergency. Visit the Farm
Fire and Emergency Sketch web page for guidance on how to
create one for your operation.
Livestock Welfare's Emergency
Response web page has great resources, such as how to handle
livestock during an emergency, how to manage loose and scared
livestock, and what to do when a barn fire involves animals.
Equine Guelph has a fantastic training
program on livestock behaviour in emergencies and online
barn fire prevention tools.
Barn fires can create unique challenges for farmers, including
the disposal of large volumes of deadstock. The Ontario Ministry
of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has a regulation
that gives you options for deadstock management. These options
help to protect water quality, reduce environmental impacts and
minimize biosecurity hazards, such as scavenging. Visit ontario.ca/deadstock
for more information.
This web page is intended for informational purposes only, and
is not intended to provide engineering, legal or other advice. OMAFRA
does not guarantee absolute accuracy or sufficiency of subject material,
nor can we accept responsibility for health and safety recommendations
that may have been omitted. We recommend that you consult with your
own professional engineer or lawyer as applicable to determine the
best course of action or legal requirements applicable to your farm.