Fire Safety in your Chicken Coop & Barn - IMPORTANT!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by aoxa, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Now I know everyone thinks that it won't happen to you. I was like that as well. Yeah fires happen, but not to me.

    My ignorance was quickly shattered this Monday when we awoke to our barn in full flames. Nothing at all could be done. We lost everything: Two sheep, Four turkeys, Six Ducks, Four Geese, Roughly 100 breeding chickens, 20 chicks and our Livestock Guardian Dog, Clementine.

    This isn't a thread trying to get your condolences, though I really appreciate it. I am heartbroken, yes. They were my passion. My dream.

    This thread is designed to make you think twice about what you do in your own barn/coop, and to open your eyes to the risks in things you may not even consider a fire risk.

    • The obvious - make sure if you have chicks in the barn/coop that you have your heat lamp SECURED. Do not trust the clamps. They can slip off easily and the heat lamp can fall to the ground and catch the shavings on fire.
    • Extension Cords - Please, please do not use these if you can help it. If you do have to use them, Make sure you are not drawing a lot of power from them (IE: Don't attach an extension cord to a power block and plug a lot into them).
    • DUST your lights and outlets regularly. Dust is a big issue.. You know how much dust a couple of chickens can create.. If dust builds up on heat lamps, or even regular light bulbs the dust itself can catch on fire.
    • If you use extension cords, use heavy duty, and only ones meant for outdoors. Make sure they are all intact and have no rips or tears in the coating.
    • Another extension cord tip: Do not staple them into the wall to keep out of reach of birds. If you hit the cord itself it can create an issue
    • Store baled hay AWAY from livestock. Hay/bedding storage should not be near lights, fans, electrical boxes, heaters or outlets.
    • Flammable substances should be kept away from the barn. (We had 5 propane tanks stored in the loft. BAD idea.
    • Improperly utilized heat lamps are a major source of barn fires. They are often placed too close to hay and bedding which may ignite quite easily from the heat. Never use extension cords with heat lamps.
    • When storing newly baled hay, the temperature should be monitored. Adequate ventilation should be provided for additional drying of the hay. If too much heat builds up, spontaneous combustion can occur. (Never purchase hay that is hot - because it can mean that it was baled too wet. In addition to being a fire hazard, the hay may turn moldy, making it unpalatable and unhealthy for horses to eat.)
    • Outlets and switch boxes should be made of metal and have dust- and water-tight spring-loaded covers that close when released. Ground fault receptacles should be utilized for all outlets.

    • Please read the following tips other users contributed.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
    25 people like this.
  2. Jakoda

    Jakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2012
    Old Lyme CT
    I am so very very sorry for your loss, how devastating:( hugs to you
    I am fire paranoid myself, won't even use heat lamps , this is good info tho for newbies especially
    again, my sympathies
    sueiris likes this.
  3. Herducks

    Herducks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 12, 2012
    Sebastopol, CA
    I am so sorry [​IMG] I know it is heart breaking. So hard to loose so many.
    sueiris likes this.
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Thank you guys.

    We are now very cautious. Our new barn is going to be decked out with safety features. We're going to have alarms that sound up at the house if anything down on the barn catches on fire in the future.. though it took forever for the fire department to arrive.

    There were explosions from the propane tanks. It was terrifying.
    sueiris likes this.
  5. pipdzipdnreadytogo

    pipdzipdnreadytogo Dorking Queen Premium Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    My Coop
    :hugs Thank you for this post.

    We've already planned on building a barn here in the future. Now I know that I have a lot more research to do for safety.
  6. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens
    Please read over this article as well. It gives details on how to build a barn for fire safety :)
  7. pipdzipdnreadytogo

    pipdzipdnreadytogo Dorking Queen Premium Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    My Coop
  8. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2010
    Mere words cannont express how terribly sorry I am for your loss.
    sueiris likes this.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    My condolences and thanks for posting.
    People can be blase and careless unless they've been thru it.
    Hopefully people will take this well composed and illustrated thread to heart.

    I am fire 'paranoid' having experienced one years ago.
    The consequences were minor but the fear was abundant and the extreme caution learned has lasted strong and long.

    Would you mind sharing the origins of the fire?
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  10. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    The origin is undetermined, but it was electrical. Not from heat lamps.. The most damage came from the area we stored our hay - which was near the fuse panel and the majority of our extension cords (it was insane how many we had going - makes me sick).

    I am trying really hard not to blame myself. I didn't know. I really didn't. If I had of known, of course I wouldn't have done it the way I did...

    Almost all the pointers above I did not follow - except the heat lamps. We had the heat lamps secured.

    The day it started we blew 4 fuses building a large breeding pen. That should have been our sign. If you are blowing fuses, you are using way too much power! Tone it down.

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