Strategies to reduce the risk of barn fires:
- Having a plan ready to deal with any emergency.
- Having buildings inspected and maintained regularly by a licensed electrical contractor.
- Monitoring the electrical components in the barn (e.g. using infrared and robotic technologies).
- Working with local fire departments and insurance companies to identify problem areas on the farm, including blocked laneway access to buildings and electrical hotspots, and to fix any issues found.
- Developing a preventative maintenance and housekeeping schedule.
- Training family and employees on what to do if there is a barn fire: plan what to do with livestock, who to call and establish a safe meeting point.
Barn Fire Resources
- Producer Factsheet
- Dealing with the Aftermath of a Livestock or Poultry Barn Fire
- Reducing the Risk of Fire on Your Farm
- Factsheet for First Responders
There are many resources that can help farmers inspect and monitor their operations to reduce the risk of a fire. Visit ontario.ca/preventfarmfires to find helpful resources, including:
- Reducing the Risk of Fire on Your Farm examines the main causes of farm building fires and what can be done to minimize risks
- A checklist to help assess a farm’s risk for a barn fire
- The Farm Fire and Emergency Sketch that can help farmers create an emergency sketch using an aerial photo
- Our Electrical Systems in Barns Factsheet that provides information on how an electrical system can start a fire, regulations and barn electrical maintenance practices.
- Links to different inspection, monitoring and extinguishing technologies
- A link to the Emergency Response web page that has great resources on what to do with livestock during an emergency
- A link to Equine Guelph’s training program on livestock behaviour in emergencies and barn fire prevention tools
Visit our partners’ web pages for barn fire prevention information and resources:
- Farm & Food Care Ontario’s FLIR heat-sensing module lending program
- The Township of Perth East’s Building a Farm Fire Safe Community program
- The Township of North Huron’s Emergency Services list
- The Blyth, Ontario Emergency Services Training Centre
- The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury’s Fire and Emergency Services
- Heartland Mutual’s Farm & Commercial Risk Management program
- Trillium Farm Mutual’s Risk Management Team
Barn fires can create unique challenges for farmers, including the disposal of large volumes of deadstock. We encourage you to inform your members and clients about their responsibilities around deadstock disposal.
The Disposal of Dead Farm Animals Regulation under the Nutrient Management Act was developed by OMAFRA to manage on-farm livestock deaths. The regulation provides deadstock management options for farmers to minimize environmental impacts and biosecurity hazards. While burial was historically the chosen option for barn debris and deadstock, the increase in the number of animals per facility and changes in the building materials increase the risks of doing so. Collection of deadstock by a licensed collector is recognized as the most effective and sustainable disposal method.
Together, we can reduce the risk of barn fires.