If you are contemplating starting a business running a livery yard or riding stables, one thing that should be high on your list of priorities is fire safety. Good health and safety practices are essential if you are to obtain building safety certification and pass a fire safety inspection. With this in mind, here are some top tips to ensure that your yard is fire-safe and will pass muster at the inspection.

Building construction

When designing your new stable yard, you should, where possible, use masonry walls and steel frames. If possible, ensure that the flooring of your stables is made from compacted earth or cement. Use rubber kicking boards to line the stable walls, rather than wooden ply. These won’t ignite easily, making it much more difficult for a fire to take hold.

Wooden roof joists and beams should be treated with fire-retardant products to slow down the progress of a fire, should one start. Wherever possible, avoid using soft-wood, as it can be very easily combustible.
Although barn-style stabling is popular and has the advantage of being cool in the summer and warm in the winter, it can also trap smoke and present a safety risk in the event of fire. If you do go for a barn design, make sure that there are wide exit doors both ends and one in the centre.

Electrical equipment and wiring should be kept well-protected inside metal casings from curious horses and nibbling vermin.

Yard design

When designing your yard, keep evacuation at the forefront of your mind. Remember that you will not only have to evacuate the horses, you will also need to consider your staff, clients, and visitors too. One exit from a traditional horse-shoe shaped yard will not be sufficient to safely accommodate everyone in an emergency, and could form a trap if the fire was in that vicinity.

You can overcome this problem by ensuring that you have at least three exits, sited at different points in the yard. One of these should be designated for the evacuation of horses and should provide direct or easy access to a safely fenced area where the animals can be safely contained.

Storage of forage and bedding

Never keep forage or bedding adjacent to the stables or in a loft area above them. There should be a distance of at least six metres between the storage area and the stables.

Regularly serviced, approved fire extinguishers should also be situated in your yard, and clear operation instructions must be displayed next to each appliance. Ensure that all your staff members are fully trained in the operation of these appliances.

If you want to consider your horses and staff’s safety, and ensure your property is truly fire-safe, contact us today to find out more about the fire risk assessments we provide to satisfied customers every day.

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