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"Only You Can Prevent Barn Fires"

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    "Only You Can Prevent Barn Fires"

    My barn allows people to put up fans. However, neither the trainer nor the barn owner is mandating sealed motor fans. I think each horse has its own fan, and they are using some of those inexpensive (~$20) box fans that I think may be the property of the barn. I bought sealed motor fans for my horses (~$90-120) but that doesn't solve the problem of the other fans. The smaller barns are very dusty and the existing fans are covered with dirt. If a fan at another stall catches fire, my horse may very well die, no matter that my horse has a sealed motor fan.

    Please - I need suggestions on how to convince the trainers and barn owner that this is a necessary expenditure - either the barn should buy sealed motor fans, or the barn should require all owners to purchase them, if they want to help keep their horses cool. I believe that there should be NO cheap box fans allowed. Please help prevent a barn fire!
    Last edited by Wicky; Jun. 23, 2020, 02:40 PM.

    #2
    Can you provide empirical evidence about the likelihood of cheap fans starting barn fires? I had never heard of this prior to reading this post.

    Comment


      #3
      There was a recall on cheap box fans some years ago. Maybe you can find that? I hate that horse shows allow cheap fans. Not in my barn. Good luck- hey, maybe your local fire department can help!

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by DawgLady View Post
        Can you provide empirical evidence about the likelihood of cheap fans starting barn fires? I had never heard of this prior to reading this post.
        this is date from 2002 by the CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION , but about 2,000 structure fires per year were caused by fans, about $4m in structure loss damages and 10 deaths/30 injuries per year average

        An estimated 20,000 residential structure fires (excluding incendiary and suspicious fires) associated with all electric fans, were attended by fire departments from 1990 through 1998. These fires resulted in an estimated 920 civilian injuries, 100 civilian deaths, and $228 million in property loss.

        Product Description A portable fan is a cord-connected appliance capable of being easily moved by hand from place to place. Portable fans consist of box fans, window box fans, dual window fans, window fans, desk/table fans, pedestal/floor fans, clip-on fans, and hassock fans.
        https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/finalreport.pdf

        Comment


          #5
          There's some info on this site about box fan fires:

          http://www.firesafetyinbarns.com/art...ic-appliances/

          There was also a letter from the president of Lasko published in one of the horse magazines a few years back, stating that box fans should not be used in barns...

          Comment


            #6
            I board my horse in a private barn. Each person is responsible for buying their own fan. The owner does not require sealed motors.

            I occasionally go through the barn and take a broom and knock all the dust off the fans.

            I do have concerns about fans overheating. but so far there has never been an incident.

            I have talked with the owner about getting timers for each fan so that they will cut off and not run all night.

            That might be an option. They are not that expensive and will gave the added bonus of cutting down on the electric bill.

            If you cant get the BM/BO to require the safer fan you may be able to convince them to have barn workers knock the dust off as part of the stall cleaning routine. It really doesn't take that long.

            Or require the boarders to clean the fans as needed.

            I gave a fellow boarder my used box fan because hers quit working and I took the time to take it apart and clean it and it took about 10 minutes.

            I took the motor unit out very carefully misted the blades , cleaned the dirt out with a very slightly damp cloth let it sit out in the sun for a few minutes and re assembled it .
            it works fine.

            I absolutely do not mind cleaning the fans , but it's a private barn so it's only seven horses. It takes very little time and the fans work better and it cuts down on the electric bill.

            So you may be able to do some things to make it safer and alleviate your concerns a little bit even if you cant prevail on the enclosed motor fans.

            Hope this helps.
            Certified Guacophobe

            Comment


              #7
              Ah, fab. Here's the letter. It was published in The Horse, in the June 2010 issue.

              Comment


                #8
                This is an interesting thread and raises a valid question. Why ISN'T everyone moving to ag rated (closed motor sealed) fans? Why is there such a lack of awareness? Is it that you can't hang them easily in the stall and plug into an outlet? Do they require special wiring?

                As much as we spend on our horses overall, surely the difference of $125 to help prevent a horrible death seems so obvious.

                https://www.rammfence.com/barn/horse...nch-basket-fan





                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by PaddockWood View Post
                  This is an interesting thread and raises a valid question. Why ISN'T everyone moving to ag rated (closed motor sealed) fans? Why is there such a lack of awareness? Is it that you can't hang them easily in the stall and plug into an outlet? Do they require special wiring?

                  As much as we spend on our horses overall, surely the difference of $125 to help prevent a horrible death seems so obvious.

                  https://www.rammfence.com/barn/horse...nch-basket-fan
                  They just plug in, nothing special required. Guessing it's the expense and lack of awareness. Along with "I've never had a problem." :-/

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by PaddockWood View Post
                    This is an interesting thread and raises a valid question. Why ISN'T everyone moving to ag rated (closed motor sealed) fans? Why is there such a lack of awareness? Is it that you can't hang them easily in the stall and plug into an outlet? Do they require special wiring?

                    As much as we spend on our horses overall, surely the difference of $125 to help prevent a horrible death seems so obvious.

                    https://www.rammfence.com/barn/horse...nch-basket-fan
                    To add to the points that Simkie made above I also think it has to do with simple availability. This time of year you (general) can walk into almost any store (even the grocery store) and for not much money get a nice square, easy to use, easy to mount fan. If you (again general) do not happen to get to Tractor Supply in the very short window where they stock the fans (seasonal item) your chance of just walking in and buying a closed motor fan are greatly reduced.

                    Lots of people (I wanted to say most people, but maybe most is too strong) do not even know what a closed motor fan is or why they should want one, let alone where to buy one. Heck, the box on the average fan says you can use it in a window, so most people do not realize that is not the same as putting it in a barn.

                    In other words, I think the problem is simply a lack of education that is compounded by a lack of easy availability. Last time I wanted to replace a barn fan it was a major undertaking, the only fans that Tractor Supply had left were not closed motor.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      So then is it that the little box fans we've all been using all these years really haven't caused any fires? With that said, my barn is about to go up (short of another disaster which seems to be the theme for me on this project) and I am definitely going ag rated/closed motor.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by PaddockWood View Post
                        This is an interesting thread and raises a valid question. Why ISN'T everyone moving to ag rated (closed motor sealed) fans? Why is there such a lack of awareness? Is it that you can't hang them easily in the stall and plug into an outlet? Do they require special wiring?
                        mine came with all mounting hardware that provided fully adjustable mounting.... no special wiring just a grounded outlet as the fans came with three prong plug in cable

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by PaddockWood View Post
                          So then is it that the little box fans we've all been using all these years really haven't caused any fires?
                          What? No, there have been several fires. Every year or couple years, there's a barn fire in the news because of a box fan.


                          Comment


                            #14
                            There are a lot of issues that contribute to barn fires can be mitigated by following some common sense and safe electrical practices.

                            (1) Overhead hay storage in the barn. We store hay in a separate building.
                            (2) Dust and cobwebs that are not cleaned. I power wash the inside of the barn at the beginning of summer and beginning of fall. Essentially fan season.
                            (3) Poorly/badly wired barns. A circuit that is going to be running electric motors should be AFCI (arc fault protected). Electric motors will not trip a GFCI breaker even when the motor is going bad.
                            (4) Any mounted fan should be securely mounted and out of reach of the horses. They should not be able to reach electric cord.
                            (5) All other outlets should be GFCI protected.
                            (6) Any electrical wiring within reach of horses should be in metal conduit. Plastic conduit gets brittle over time and can break if grabbed by a horse.
                            (7) Wires not in conduit should be metal shielded wiring to prevent rodent damage.
                            A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You can have the outlet set up (forget the name) if the plug gets hot it trips the breaker. this is how my farm has been wired, slight pain as they are touchy... but better touchy and annoyed then a fire.

                              There are also a plug that you can buy that does this as well that you can plug the fan into and then plug that into the outlet.
                              http://www.windsweptfarmllc.com

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thank you all, especially Simkie! I think I have the proof now, and hopefully it will be successful in getting our barn to be a box fan free zone.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Well...if they don't respond positively even after you present the info to them, its a question you can keep in mind when looking for another barn if you don't want to keep your horse there with others using unsealed fans.

                                  My experience with longtime BOs is they are set in their ways and often unwilling to enforce some rules for fear of losing income from a boarder leaving rather then abiding by barn rules. Especially new rules that will cost each border.

                                  Maybe you will get lucky and they will require all the other boarders to replace open motors with sealed. You do need to decide what you will do if nothing changes before you have the conversation though.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by clanter View Post

                                    mine came with all mounting hardware that provided fully adjustable mounting.... no special wiring just a grounded outlet as the fans came with three prong plug in cable
                                    OK then. Given the horrible death by fire why not the power of the COTH to do a campaign and bring awareness of this simple to solve fire hazard?

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      I know what helped motivate me on many issues was seeing the posts of the Technical Large Animal Rescue Group on Facebook. When you're seeing all the fires, and trailer accidents and horses removed from bog and holes it all gets you a bit more AWARE.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by PaddockWood View Post

                                        OK then. Given the horrible death by fire why not the power of the COTH to do a campaign and bring awareness of this simple to solve fire hazard?
                                        well I have seen more barns burn due to lightning strikes, so our metal barn is fully grounded but I would think most people would not go that trouble

                                        I have learned a few things on CoTH... mostly rarely is a person's mind changed.... one can suggest a better method but to getting a person to accept that method is marginal

                                        Everyone has their method, just look at trailers... slant/straight load/ straight load plus one, with/without dressing room/ rear tack on slant...folding or in place? Living Quarters?, ramp/no ramp, ramp to unload straight forward..... what kind of flooring? aluminium, rubber, wood? Windows...sliding or bus type...how many roof vents (if any) What color? How many lights, fans or AC ? Block the axles up to match new trucks.

                                        Then jump over to feeds... most people are more religious about their Feed than their God ...people on this board have even selected Where they are going to move by the availability of Their Feed

                                        So, changing ones mind about a box fan really just is not going to happen

                                        Comment

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