Guide Horse riding establishment guidance notes

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6. Appendix two - fire precautions

Stable fires - action

Fire is one of the most horrific dangers facing a stabled horse. Prompt action, calmly undertaken by staff is an essential requirement.

  1. On discovering fire sound the alarm.
  2. Dial 999, ask for the fire services, give name, address of fire and the telephone number you are speaking from.
  3. First evacuate those horses nearest to the fire to the nearest paddock or enclosure not likely to be affected by the fire. Secure control of the frightened animals is essential. Always have a head collar conveniently placed if the horses are in loose boxes, or a spare shank if they permanently wear head collars or are tied in stalls. A coat, sack or blanket placed over the horses head as a blindfold may help.
  4. Remove all horses, working progressively away from the fire area.
  5. If working single handed in a large yard do not attempt to fight an established fire until all the horses are removed.
  6. If you are present at the onset, small outbreaks of fire which can easily be contained should be tackled if the equipment is to hand. Never put yourself in danger by trying to tackle a fire where there is a lot of smoke, or which is near flammable materials or where one extinguisher is insufficient to extinguish it.
  7. If the fire is confined to an unoccupied building contain the fire by closing doors windows and other openings(providing that this can be done without risk to persons).
  8. Never turn horses out loose in the yard unless there is no alternative. Close all loose box doors after removing horses as they regard their stables as a place of refuge and might attempt to return to the burning building. A yard full of loose horses will cause great difficulty to the fire brigade on their arrival and may result in horses escaping onto the highway.
  9. Designate an area away from likely seats of fire to contain the horses whilst the fire is being tackled.


Consult with the fire prevention officer for advice

Stable yards should always be equipped with the following:

  1. An alarm which is regularly tested.
  2. Extinguishers which are regularly tested.
  3. A hose pipe permanently attached to the mains supply, and of sufficient length to reach all buildings. The pipe should be maintained on a reel and regularly extended and tested for leaks.
  4. No smoking notices must be displayed around the premises.
  5. No flammable materials such as LPG, petrol, paraffin or paint must be stored in the vicinity of the stable.
  6. All staff must have received instruction on the fire drill, and the drill must be rehearsed regularly.
  7. Where several horses are stabled in the same building, there must always be more than one exit.
  8. Never construct cage boxes in a building unless the passageway is a minimum of 1.183m (6ft) wide and all box doors either open outwards and fold back flat against the outside of the box or are of a sliding design.
  9. Never allow bonfires or fireworks near the stables.
  10. Display a notice which gives the location of another telephone should the stable telephone become unusable.
  11. Consider the installation of a fire hydrant.

Suggested format of fire precautions notice

Colour: White lettering on a red background.

Location: To be fixed on the outside of the main building.

Heading: 'Action to be taken in the event of fire'

  1. On discovery of a fire sound the alarm (If fire bell or triangle is installed the location of this equipment must be shown on the notice).
  2. If the stables are on fire or could be involved release horses into ..........................(state location of field or designated place of safety on the notice). When releasing horses start with those nearest to the fire and work away from it.
  3. Call the fire brigade or ensure that they have been called. (The location of the nearest telephone together with that of the next nearest should be stated).
  4. Tackle the fire with extinguishers or other appliances. (The position of such appliances should be stated).