The horrors of a fire breaking out in a yard is a realistic fear for many yard managers and co-operation between yards and the Fire and Rescue Services is the most effective way of reducing the risk of fire at equestrian establishments.

This was the message to come out of a recent open day at the Telford Fire Station, which the British Horse Society was invited to attend.

BHS spokeswoman Wendy Peckham explains: “All riding schools and livery yards should contact their local fire station who will then come out to the yard and carry out a risk assessment.”

The fire service will be able to advise on matters such as:

  • where sand-buckets and fire extinguishers should be placed
  • what signs should be displayed in yards
  • the importance of the availability of water and water buckets

In turn staff from the yard can give information to the service such as:

  • areas where horses may be in most danger in the event of fire
  • safe areas the horses can be moved to
  • where headcollars can be found
  • contact numbers for owners and staff

It is also useful to provide a map reference for the yard so that the service can plan the quickest route in the event of an emergency.

Fire service procedures do vary from county to county, for example some services would rather hold a plan of the yard at the station while others would rather a plan was displayed on site. However, Wendy says that the fire service is always prepared to visit yards and discuss safety precautions. “They are always very willing to come out and help,” she says.

  • To locate your local fire station visit www.london-fire.gov.uk, which includes links to regional fire brigades throughout the UK.