A new plastic sprinkler system for equestrian yards is being developed following concerns over the increase in stable fires.

Brad Wilson, a firefighter with the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s animal rescue team, is launching the new fire suppression system for the UK equine market after seeing a similar product in the US.

“There has been a huge increase nationally and internationally in stable fires and we’ve got to do something to get a better, safer equine environment,” said Mr Wilson, who runs Triangle Fire Safety and has set up a new company called EquiProtect to market the sprinkler.

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Once plumbed in through the stables’ roof the vessel is filled with water and a type of antifreeze solution (green alternatives such as vegetable glycerine are being looked into) and then pressurised with compressed air.

The sprinkler has a small glass filament that shatters when the heat rises. This opens the plug at the end of the sprinkler nozzle, releasing the water and extinguishing the fire.

Mr Wilson said that the system “worked brilliantly” when tested on mock stables at Hampshire Fire and Rescue’s Lyndhurst base last October.

Further trials are being carried out over the next few weeks on a donated stable block being put up at Lyndhurst, to ensure the system is most effective.

“We will be carrying on with the testing and hope to get some endorsement from insurance companies and BARTA (British Animal Rescue Trauma Association) before launching in April,” Mr Wilson told H&H.

“We know it works, we just need to get the sprinkler in the right position for the type of box and make sure we have the correct ventilation to dissipate smoke and fire gases.”

The cost of system installation for a block of ten stables is between £2,500 and £3,000, plus a yearly maintenance cost.

Funding permitting, the first pilot sprinkler system will be installed at the Horse Trust’s retirement home near Princes Risborough, Bucks, in April.

“We are very excited about having the first fire suppression system at the Trust,” the charity’s Jeanette Allen told H&H. “If it works then it’s an obvious next step for The Trust to have it as soon as possible.”

Ref: H&H 28 January, 2016