Thursday, January 5, 2017

Puslinch horse fire sparks improvements

Barb Millier, one of the owners of Classy Lane Stables in Puslinch Township that burned a year ago, claiming 43 racehorses, has advice for farmers – check your electrical systems.

"There's a lot of little things that can be done that people just don't realize until it happens," Millier said in an interview with CBC.

"What I really want to do is get the word out to people that you can do more to make it safe."

After “a lot of digging,” she and her partner, Jamie Millier, have:

- replaced all electrical outlets in their six barns with arc fault outlets, which shut off if there is anything wrong with the appliances that are plugged into them;

- put timers on all the dryers in the laundry rooms, so that they could not be used over night;

- installed heat and smoke detectors, which – if triggered – set off strobe lights and a siren outside the barns and send text messages to eight cell phones, and

- installed a dry suppressant system in all barn offices and laundry rooms, which operate similar to traditional sprinkler systems, but emit a dry powder similar to baking soda.

"We feel quite comfortable with what we've done and we feel we've done all we can," Millier said.

Fire insurance companies offer free advice to farmers on what to do to reduce the risk of fires.