Now that summer has arrived, many horse owners are preparing to buy and install box fans in their barns. Before they buy a box fan, though, they must make absolutely sure it’s designed for agricultural use.
The motor must be sealed to prevent dirt and dust from getting into the motor housing and starting a fire. Kimberly and John Linger suffered a fire caused by a residential box fan that cost the lives of 44 horses.
Residential-type box fans are absolutely the wrong type of fan for use in barns. These inexpensive fans that can be purchased at almost any discount or hardware store do not have sealed motors, so dust can enter, causing the motor to seize up and generate enough heat to catch the plastic housing on fire.
In fact, just running the fans continuously for an extended period of time can generate enough heat to cause a fire. The burning plastic falls onto bedding or debris in the aisle way, and depending on the quality of housekeeping in the barn, the fire can travel rapidly along the aisle way.
Further, the toxic smoke generated by the burning plastic may kill the barn occupants within minutes, even before anyone realizes a fire has started.
Only fans rated for agricultural or industrial use, which have sealed motors and other safety features, should be used in barns.
I urge your readers to visit my Web site, www.firesafetyinbarns.com, for more information about fire prevention. I have a warning sign available for downloading that can be posted in stores to alert consumers about purchasing a safe fan for their barns.
Chagrin Falls, Ohio