No surprise, my “Come See Tony” event last week was a huge success. Thanks to Aaron of Oak Ridge Electric for providing the educational material; thanks to me for drawing the crowd. I saw many familiar faces, got lots of attention, and even learned a thing or two about preventing barn fires! For those of you who couldn’t make it, or were too distracted by Dr. Vurgason’s cute baby to pay attention, here are a few of the highlights:

First, inspect your barn for fire hazards, electrical hazards, and structural hazards on a regular basis. This includes making sure there are no exposed wires or splices (that’s where two wires are joined together, but obviously I already knew that). It’s also a good idea to replace your electrical equipment if it is rusted, broken, or was installed when Britney Spears was still in the Mickey Mouse Club.

Next, cut down on the extension cords. They are really only intended for temporary use anyway. If you must use one short-term, make sure it is a heavy duty cord plugged directly into a GFCI outlet, and that it is rated for outdoor use. Pretty impressive electrical know-how for a cat, huh?

Of course, you should have multiple fire extinguishers in your barn, know where they are, and know how to use them. You may think this would be common knowledge, but when Aaron asked the audience how many people had smoke detectors in their barns, I was the only one who raised my paw! A sprinkler system is a smart idea if you can afford it- this won’t stop a fire but it might slow it down long enough to get your horses and barn cats out to safety.

Finally, if you have any electrical questions I can’t answer (doubtful), or would like an evaluation by someone who actually knows what they’re doing, give Dr. Vurgason’s other half a call. Oak Ridge Electric can be reached at (352) 289-6500.

Don’t forget about next month’s “Come See Tony” event: Preventing Florida Skin Funk, to be held on March 10th at 6:30pm. I look forward to seeing you all then! P.S. Bring more treats for me next time.

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