The Importance Of Fire Safety Measures For Your Equestrian Business

Ravenhall Rural

The Importance Of Fire Safety Measures For Your Equestrian Business
April 30, 2024

Although most equestrian business owners are passionate about horses, owning a business in this sector is much more complex than just providing care and shelter for them. As an equestrian business owner, there’s a need to safeguard the well-being of everyone who visits your place of work, including any staff, customers or visitors. One crucial aspect of this responsibility that is not to be overlooked is fire safety. The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 is the fire safety legislation that applies to all animal premises. This includes premises where people work, livery stables, equestrian centres and private establishments that employ staff.

If you are a business owner, you are required to carry out a risk assessment. If you employ 5 or more people you are required, by law to record the significant findings.

Fire safety is your responsibility, and if you don’t follow the correct laws and procedures, you could lose your business or be prosecuted.

The consequences that can arise from neglecting fire safety measures

In October 2020, inspectors from Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service visited an equestrian yard in Bicester and discovered alarming breaches in fire safety regulations. The owner, Isabelle Taylor, had failed to conduct a proper risk assessment, neglected to maintain escape routes, and did not provide a functional fire alarm and detection system in the staff accommodation located above the premises. These oversights were not merely administrative; they posed a serious threat to the lives of those residing on the property.

Tragically, it took a fire incident at the site to prompt action. Subsequent audits revealed the extent of the negligence, leading to the prohibition of using the building for sleeping accommodation until proper safety measures were implemented. Despite this warning, further inspections in December 2022 showed that Miss Taylor was still allowing staff to reside in the unsafe premises, leading to legal consequences.

In January 2024, Miss Taylor faced the consequences of her disregard for fire safety regulations. She was found guilty of multiple charges and fined £5000, in addition to being ordered to pay substantial costs. This case underscores the legal obligations that business owners have to prioritise fire safety and the serious repercussions that can follow if they fail to do so.

The story of Miss Taylor’s equestrian yard serves as a reminder for all equestrian business owners – the importance of having robust fire safety measures in place cannot be overstated.

As an equestrian business owner, ensuring the safety of your horses and clients should always be a top priority. Taking these measures can help ensure that your equestrian business is safe, secure, and protected from fire incidents.


Here are some key considerations for ensuring the safety of your premises:

Comply with Regulations

Familiarise yourself with local fire safety regulations and ensure that your business fully complies with them. Failure to adhere to these regulations can result in legal consequences and, more importantly, endanger the lives of those on your premises.

The main fire safety legislation for equestrian businesses in the UK is the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (2005). This applies to all animal premises, including stables where people work, livery yards, equestrian centres, and even private establishments that employ staff.

The legislation states:

As a business owner, you are required to carry out a fire risk assessment. This identifies potential fire hazards in your establishment and evaluates the risks posed to people (including staff, clients, and visitors) as well as the animals.

You’ll also need to implement appropriate fire safety measures. This might include:

  • Electrical safety checks by a qualified electrician at least annually.
  • Designated smoking areas away from stables, or preferably a complete smoking ban.
  • Secure storage of hay, straw, and other flammable materials away from stables and vehicles.
  • Installation of fire alarms and extinguishers if necessary.
  • Clear access routes for emergency services, along with

Conduct Regular Risk Assessments

One of the most critical safety measures to have in place is a fire safety plan. Fire incidents can be devastating, and the consequences can be catastrophic if not managed correctly. Conducting regular fire risk assessments is essential to identify potential ignition sources and take appropriate measures to mitigate them. This includes ensuring proper storage of flammable materials, maintaining electrical systems, and identifying any other potential fire hazards. By regularly assessing your premises for fire risks, you can take proactive steps to minimise the risk of fire incidents and protect your horses, clients, and property. It is also essential to have a well-prepared fire safety plan in place and ensure that all staff members are aware of the plan and trained to handle fire incidents.

Implement Fire Detection and Alarm Systems

Install reliable fire detection and alarm systems throughout your premises to provide early warning in the event of a fire. This allows for prompt evacuation and minimises the risk of injury or loss of life.

For businesses operating in the equestrian industry, they will often have stables, barns, and other structures that house horses and other animals, as well as equipment and supplies that are susceptible to fire hazards. By implementing reliable fire detection and alarm systems, you can ensure that any fire is detected early, and the alarm is activated promptly. This will allow for quick evacuation of horses, staff, and customers, minimising the risk of injury or loss of life.

With fire detection and alarm systems in place, any fire can be detected and reported immediately, allowing for swift action to be taken to contain and extinguish the fire before it spreads.


At Ravenhall Rural, we understand the unique risks faced by equestrian businesses. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your business against unforeseen events, including fire incidents.