Your North Carolina horse farm needs an annual fire safety check. First, clean out cobwebs and sweep up loose hay in the barn. Fire travels fast with the dust cobwebs collect and hay “kindling” on the ground. Make sure exits from the stalls are clear and clutter is removed. Do you have a fire extinguisher for your barn? It should have the pressure checked yearly. Post a list of how many horses and animals are in your barn on the outside of the barn.
Ideally, hay should be in a separate building, but if it must be in the same barn with the horses, upstairs is better from a fire safety standpoint. Fire travels up and so does smoke, which in an emergency could give you an extra minute to get the horses out.
Check out this fire safety check list: http://firesafetyinbarns.com/Fire_Prevention_Checklist.pdf