How Dangerous Is Barbed Wire?

Fences are useful in keeping out animals and people that you do not want on your property, and barbed wire fences are especially good at doing that. However, barbed wire is also a pretty dangerous thing to have around your property, and it can do plenty of damage. So the question is, exactly how dangerous is barbed wire?

Barbed wire can be extremely dangerous, especially if it’s no longer maintained. When old barbed wire fences are left unattended for years at a time, they can become rusted, forgotten, and hidden in the brush. Animals, people, and even vehicles can get tangled and severely injured or damaged. For this reason, barbed wire fences that are no longer needed should be removed and disposed of properly.

If you’re having second thoughts about using barbed wire around your property, who could blame you? There are both pros and cons to using barbed wire as a fence, and if you’re wondering what those are, you have come to the right place. Read on to learn the dangers, pros, and cons of barbed wire and how and where to install it properly.

The Dangers of Barbed Wire: What Kind of Damage Can It Do?

As mentioned before, barbed wire can pose quite a few risks. One of the largest problems is when people tear down barbed wire fences and leave them in a heap without disposing of them correctly. This becomes a real issue, especially if it is in a place where animals (or even people) are constantly walking. Using barbed wire as a fence will indeed pose some problems, but when it comes to barbed wire lying around on the ground where it can’t easily be seen, that becomes a MAJOR problem.

Barbed wire is probably at its most dangerous when it sits in the rain and gets rusty. Barbed wire is strong enough to break skin tissue as well as subdermal tissue. If it’s clean, then hopefully some stitches will patch that wound up real quick. However, if you have been snagged by a rusty piece of barbed wire, you will want to make a beeline for the ER. The infection will spread pretty fast and wreak havoc on your body, so you have to get it taken care of as soon as you possibly can.

Barbed wire can do pretty much anything from popping tires to tearing open inch-deep gashes in the skin. It is not likely that you could be killed when coming into contact with a barbed wire fence unless you develop an infection from your cut and don’t do anything about it.

Being thrown into barbed wire will definitely tear you up quite a bit. Just keep in mind that all circumstances are different. Be careful about how you behave around barbed wire and nobody will get hurt. If you have little ones and a barbed-wire fence on your property, encourage them to keep their distance.

Disposing of barbed wire is a tricky, dangerous job that will require plenty of protection. You should always equip yourself with thick leather gloves, eye protection, and thick clothing when you’re dealing with barbed wire. It’s better that your clothes or your gear suffer a few tears than your skin or your eyes. Don’t skimp on protection! If you’re going to undergo the removal process, read more about barbed wire here.

Preventing Injury

As mentioned before, barbed wire is sometimes difficult to deal with simply because it is so sharp and jagged. To avoid injuring yourself or anybody else, you should do the following things. First, as mentioned, you should protect yourself from head to toe. Using eye protection and thick gloves is always a must, especially if you are tearing down or putting up a fence (but mostly tearing down).

Rather than just going at it with your bare hands (or gloved hands) you should employ the use of some wire cutters to help you carefully cut the barbed wire into smaller pieces. These are much easier to carry and much less dangerous to remove. Next is the difficult question of where to dispose of it. Your best bet is to take it to a dump or scrap yard where professionals will know exactly how to help you out.

Really what it comes down to is you exercising caution when dealing with barbed wire. Make sure you act responsibly when setting up a barbed wire fence and when tearing one down. And as always, make sure that any children in your care know not to mess around with it when they’re playing outside.

Can I Use It on My Property?

Dangerous though it may be, barbed wire generally does a good job of keeping out undesirable things. Unfortunately, it has varying levels of legality depending on where you live. These varying rules mean that you may or may not be able to use it on your property. It is often illegal in urban areas and most cities because it poses a serious threat to animals and people. Plus, there’s a fat chance your neighbors wouldn’t like living next to a barbed-wire fence.

In rural areas, you might have a bit more luck. Many places ban barbed wire completely, but if you can prove that you need it for the protection of your property, there could be a few exceptions to that ban. Additionally, if you do somehow end up getting legal permission, you will have to carefully abide by any and all fencing laws in your area. This means you need to pay extra attention to the spacing of the wires and posts and the size of the barbs. You can read more about these rules here.

The next and final step could be the most difficult of them all: you must have the consent of your neighbors before you can set up a barbed-wire fence, especially if the fence falls right on the boundary between your properties. If your neighbor stubbornly disagrees, you may have to end up choosing a different type of fencing material. Whatever you do, don’t start building before you have gotten your neighbor’s permission. If you start putting up an unwanted barbed wire fence, things could turn nasty pretty quickly.

Alternatives to Barbed Wire

There are many alternatives to barbed wire that may be longer-lasting, safer, and more appropriate to your situation. Some of these are even fairly aesthetically pleasing! To see a list of the alternatives, see this article: 5 Great Alternatives to Barbed Wire Fencing.

Fence Frenzy

We at Fence Frenzy absolutely love taking on the challenge of building, or even restoring, a fence. Especially elaborate and exotic fence designs that really make us scratch our heads! We're happy to share everything we've learned with you.

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