Waste360 is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

RyanFogelman_1540x800.png

Episode 58: Exploring Fire Safety in Waste & Recycling Facilities (Transcript)

[00:00:00] Liz Bothwell: Hi everyone, welcome to Waste360's NothingWasted! Podcast. On every episode, we invite the most interesting people in waste recycling and organics to sit down with us and chat candidly about their thoughts, their work, this unique industry and so much more. Thanks for listening and enjoy this episode.

[music]

[00:00:26] Liz: Hi everyone, this is Liz Bothwell from Waste360 with Ryan Fogelman from Fire Rover. Hi Ryan, thanks for talking with me today.

[00:00:36] Ryan Fogelman: Absolutely. Hi Liz, how are you doing?

[00:00:40] Liz: I'm doing well. We'd love to hear a little bit more about your background and how you ended up in waste and recycling.

[00:00:49] Ryan: Interesting, waste and recycling. Actually, it's a fun industry. Basically, I owned a company that helped bring new innovative products to market, I've been doing that for years. My background really it's always been business development, strategic partnerships, and then I use marketing as a way to drive awareness. Any time you're trying to get a new or disruptive product out there, there's an awareness factor.

Honestly, the waste and recycling industry it's been surprising, I like it. It's a smaller industry, everybody cares. I definitely think that bringing new products to market in the industry takes a little bit longer in a sense, but also, once you've proven what the value is, they're quick to embrace new technology. Again, I've always heard stories in the past that the waste and recycling industry doesn't like to focus on new technologies much but, in our case, they definitely have been very open, so we've been blessed.

[00:02:06] Liz: That's great. You recently published one of your latest reports, can you give our audience some highlights from that report?

[00:02:16] Ryan: Yes. Basically, I reported in March- I've been reporting fires basically. Reported fires are fires that have been reported in any media outlet. I only get my information from public outlets. I get a ton of people who send me emails and let me know of fires that they've had internally, that they, theoretically, want to share. Obviously, being in Fire Rover we have a front-row seat with a lot of fires that don't happen, where we catch them early enough.

Basically, if you look at just reported fires -I've been doing that since February of 2016- I've been trending and looking at all the different fires. What we've seen now in the past month has been different than anything we've ever seen because, normally, we'll see a summertime spike, normally we'll see a fourth-quarter spike just based on the amount of products that are going through the consumers' hands. But it's interesting that right now- I called this the 100-year spring clean out because, basically, in March everything shut down and everybody was stuck at home from a stay at home order.

Normally, people will do spring cleaning, this was like, "Okay, I'm not going to spring clean, I'm literally going to spring clean my basement, my attic, I'm going to do my garage and everything." Again, what happens when you're cleaning? You have a box of lithium-ion batteries, those lithium-ion batteries- it's difficult right now or at least it was 30 days ago because you lost a lot of your drop-off points. When there's nowhere to put them, do you throw them in a waste and recycling bin?

Unfortunately, in March we didn't have a ton of fires, I believe it was only 18, but of those, 11 of those, were wasted and recycling, were waste MSW fires. I wrote the article and really look at those numbers, and it seemed a little bit higher, I think we were about 55% were waste fires and normally, over the last four years, wasted been running about 45 per month. But in April I've done some of these numbers, and the first week of April we saw zero fires, there was one transfer station fire, period, in the first week of April. That was a shocker.

Honestly, in four years, I've never seen one fire. Typically, we averaged about seven fires a week, and again, this is only reported fires. There could be a lot of reasons for this, reporters were trying to figure out what their life looked like, I know there's a lot of recycling that has shut down, but going back to the second week of April, we just saw- I believe it was 10 fires in the week alone, and we've seen internally obviously these fires that we put out.

It seems that it's starting to happen, and I'm tracking these every day, which normally I don't do that. Thursday, actually I'm going to be talking with Jim Emerson, but each week on the webinar I go through what we're seeing in these fires because, again, you have a Christmas time fired trend that has pulled in early because everybody hoarded all their products. You have a spring cleanup, and then you also have what's happening with kids being at home. We're seeing a transition from commercial to at-home fire or at home garbage production.

I know a lot of our OEMs are seeing the MSW grow. Again, I think we're all [unintelligible 00:05:54] pin the needles trying to understand what's going on, but I definitely think that our transfer stations are at higher risk than they've been in a number of years.

[00:06:04] Liz: I bet. You're probably holding your breath to see what tons of this once they open back up and start operating on a normal schedule.

[00:06:15] Ryan: Absolutely.

[00:06:18] Liz: To that point where you're saying more people are home and it's looking like fewer fires for now, is there anything that we can do or you're doing to educate consumers around fire risk and the reality of how making these mistakes and missteps ignite these fires?

[00:06:39] Ryan: Absolutely. I think there's three things you can do, or at least three things that I recommend. One is technology, obviously, one is operational processes, so creating a fire prevention plan, which is extremely important. Jim Emerson who is with Star Risk Technologies, he's one of the guys that walks through one of the facilities and says, "Okay, this is the risk to the industry or to the insurance company specifically." He's actually a fire chemical, electrical and civil engineer, so he takes a pretty unique approach.

Jim and I developed a combinational approach to firefighting, we've repositioned it after the last two years. But I think to answer your question, the third leg is education. I think there's so much education that we can do for the public, and we've done a lot of it. I think SWANA and NWRA, there's a lot of private companies out there, like Rumpke, Republic, that have done an amazing job really saying, "Hey, lithium-ion batteries cause fires and here's what happens on the back end".

I think the problem that we're seeing is that, if you look at the fire risk to our waste and recycling facilities, for 50 years we've had fires, and those fires are based on just older, I call them traditional hazards. You're dealing with propane tanks and chemicals, pool chemicals, fertilizers, aerosol cans, and all the different things, like fireworks, that have been around forever. We were dealing with these fires since the beginning of time. The problem is when you add lithium-ion batteries, in '15, '16 I started talking about the wave that I thought was coming, and in around '18 we saw at least the first crash. When I say crash, we just had an influx of lithium-ion batteries into our waste streams and it happened globally.

There's data that I have in my annual report, and I've published on some of my editorials. In Japan, they saw an increase of-- it was almost four times the amount of fires that they had the year before in '18. Also, there were insurance companies in the US. Insurance is its own issue, but we're seeing a ton of insurance that has left the industry and it's because of the claims data that they had, and most of the increase in claims were from shredders which, again, that typically is a lithium-ion battery theoretically. Also, actually lithium-ion battery claims that were the specific cause.

The idea is, as we're educating the public to take their lithium-ion batteries and put them or drop them off an electronic recycler at a Lowe's, a Home Depot, or at one of call the recycles locations, the problem is that we're also, at the same time, getting hit by some more lithium-ion batteries. If you look at your Apple Earbuds, you have three lithium-ion batteries; and with JUUL, every JUUL cigarette has lithium-ion battery in them. As we've seen the number of lithium-ion batteries flip peripherally- Peripherally? I screw that up every time I say it.

As we see them increase, what we end up seeing is that the education can't keep up with the amount of lithium-ion batteries that are getting into our waste stream. Again, it's not going anywhere and, that's the issue, it's only getting worse from a numbers perspective. It's just something that we're going to be dealing with for a long period of time. Education is definitely something we need to do, but it's not the end-all-be-all solution for keeping our facilities up and running.

[00:10:30] Liz: Why do you think lithium-ion batteries fail?

[00:10:37] Ryan: Ronald Butler, who I call him the Jedi Master of lithium-ion batteries. We did a workshop and we're actually speaking at Waste Expo this year, if it does end up happening, which we all hope it does. We talked about lithium-ion batteries, lithium-ion batteries, they're extremely safe, they're an unbelievable power source. They carry a lot of power, you can increase that power and you can reuse it. For the footprint, they are an amazing technology.

One in a million lithium-ion batteries, actually, will fail from when it's manufactured to when it's delivered in its initial form. If you think a car battery, car batteries don't just explode randomly. Now, what ends up happening is a lithium-ion battery, when it's treated harshly, when it's damaged or when something happens to it, that's where we start to see the issue. If you look at the automotive supply chain, that's one thing. It goes into a car. If a car gets in a car accident, you're now dealing with the hazard that's involved with a lithium-ion battery fire.

Then, if you're dealing with most of the stuff that we're dealing in waste and recycling, which it's personal storage. If you think your phone, your computer, it's all these devices that we're buying from Apple, our iPods and our iWatch, the Garmins, the Fitbits and all these different products that we have. All those have the lithium-ion batteries, and what ends up happening is that, if they're thrown into MSW- because if you're a consumer and you don't bring and recycle them correctly, they just get thrown into MSW. Now, what ends up happening? We are not gentle on our trash. If we were gentle on our trash, we would have to slow down the process. If we had to presort every single piece of trash that went through our operations, the price of processing our trash would go up tenfold.

The whole idea is that the reason that we have all these fires is because we're not gentle on our trash, and at the end of the day, if you have a lithium-ion battery that's in the computer, it's on a tip floor and it gets run over, it's going to start a fire or there's a better chance that it's going to start a fire. That's really the precipice of it. It's a very safe technology, lithium-ion batteries, but just not the way that we handle it.

[00:13:21] Liz: Absolutely. Ryan, what are some other fire threats to these facilities?

[00:13:26] Ryan: That's what I was saying, there's definitely threats that have been around forever. Traditional hazards include chemicals. Just imagine, somebody goes in and they have all that paint thinner and old paint, what do they do with it? It's almost like magic. You put it in your waste bin, you turn around and it's gone. They come, they pick it up, they put it and you don't worry about it anymore. A lot of people call it -it's a bad word- but they call it whatever recycling. It's like, "Hey, I just throw it in there, it disappears and I don't get a penalty if I recycle incorrectly. I don't get a penalty if I put things that are going to cause hazards on the back end".

Honestly, if I'm not educated about exactly what happens on the back end, which most of America isn't, you're not really worried and you're not thinking that you're doing any harm by throwing it away. It seems like, "Hey, it's going in the trash." Well, if you put pool chemicals in trash, what ends up happening? Gets in the truck and then it causes issues.

One of my fire engineer folks will basically say that, "We create bombs in our trash." Think about it this way, you change your oil during the summer or you do a project with paint thinner and you're using rags. You take those rags and they're soaked with some sort of a chemical or paint thinner, then you throw those into a glad bag. These things are made not to breathe, so they're tied as tight as possible so you don't smell the smell and you throw it in your bin.

You take that bin, you put it on your curbside and it's 85-degree day outside, so it cooks. That Sun is beating down on the receptacle and you're going to get 120 degrees inside. Now you have pressure that's building on this. Think, you take that and you put it into a fire truck, you apply pressure to it and literally you've created a bomb. Not knowingly, but we do this all the time.

[00:15:35] Liz: You're absolutely right. Do you think any of these facilities have good standard operating procedures for one, preventing a fire? Then, two, handling a fire once it takes place?

[00:15:46] Ryan: It's a great question. I think the answer is five years ago, I would have said no. Today, I would say yes. When I look at fire, there's a couple of ways to prevent fires, or there's a couple of ways to really deal with the fire issue. On the front end is prevention, it's good operations. It's a fact there's an inherent risk of fires in our operation. If you're a good operator, you are going to have less fires than if you're a bad operator. If you clear your tip floor, if you make sure that you turn it and you don't have old material.

There's a lot of things you can do from an operational perspective. You can make sure that your piles are at a low enough level that they're not- if you have a 30-foot building and you have piles that are 24, 25 feet high, there's a bigger chance that if there's a fire, that you're not going to be able to deal with that issue.

Again, if you're a better operator, you're going to have less fires. But even good operators have fires. Really, the idea is there's that prevention side of it and that's the fire planning, and then there's also the disaster planning, which is part of fire planning. The things that you can do to ensure that a firefighter is actually going to come and fight your fire.

With that being said, if you don't want your employees to fight a fire and you do know that, typically, when a tip floor starts a fire there's a lot of smoke that will happen, you basically prepare for the fire department to arrive. There are Lancer nozzles that you can layout and you can actually have the hoses connected to the fire extinguishers. You can do a lot of different things to ensure that, when the fire department gets there, they don't spend the time setting up, but it's already set up.

Now, again, you're not a fire brigade at that point, you're considered, basically you're helping the fire department. We have these enforcer units that are CAF units that you can have ready and set up for the fire department to get there. When they get there, you got to think the fire department. This goes into the second piece of it, which is the professional response. The better relationship you have with your fire department, the faster and the better chance that they're actually going to be able to fight your fire in a waste or recycling facility.

If the fire department knows what the lock is for your code and it doesn't take them five minutes to get inside your facility. If they've been to your facility and they understand where your equipments laid out inside the building, it's a better chance that they're going to do more than just a containment. Containment is when they put a 75-foot hose and a 50-foot hose and they just drop water in. Basically, they go and they take a defensive posture and fight the fire, and really they're just protecting the public at that time.

Then there's that middle ground. That middle ground, again, it's prevention and good operations, and then, on the other side is the professional response. The middle response is really where we have an opportunity to say, "Okay, how do we fight these fires? How do we get to and pre-wet and pretreat fires before they start? Or during the incipient stages?" That's where a product like mine comes in, which is the Fire Rover, where, from a thermal perspective, we're looking at heat abnormality. We're constantly looking at a tip floor to see.

If you go and look at our YouTube page, there's so many different events. A lot of our customers don't allow that we share videos, but a lot of our customers do, and they follow the approach that I like to follow, which it's basically the Volvo approach of, "Safety knows no competition." You're not going to be more profitable because of safety, so we should all share all the learnings that we have.

I'm fortunate that a lot of my customers, the executives, really believe in that. As we share these videos, you can see exactly what we're dealing with. Again, if you see a lithium-ion battery that explodes, we hit it, we pre-wet it before there's thermal runaway, there's no issue, it's been taken care of. The fire department gets there and we call the fire department, they get there and there's no issue.

If we start to pre-wet, if you think like a [unintelligible 00:20:04] where a lot of times the biggest mistake that our guys will do is you'll have a loader operator and they'll see smoke, so they'll go in and they'll literally try to dig the fire out. The problem is you're supposed to pre-wet that because, the minute you add oxygen to it, all of the sudden you're creating a bigger issue. That's why we'll spray it and then, once you do know that there's no fire and the heat's been dissipated, then you go in and you start to pull the layers back to try to make sure that you get the fire.

Again, I know I'm going on, but at the same time, there's a lot of different areas that we can work on. The good operators, who invest in all three of those parts, are the ones that are going to have the least amount. The ones that only invest in one or the other- unfortunately, it's a reality, and insurers these days are requiring that you have a plan and that you're operating in a way that makes sense where five years ago they weren't requiring it like they are. They truly understand the risks.

It's not because of the media that's gone out and shared this, it's not because of even the executives that have gone out and shared it because a lot of the major executives are talking about it, but it's really been the claims. It's a numbers game for them. If the claims are higher and they're not making money, then they're going to raise your rates. Period.

[00:21:26] Liz: Absolutely. Speaking of the insurance agencies, are they pricing themselves out? Is it becoming almost like the health care industry or are they trying to put in disclaimers about lithium-ion batteries? How's that all working?

[00:21:45] Ryan: The insurance industry it's a problem unto itself. I think what happened, and I used Nathan Bernard zone data, he's with the Insurance Office of America and basically he had actual claims data for '16, '17, and '18. The reason I used this data originally was because I wanted to prove that the reported numbers were good numbers. They were actually eerily similar, the amount of fires that we had each year for those three, plus the amount of actual claims that he had, but what's happening with the insurance companies is they're wrong.

We went from having like 50 insurers and I think it's down to less than five in '18, '19. Now, again, it really depends on your profile of your business, so if you look at a property insurance on a MRF, typically it's 10 million to about a hundred million, depending if you could be as low as a non-automated without robots and all the other things. I think the highest end would be about a hundred grand or a hundred million, I think.

If you look at it, a lot of the OEMs that have leads- where you're protecting a fleet, basically if you have a thousand trucks, you get that insurance and that insurance company is going to be more apt to give you property insurance. A lot of the operators out there that only have a site, an operation, are the ones having the major issues, but what's really happening is insurance companies are afraid.

I work with a ton of insurance companies, and I'm trying to get insurers back in the industry. If you look at it and you say, and I get this question all the time, "If I put a Fire Rover in, do I get a 5% discount?" Really, that idea doesn't make sense, it's not insurance for your car. Insurance for your car, they take a risk-based on every car in the area, they take a risk-based on how many thefts are in the area that you're spending in your five-mile radius, they have so much data.

For waste recycling has a material, any sort of industrial operations what they're doing is they're basically looking at a site's risk profile, and then they're taking that risk profile and they're deciding whether or not you're a good risk based on that. That's where they make a decision whether, A, your insurable. A lot of these guys theoretically can be uninsurable, and if you're higher risk, they'll give you insurance but a lot of the insurance companies that used to take a full amount of risk- Let's just say they said, "Okay, your deductible is $20 million and it's a hundred million dollars, so we'll take 80 million at-risk".

What's happening now is that a lot of insurance companies are coming in and layering that, so they'll say, "I'll take the first 20 million", next guy says, "I'll take the second 20 million", and they're all at different rates, so a lot of these brokers are out there, basically trying to package good products together. The idea is, if you put a Fire Rover in, theoretically, and it depends on how you do it, you're going to get a lower risk profile, which gives you a lower insurance rate.

If you have a fire prevention plan that has [unintelligible 00:24:55], then you're going to get a lower insurance rate. If you have a history of good operations without having issues, you're going to get a lower risk profile, which gives you a lower insurance rate and a better chance of getting insurance. Really it's almost like they're looking at everything that you've done. One of the guys that I'm talking with is Jim Emerson, but in the old days he would go in and they would basically check the box and say, "This MRF, do you have a safety policy?", "Yes", "Check. Do you have this?", "Yes", "Check. I expect you to do this, this and this. Check, check, check and we're good".

They really didn't look at whether or not you were doing it, they just said, "Do you have it?" That was five, six, 10 years ago. Now, they're looking at everything, they're like, "You have a fire plan? Let me see it, let me see how its implemented." Then they're sending fire engineers and engineers out to do audits of these facilities to ensure that they're actually staying, keeping and doing what they say that they're going to do to get the insurance rates that they're getting.

I'm not going to say it, it's definitely a little bit of a mess out there, but I literally spend probably- if I say 30% of my time working with the insurance companies to get them to understand that there is a way to mitigate risk even with the risks that are out there.

[00:26:14] Liz: Absolutely. Ryan, I know you're pretty active on LinkedIn, and you recently shared a very interesting pig story. Can you elaborate on that one?

[00:26:25] Ryan: Man, Anne Germain is going to be really happy. I'll give her credit for that, a hundred percent. With Fire Rover, we started in the scrap metal industry. Our solution is patented, waste and recycling, we've been blessed that they've taken our solution and just embrace it the way they have. We're, A, at to the top 10 largest waste of recycling companies, we're in a ton of mom-and-pops and we're really starting that to get into municipalities and others. But we're always looking for other applications, like hanger protection for airplanes, they have a deluge system like refineries.

We're constantly looking, we're doing more battery storage operations, which is the larger operations where you think the OEMs of the automotive space that are building electric vehicles, so we're getting involved in those supply chains. What's interesting is one of the other industries that we were looking at -and we have a couple of insurers that ensure this market- but it is poultry. If there's a fire in poultry or with animal, with farming or with agribusiness.

Originally, we looked at horse stables because, with a horse stable, most of the horses will run back in the stable when there's a fire because they believe that's the safest place. If you put a system like ours in, if we see it and we can put a fire out or we can spray it so that when the horses come back in, they're not in danger. We were looking at this and I'm working with an insurer on this. Then Anne brought this up, that basically they have a poultry farm or I would call it a pork farm or a pig farm, and they're doing free-range pigs.

The idea was that to prove that the pigs are free-range, they put pedometers on their legs so that they can say that they've walked more than being stuffed into a large area and not being able to move, which, again, it's horrific but at the same time, we know what happens. Basically, a pig ate a pedometer off another pig, it ate it and then it pooped it out, and the lithium-ion battery exploded. I think it's a big area that they don't have fire protection, and you would think that they do.

They look at it as an insurance issue. If you lose 350,000 chickens or 50,000 pigs, it's okay because they were going to be eaten anyways, and I think it's horrific. There needs to be fire protection inside these locations. This was a perfect example, how lithium-ion batteries are literally in frickin everything, and as much as you want to try to take a lithium-ion battery and presort it out of a waste and recycling facility, it's almost impossible with the amount of batteries that are out there in our markets.

[00:29:45] Liz: That story's crazy. To your point, they are everywhere and I didn't even consider until I was reading something that you had written, even the automated greeting cards, you forget that they're in there and that's something consumers easily toss when they're done with them and don't think twice about it. There's a huge educational component to this that just has to be ongoing, right?

[00:30:08] Ryan: Well, and I think you just said it. The best way for a MRF to not have lithium-ion batteries in their stream is to presort it, so now you have to slow down and presort. But the issue, like you just said, if I see a greeting card, do we have to open every single greeting card to see the ones that make noise and the ones that don't? Even if you're doing presort and you're one of the essential workers, you're not going to pull the greeting card out. It just takes a level of sophistication that it'd be very difficult for us to have.

Personally, and again, I don't know if a lot of people agree with this or not, I agree that we have to have some sort of a deposit program. With a JUUL cigarette, when you're done with it, you take it back and you get something for it. The reason I agree with that is just I'm from Michigan, and we always had a bottle deposit program. Again, you can't slow down your operation because, right now, we presort probably as much as we can until we get the automation, robotics, and all the other AI things that they're working on now. But the idea, again, is that if we at least have some sort of value to a lithium-ion battery that we can bring it back, hopefully, that provides some incentive.

It's not going to provide too much incentive because, again, you don't want to have it so that people are stealing your phone just to get a $20 battery, so it has to be low enough that it's worth it or small enough that it's worth, but not high enough that it causes bad behavior. At the end of the day, that would allow us to, at least, get some percentage of lithium out of the stream. Again, someone was telling me that, I think, there's four mega factories and by 2030 there's a lithium-ion battery mega facilities that create them, and there'll be 90 facilities in the next 10 years. The number is not going away.

Lithium-ion battery, I did a workshop, and I was really surprised and I wrote about this in one of my articles, but it was one of these labs, the government labs, they always talk about. You see on USA Today or you'll see in some of these media outlets, they'll basically say, "Hey, new water-based battery holds just as much electricity and doesn't cause fires", but that's not real. People are working on those, but the reason they're promoting that is to get grants, and those grants- they do such a small minuscule amount, that's why if you see it, you can't get excited and then nothing happens to it five years later.

If you think today- You and I, Liz, is we're the smartest people in the world, we just created this perfect battery. The chances of us getting that battery commercializing and getting it to a price that's affordable, putting it into every piece of equipment or replacing every lithium-ion battery, and then getting all the trillions of lithium-ion batteries that are out there out of the waste stream, would be an enormous immense project. We're not even close to that, it's actually the opposite. I think it's one of those things, lithium-ion batteries, the good, bad and ugly, are going to be with us for a long period of time.

Again, if you look at automotive OEM, the battery supply chain for automotive lithium-ion batteries is actually really good, it's 90 something percent, just like lead-acid batteries and cars are the same thing. That supply chain actually works really well, and there's a lot of really smart guys working on that. The problem is the personal storage side of it, where literally you're storing a 1970s song, then you open up that says, "Let's celebrate for your birthday", and that's being thrown in, basically gets in the shredder, and if it's [unintelligible 00:34:05] in the right situation, it causes a major fire and can burn down one of our facilities.

I don't want to be so negative [laughs].

[00:34:14] Liz: No. I think [laughs] it gets the point across, Ryan, there is a threat. Is mitigating that and doing everything we can to do that, so I appreciate you being so candid and talking about preparation in all phases, so I think the audience will get a lot out of that.

[00:34:38] Ryan: Thank you, I appreciate that.

[00:34:39] Liz: Are you going to do another report once we're out of this pandemic, do some comparisons, and see where we are at that point?

[00:34:50] Ryan: Yes, absolutely. What I've been doing is, I'll do my article for each month, so when I get in the May's article, I'll walk through and I'll really get into it. There's some month that I barely, "Okay, we had 12 fires or 18 fires this time", and normally I wait and I do an annual report that's available on LinkedIn. I think there's a lot of places they can find it, they can email me to get a copy of it. But I do an annual report every year, I've done '17, '18 and '19 that I'll literally dive into by state, by tonnage, how many fire incidences, I really get into all the details.

Each month, it just depends. This month I will definitely delve into what we're seeing. Like I was saying before, the first week, we had one fire in a transfer station and that was it, there were no scrap fires, there were no chemical fires, there was no organic fires. Then, all of a sudden, the second week I think there were nine or 10, I think we're up to 13 now for the month because I'm doing it every day.

I have my webinars every Thursday at 12:00 Eastern that I've been doing just because there's been a lot of interest. As people are working from home, they're interested in educating or working on education, so I think it's been really nice that we're getting a lot more participation, or at least I am in my webinar. I'm trying to bring different perspectives, like this week, I'll have Jim Emerson who takes it from a fire engineer, but also from the insurance audit side. I have a few other [unintelligible 00:36:39] each week, so the answer is yes, I'm going to get into this and really walk through every fire that we're seeing now.

Also, I'll be talking about the number of fires that we're saving, which is getting more and more. We've saved over 200 fires in the last year with Fire Rovers, so at some point, I'm going to start to combine that data. Then I'm also working with EREF, they're doing a fire survey, so just to give a shout out to that. The goal is to get as many waste and recycling companies, including scrap metal facilities, to participate in the survey. There we're looking at a bunch of different types of data, but really, to me, the biggest thing that I want to see out of this is, if you have a fire, how long is your facility shut down for.

There was a report in MSW Magazine looking at European waste and recycling facilities, and over 75% of facilities that had a fire were down for more than a day. Again, business continuity really- when you have garbage, that leads your curbside. If it has nowhere to go and can't be processed, that causes the issues in a micro perspective. That really is the biggest piece that I'm excited to see out of those, but if anyone's listening and they haven't provided access to or provided access that survey, I would definitely go to the Environmental Research and Education Foundation website, or they can email me and I'm happy to send them a link to fill out the survey.

It's all confidential and I'm going to take all the reported data that we have and roll that into the results so that we can get some really decent analysis. This should be unprecedented for the industry, which I've been pushing for five years and I'm really happy that Brian's been doing that at EREF.

[00:38:34] Liz: That's great, I can't wait to see that. Well, thank you, Ryan, so much. I feel I learned so much from this conversation and I look forward to hearing more and reading more, so thanks for spending this time today. Stay well.

[00:38:49] Ryan: Sure. Honestly, I appreciate it, and again, I do want to say one last thing. Literally, I'm extremely proud of the industry for what they've done in the last five years to change and really fight these fires. Five years ago, people were just ignoring the problem, honestly. They would point fingers at operations or safety as a breakdown if there was a fire, and now the major OEMs in our market are embracing the problem, embracing solution, embracing education, and really, they're doing something that hopefully we'll start to see. Even with the increase in risk, we'll see less and less of these fires happening, which is obviously the goal that we're looking for. I appreciate your time, thank you so much.

[00:39:37] Liz: Thank you. We'll talk soon, take care.

[music]

Hide comments
account-default-image

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish