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Episode 58: Exploring Fire Safety in Waste & Recycling Facilities

Liz Bothwell

May 11, 2020

In our latest episode of NothingWasted!, we chat with Ryan Fogelman, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Fire Rover. Fire Rover ensures the safety of businesses by detecting and extinguishing fires before they start. Its service combines 24/7 remote thermal monitoring with an automated fire-fighting foam system that can be released as quickly as a spike in temperature is detected. 

We spoke with Ryan about critical lessons learned from waste-facility fires, the challenges related to lithium ion batteries, and more!

See what he shared:

Waste360: Can you give our audience some highlights from your latest report?

Fogelman: Sure. Since 2016, I’ve been reporting on fire data that comes from public outlets—and looking at the trends. What we’ve seen in the past month has been different than anything we’ve ever seen. I call this the 100-year spring cleanout. People are cleaning out everything and getting rid of things like lithium ion batteries…but they’ve lost a lot of their drop-off points. So, maybe they throw them in a waste or recycling bin. Consequently, a higher percentage of fires we saw in March stemmed from the waste industry.

Waste360: Do waste and recycling facilities tend to have good standard operating procedures for preventing a fire or handling it once it takes place?

Fogelman: Five years ago, I would have said no. Today I would say yes. There are a couple of ways to really deal with the fire issue. On the front end, it’s prevention; it’s good operation—there’s a lot you can do. But even good operators have fires. So the disaster planning element is really important—and being prepared for when the fire department does arrive. You can do a lot of things to make sure you are set up to make things as easy as possible for the professional responders.

Waste360: You talk about the current risks related to lithium ion batteries. Are insurers pricing themselves out or putting in lots of disclaimers into policies?

Fogelman: Insurance is a problem unto itself. We went from having about 50 insurers, and I think now it’s down to fewer than five. What’s really happening is: insurance companies are afraid. I’m trying to get insurers back in the industry. …And the idea is: if you put a Fire Rover in, theoretically you’re going to get a lower risk profile and a lower insurance rate. Just like if you have a fire-prevention plan that has teeth, and a history of good operations…you’re going to get a lower rate. 

Read the transcript here.

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About the Author(s)

Liz Bothwell

Head of Content & Marketing, Waste360

Liz Bothwell is head of content and marketing for Waste360, proud host of the NothingWasted! Podcast, and ghostwrites for others to keep her skills sharp and creative juices flowing. She loves family, football, her French bulldogs, and telling stories that can help to make the world a more sustainable place.

Follow her on Linkedin or Twitter

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