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UK Residents Urged to Properly Recycle Lithium Batteries

Research conducted by not-for-profit organisation Material Focus has revealed that nearly 700 fires each year are caused by batteries that have been thrown into household waste. Last July, Altens recycling centre had to be demolished following a huge blaze which authorities believe was caused by a lithium battery which had not been properly recycled.



The fire required more than 100 firefighters to attend the scene at its height and took 118 hours to put out. Colin Forshaw, production operations manager, Suez Recycling and Recovery UK commented, "To see an important facility that provided an essential service for Aberdeen residents be destroyed by something as avoidable as a battery being put in a bin is devastating".


The video above highlights the consequences of incorrect disposal of batteries into waste and the contamination and fire risks caused, but it’s a good reminder to the team as to why rapid-fire intervention from site staff is vitally important as part of the mitigation process. HFR Solutions can train your organisations onsite team to respond quicker and better in the event of an incident. This training is designed as controlled defensive firefighting and does not put employees at risk within a building on fire but adds another element of control to any existing fixed fire suppression installation.


Furthermore, our team will enhance your organisations' safety culture by completing positive safety conversations. We can identify and evaluate any potential risks in your workplace and will provide a bespoke fire risk assessment in order to mitigate any risks. Learn the steps involved in preparing a risk assessment here.



Online Response


People had a lot to say about the Altens recycling centre fire online, with some questioning why the fire took so long to extinguish, whilst others demanded that it should be made more clear as to which items we should not dispose of with our domestic waste.



A fire strategy is a complex document specifically tailored to a building, reviewing all aspects of the building's fire safety features. Altens fire strategy should have looked at all scenarios and eventualities, meaning that access to the building in the event of a fire should be considered and strategised. In this instance, Altens should have ensured that the shutters could have been opened through the use of a manual override, regardless of power loss.



Higher-powered lithium-ion batteries found in phones, children's toys, toothbrushes and even vape devices are particularly prone to causing fire or explosions. Mark Andrews, National Fire Chief’s Council Waste fires lead said: "We urge people to recycle electrical items and batteries and not to dispose of them with general household waste". People can find their nearest recycling point for batteries and electrical items by visiting their council's website. Anything that has a plug, uses batteries or needs charging is known as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and should not be put in any of your bins when broken or no longer wanted.


 

With a dedicated outdoor area for practical fire safety and extinguisher training, operational firefighting training centre, fire appliances and firefighting units, we are able to offer numerous Fire Safety courses. Our experts are able to carry our a Fire Risk Assessment for your site's specific needs and risks, as well as ensuring your fire safety equipment is operational and maintained.



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