Waste fires continue to be a major threat to waste and recycling facilities. The average number of reported fires, from 2016 to 2020, was 318 per year. Besides the negative — and expensive — consequences on assets and infrastructure, these unfortunate events can also lead to injuries and deaths.
Some of the typical factors that can be attributed to waste fires are aerosols, chemicals, butane cans, lithium-ion batteries, extreme environments, the inherent risk from recycling chemicals and hazardous materials, and sparks from buildings and equipment.
While the causes might be difficult to foresee, landfills, recycling plants, and other manufacturing facilities that process paper and plastic must take proactive steps toward preventing fire outbreaks. Certainly, some of the solutions that should be utilized are thermal cameras.
Thermal cameras technology
Thermal cameras use image processing technology and powerful analytics to enable automatic, smart detection of fires. Advanced solutions offer high-resolution capabilities, high sensitivity sensors, and contrast adjustment.
In addition, they have a temperature exception alarm function and sophisticated fire detection algorithms that can indicate and notify responsible parties when and where fires occur within waste piles on site.
When sophisticated thermal cameras are located strategically in risky locations, they are able to accurately detect an increase in temperature that could result in a waste fire and automatically alert the plant about the issue.
Relying on this state-of-the-art technology, rather than on legacy video surveillance systems or manned security, is recommended to reduce the potential of a waste fire, accelerate response times, and help administrators take the right actions, based on defined conditions.
Early fire detection does make a difference. Especially for plants that handle highly combustible materials, it is essential to adopt technologies that protect people, infrastructure, and the environment.