While fires in dumpsters may not present a loss of property in terms of value, we should avoid being complacent. The content of a dumpster is unknown.
Topic: Dumpster Firefighting
Time Required: 2 Hours
• Water supply
• Fully equipped fire engine
• PPE and SCBA for each participant
• Class A fuel if there is to be a fire in the dumpster
• One instructor for each five students
• A safety officer
· Essentials Of Fire Fighting, Fourth Edition, IFSTA
Preparation: If fire is to be set in the dumpster, make sure there are no hazardous contents before ignition
Motivation: While fires in dumpsters may not present a loss of property in terms of value, we should avoid being complacent. The content of a dumpster is unknown. There is a potential for hazardous materials being involved. It is important that we use proper attack techniques, adequate size attack lines, and PPE and SCBA.
Objective (SPO): Given hazards and extinguishment techniques, the student will be able to demonstrate the process to safely extinguish a fire in a dumpster.
Overview: Dumpster Firefighting
• Types and Construction
• Safety Hazards
• Fire Attack Practical
Instructors Notes: The practical activity can be conducted with or without fire but should involve the use of a dumpster that can be used for this purpose. The content of the container must be known before the practical activity starts if the contents are to be ignited.
SPO 1-1 Given hazards and extinguishment techniques, the student will be able to demonstrate the process to safely extinguish a fire in a dumpster.
EO 1-1 Identify and describe the various types of dumpsters and their construction characteristics.
EO 1-2 Identify and describe safety hazards posed by dumpster fires.
EO 1-3 Identify and describe the proper extinguishment techniques for dumpster fires.
EO 1-4 Demonstrate the proper extinguishment techniques for a dumpster fire.
I. TYPES AND CONSTRUCTION (1-1)
Types - discuss the potential hazards with each type of container
• Open-top, roll-off - generally at construction sites; may also be on trucks being hauled to disposal facilities for emptying
• Compactor/closed, roll-off - generally at commercial sites; may also be vehicles in a non-roll mode; could be attached to a building
• Flip-top - generally at smaller businesses or multi-family occupancies
Construction Features - discuss the impact of the various construction features on fire attack
• Heavy gauge steel for all types - difficult to make an opening
• Sliding side doors on flip-top type
• Drains in bottom on roll-off and flip-top type
• Rear hinges and swing doors on flip-top type
• Square to oblong shape
• Hydraulic compactor cylinder, trash blade on truck mounted and roll-off compactors
• Fire hose portal on top of compactor and roll-off types
• Flip-top metal or plastic
Fire Behavior Characteristics
• Unknown quantity of various combustibles inside - fire behavior and reaction unpredictable
• Closed container will smolder from pockets of fire- may keep fire small due to limited oxygen supply
• Large open-top will radiate heat
• Plastic lids on flip-top type will melt from fire exposure
• Heat may affect springs on hinged tops and sliding side doors
II. SAFETY HAZARDS (1-2)
Location of Container
• Near exposures - could be attached to a building or even inside it
• Narrow, confined area - may be located in an alley
Contents of Containers
• Unknown contents - cannot rely on container markings; contents may be in plastic bags
• Hazardous materials possible - may not be marked or obvious; any closed container can explode when heated regardless of whether the contents are combustible
• Warning labels on container - may contain illegally disposed of waste