How To Prevent A Real Dumpster Fire From Occurring

The phrase "dumpster fire" is one of the most popular memes in recent times; the term is used to signify something that has gone wrong. However, a real dumpster fire, with flames and smoke, is also a significant problem that can cause tremendous property damage or even loss of life.

Dumpster fires can spread to surrounding objects and structures, and they can also emit harmful fumes due to toxic, burning chemicals. That is why it is critical to take steps to prevent real-life dumpster fires. Below are a few best-practices to implement to keep your dumpster and its contents from going up in smoke.

Do Not Place Flammable Chemicals in Dumpsters

A big factor in preventing dumpster fires is knowing what not to place in a waste container. Dumpsters are designed to handle only certain kinds of waste. As such, it is always a bad idea to throw out flammable chemicals or items saturated in those substances.

For example, do not dump old fuels such as gasoline or diesel in a dumpster, even if they are inside a sealed container. These types of chemicals should be disposed of at an appropriate recycling depot that accepts flammable liquids. This same caution also applies to empty containers that were used for holding fuels, as they may contain vapors that are flammable or even explosive.

In addition, other items such as rags soaked in oil should never be placed in a dumpster. These items will serve to provide fuel for a fire and will make the fire difficult to put out, too.

Be Careful When Disposing of Dry Flammable Materials

Even though a dumpster is an appropriate disposal location for cardboard boxes, paper, old carpeting, and certain building materials, you should be careful when working around a dumpster filled with these items. For example, don't use open flames around a dumpster containing dry, flammable materials.

Smoking around dumpsters is also a bad idea and can be the cause of needless fires. Don't throw cigarette butts into dumpsters, particularly if you aren't sure what is contained inside. Even a slow, smoldering ember can ignite the contents, or a dumpster laden with vapor from a spilled flammable liquid could explode.

Be Alert for Spontaneous Combustion

Though it may seem amazing, it is possible for dumpsters to catch themselves on fire due to a phenomenon known as a spontaneous combustion. Certain organic waste products, such as grass clippings, leaves, and compost, will produce heat as they decompose. This heat can build to a high enough temperature to support combustion.

That is why you should be cautious when throwing out dead plant matter. In fact, in some locales, it is prohibited to place such items in dumpsters due to the possibility of causing landfill fires. Know the law, and properly dispose of organic matter in a way that won't lead to spontaneous ignition inside your dumpster.

Keep Dumpsters in Secured Areas

Another important means of preventing fires is by securing dumpsters in areas where they will be safe from tampering. Some vandals seek to ignite dumpsters just for fun or for other malicious reasons, and that is why you should place them behind a locked gate and fence whenever possible.

If you aren't able to lock up your dumpsters, then you can take other steps to prevent a possible fire due to vandalism. For example, use a water hose to periodically spray the contents of a dumpster to keep it wet; this will make ignition of the dumpster much more difficult.

Another step you can take is to lock down your dumpster, including the lid and sliding side panels, so that access is limited to those with a key to the locks. This will discourage anyone looking for easy opportunity to set fire to the contents of your dumpster. In addition, a closed dumpster is less likely to support a fire by restricting oxygen flow.

Another good reason for keeping your dumpster in a locked, secured area is that it decreases the likelihood of a secondary fire. Should a dumpster catch fire, despite precautions, then you will not want the flames to be anywhere close to your business or other structures. For more information on dumpster safety, contact a company that supplies roll-off dumpsters.