Control measure – Cordon controls: Fires in Waste Sites

Control Measure Knowledge

Cordon distances for fires in waste sites should take into account factors such as:

  • The height of any stacked materials
  • The stability of stacked materials
  • The type of waste and predicted firespread
  • The presence of:
    • Overhead cables
    • Substations
    • Transmission towers
    • Oil or gas pipelines
  • Weather conditions, which could:
    • Contribute to firespread
    • Dampen the waste, making it more prone to collapse
  • Ground conditions

Personnel need to be vigilant when attending fires in waste sites. This could involve working around stacks, which may be or become unstable. Personnel should avoid walking on or over them, or working on them. For more information refer to Safe system of work: Stacked materials.

Care should be taken when moving vehicles across waste or landfill sites or when crossing them on foot, as deep-seated fires beneath the surface can create hidden voids, which will be prone to collapse with little or no warning.

It may be necessary to seek specialist advice or assistance from:

    • Waste fire tactical adviser
    • Responsible person or site specialist
    • Environmental agency
    • Public health agency
    • Local authority
    • Industry experts

If there is any high-voltage equipment, such as overhead cables or transmission towers, in the vicinity of the waste site:

  • Appropriate exclusion and safety corridors should be established
  • Precautionary measures should be taken
  • Advice and assistance should be requested from the electricity supplier

If any of the high-voltage equipment is or could be damaged by the fire, these steps should be taken urgently. For more information refer to Utilities and fuel – Safe system of work: High-voltage electricity.

If there are any oil or gas pipelines present, the fuel supplier should be contacted for advice as they may need to isolate the supply. For more information refer to:

Due to the nature of the hazards, such as rapid firespread, unstable ground or unstable stacks, there should be plans for emergency evacuation and tactical withdrawal of responders. For more information refer to Incident command – Emergency evacuation and tactical withdrawal of responders.

If wider cordons are required outside of the hazard area, for example to transport networks beyond the waste site boundary, it may be necessary to request the assistance of the police. For more information refer to Transport – Cordons: Moving vehicles on roadways.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions