Fire fighters:

Fireward tackle the ABCs of automatic fire suppression

EVERY year in the UK alone, fire and rescue services attend around 300 significant fires in waste sites. Many of these are large scale fires which have caused major disruption, with the cost to the fire and rescue services estimated to be in the region of £16 million a year.

With fires at waste management sites presenting such a serious, resource intensive and costly problem, many insurers involved in waste management insist that operators fit automatic fire extinguishing equipment under plant engine bonnets and other high risk areas.

Here we unpick what automatic fire suppression is, why it’s needed and what to look out for when choosing a system.

What is automatic fire suppression? Automatic fire suppression is a system that can detect and extinguish or contain a fire without having to rely on human intervention. In their simplest form, these systems have a means of detection, actuation and delivery.

Within seconds of a fire occurring, the detection system detects the radiant heat from the fire, automatically actuating the system and delivers the extinguishing agents straight into the heart of the fire. With very little clean-up required, the vehicle can be up and running without the need for downtime.


Why is automatic fire suppression needed? Heavy mobile plant such as loading shovels, excavators and landfill compactors pose real and serious fire risks at waste and recycling sites. Operating around the clock in some of the most gruelling conditions, this plant is in direct contact with waste, much of which may be combustible.

High temperatures, rapid air flows and flammable fluids in engine bays combine to create a near perfect environment for fires to start. Fire in a heavy vehicle can devastate the machine and quickly spread throughout a site, damaging the vehicle beyond repair and bringing the operation to a standstill.

Are all fire suppression systems the same? In short, no. Assuming all fire suppression systems are the same would be similar to thinking all vehicle performance is equal, regardless of the make and model. It’s important to ensure that the system you choose is designed specifically for the equipment it is protecting.

What should I look out for when selecting a system?


When selecting an automatic fire suppression system, accreditations should do the talking. Making sure any system you are considering has been rigorously tested to meet, or exceed, the demands of the environment and asset it will be installed to is critical.

Fireward has the only system in the world to be P-Mark 199 accredited and A+ rated for heavy vehicles, meaning it has been tested to meet and exceed vigorous fire testing for extreme vibration, aging, corrosion and temperatures when installed on heavy plant.

If mobile plant has a fire extinguisher, why is automatic fire suppression needed? With operators concentrating on the task at hand, a fire may not be spotted quickly. And if the fire is hidden in the engine bay when it starts, by the time it is noticed the fire will likely have already caused extensive damage to the vehicle and become too dangerous to tackle.

Will my insurer request a specific system? A growing number of insurers require specific certifications for systems, such as P-Mark SPCR 199 with an A+ rating. If a system is installed that is not certificated to the insurer’s requirements, they may not accept it and it may invalidate the policy.

to see how the Fireward Heavy Plant Automatic Dual Agent Fire Suppression system works

To discuss automatic fire suppression or to arrange for a system demonstration, call 0800 151 0249

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