Fire Prevention and Management Starts Here – and ISRI has a Plan

Scrap metal recycling facilities have a problem. Nearly 350 fires were reported in the recycling industry in 2019, according to the Annual Waste and Recycling Facility Fires Report. Estimates of total fires (including unreported fires) are as many as 1800 fires per year.

The issue is more than financial.  These fires resulted in 49 injuries and 2 deaths.  Many of the injuries were incurred by fire responders.  The financial impact is significant as well.  Companies renewing policies this year are presented with a 20% to 2000% increase in premiums. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) recommends you get ahead of this issue at your organization.  Don’t wait for your renewal notice to arrive a week before it’s due.  Start shopping 90 days out to avoid the financial shock.

Bottom line: Management needs to be mindful of best practices to avert and mitigate fires. That’s why (ISRI) released a new publication, “Creating a Fire Prevention and Management Plan”.  Read on to get a copy of your own. 

Creating a Fire Prevention and Management Plan – ISRI Publication

The resource was developed by fire science, insurance, and scrap recycling industry professionals, including myself. I’m proud of ISRI’s contribution to the cause. The hope is that the document helps business owners, operators, and EHS professionals better understand and mitigate potential risks before they become bigger problems.

So, what can you expect? The document touches on 3 main areas:

  1. Fire prevention: Control fuels and ignition sources and keep them separated. Maintain alarm and sprinkler systems that can respond automatically to incidents.
  2. Incipient Firefighting: In the event an incident occurs, how should you respond? A plan will help you address it efficiently, but more importantly, safely. 
  3. Crisis Management: If all of the above efforts fail, how will you handle concerns regarding media relations, business interruption, environmental damage and other variables? 

It’s important to note that this is a guidance document on how to prepare a fire prevention plan, fight incipient stage fires, and to prepare for an event requiring crisis management. You should know it’s NOT designed to provide a template for such plans. The onus is on each facility to prepare plans appropriate for the site. The authors of this plan encourage each site to review its operations based on the guidance this document provides.

In the meantime, don’t forget that IC Fire Prevention is uniquely qualified to assess facilities for deficiencies and engage employees in the fire prevention process. Give me a call at (260) 241-2256 or send me a message at to learn more.  I’ll send an electronic version of the ISRI publication at your request.

In safety, Kenn

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