Predicting the duration of waste fires
PHE ePoster Library. Stewart-Evans J. Sep 12, 2017; 186506; 119
Jim Stewart-Evans
Jim Stewart-Evans
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Abstract Each year there are several hundred fires at regulated and unregulated waste sites. Prolonged fires involving waste materials are a recognised national issue due to their potential adverse public health and environmental impacts and costs imposed on responding organisations and industry reaching up to hundreds of thousands of pounds per incident.It is difficult to predict the duration of waste fires, and incident management and risk mitigation during emergency response tends to be reactive and led by what has happened rather than by what may happen during the course of a fire. However, information about past fires can inform predictions of potential burn durations and associated impacts. This supports a more proactive approach that anticipates prospective scenarios and considers their mitigation and management in advance.The Environmental Hazards and Emergencies Department (EHED) of PHE's Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE) has developed a tool called SEaR (Source term, Exposure assessment and Risk assessment) that can inform the emergency preparedness and response to fires. Based on data from past incidents and calculated parameters, SEaR can be used to make scenario-specific estimates of the characteristics of fire source terms, burn durations and products of combustion.This poster will describe the SEaR project and present some useful insights from initial analysis of the SEaR database regarding the main risk factors for prolonged fires, many of which are inter-related. These factors can be considered as part of emergency preparedness work, or during incidents to inform emergency response.
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