CI Information Management Fire Procedures
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Shred Trucks Catch on Fire?
It is very uncommon, but it can happen. Any large piece of shredding, disintegrating, compacting or other destruction equipment runs this risk. However unlikely the event may be, it is best to have a procedure in place for handling a fire.
Why do Shred Truck fires happen and what can I do to help prevent them?
There are many reasons an industrial shredder could catch fire; from our experience, fires occur because unallowed non-paper material has been mixed in with the paper that was collected and shredded. This is also by far the most common reason for this to happen throughout the Shredding industry. If you ever have any questions about whether your items can be mixed in with your other shred material, please contact us before including it in your collection bin. As a reminder, the only acceptable items are the following:
- Office paper
- File folders
- Spiral-bound notebooks
- Newsprint and magazines
- Soft-bound publications less than 2” thick
- Small fasteners such as staples, paper clips and rubber bands are acceptable in normal quantities
What does CI Information Management do in the case of a Shred Truck Fire?
As with all our practices, our top priority is always the safety of our staff and any involved individuals. Our first steps are to stop operations or travel as soon as it is safe to do so, identify the location of the smoke, get to a safe distance and notify the local fire department. The priority for our staff is then to keep all individuals at a safe distance until the fire department arrives and assesses the scene. From that point forward, they follow the direction of the fire department to ensure the fire is contained. During this time, they will also be in contact with our shred office.
Because all documents are shredded on-site, any paper material collected throughout the day has already been destroyed. The one exception to this is if a fire is started while in the process of shredding material at a customer location. If there is any unshredded paper material after the fire is extinguished, it will then be shredded if safe to do so, or materials may be returned to the customer to be shredded at a later date. Since we are only certified to destroy paper materials on-site, we will only take unshredded paper materials to our facility for destruction at the customer’s request.
Other Confidential Materials
Because the security of all your material is always our priority, at no point will any unauthorized individual, including the fire department, have unmonitored access to our shred truck’s secure compartments. All Hard Drives and other storage media will be brought to our facility for destruction, and the chain of custody will be securely maintained throughout the whole process.
Final Disposition of Destroyed Materials
Our standard procedure is to always offload our shredded materials to a recycle center to ultimately be pulped and recycled. Because the fire could ignite in any location and throughout any part of the shredding process, it is hard to predict what exactly will be necessary to control the fire. As such, we rely on the instruction of the fire department on what needs to be done to control the situation. There may be circumstances where the destroyed paper material is partially or completely offloaded at the nearest safe location. This is not always a recycle center. Any destroyed material offloaded outside of an appropriate facility is cleaned up and transported to a more appropriate facility. In the case of a fire, the nearest safe and appropriate facility may be a recycle center or a landfill.
Where do we go from here?
All trucks that have undergone a fire are thoroughly inspected for damage to the chassis and shredder. If the on-board fire system was engaged, then that is inspected and recharged by a certified fire system technician. After any necessary repairs, all equipment is then tested before returning the truck to service. As an additional precaution, we then keep the affected truck on routes nearer to our facility during the first week it returns to service.
In most cases, we will notify all customers serviced on the day of the fire to remind them of what material is acceptable to have shredded and ensure they understand our fire procedures. This is in an effort to avoid future fires through awareness and education. If we are able to identify the origin of the unapproved material and all paper material was collected and recycled per our standard practices, then we will most likely only discuss the situation with the customer directly involved.