Recycling firm assists emergency services with fire exercise

A hellish scene as the aerial platform sprays the blazing bales at Barkston Heath near Ancaster back in 2015. Photo: Phillip Grimes EMN-170124-174834001
A hellish scene as the aerial platform sprays the blazing bales at Barkston Heath near Ancaster back in 2015. Photo: Phillip Grimes EMN-170124-174834001

A recycling company based near Sleaford will be hosting a fire training exercise at two of its sites next week to test the responses and processes of dealing with a major fire at its plants.

The “table top” exercises will be held at Mid UK’s recycling sites at Ancaster and Caythorpe next week (Tuesday January 31).

A baler is loaded with labelling waste to be recycled. EMN-170124-172917001

A baler is loaded with labelling waste to be recycled. EMN-170124-172917001

The first will be a fully integrated multi-agency approach to a mock fire at Caythorpe. It will involve Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, Lincolnshire County Council, the Environment Agency, Lincolnshire Police, East Midlands Ambulance Service, local authorities, parish councils, the Environment Agency and public health agencies.

As part of the exercise the agencies will work together to coordinate a response to a waste site fire in order to hone responses to future incidents and assess whether improvements can be made.

In the evening a live exercise, using four fire engines is planned for the Ancaster site.

Chris Mountain, Managing Director at Mid UK Recycling, said: “Having had fires at our sites in the past we are keen to make sure we have every possible plan in place to minimise the impact of such an event should it occur again in the future.

“Since the fires we experienced we have invested heavily in fire prevention and fire suppression systems at both our sites in Caythorpe and Ancaster. However, you can never be complacent so hosting this type of exercise allows the agencies involved to test their procedures, while allowing us to test ours at the same time.”

The last major fire took place at the Ancaster site back in July 2015 which caused major disruption as the stacks of baled waste carpet burned for two weeks after spontaneously combusting.

Dan Moss, deputy divisional commander for South Division of the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, commented: “Over the past few years we’ve had a number of incidents at recycling centres which have caused significant issues and disruption to the local community. We need to learn from these incidents to ensure we have comprehensive, robust and reliable plans in place should another incident occur.

“As well as allowing us to create detailed prevention and contingency plans, the exercise will enable us to test how we can work efficiently and effectively to deliver solutions for the affected community – whether this is health warnings, help for livestock or details of road closures.”