Lewis Barbe: Needed Precautions to Prevent Fires within the Secure Destruction Industry

Fire Protection Engineer Lewis Barbe and NAID Executive Director Bob Johnson co-authored the article Fire: The Secure Destruction Industry’s Most Feared Four-Letter Word, an article written to examine, in more depth, the issue and threat of fire to both manufacturers and service providers throughout the secure destruction industry. Both Barbe and Johnson take care to examine the common causes of fire throughout the industry, how often they occur, and how they can be better avoided in the future.

One section of Lewis Barbe and Bob Johnson’s article makes recommendations as to certain precautions industry professionals can take to avoid the possibility of fire. These recommendations, though fairly basic, simple and straightforward, when properly followed can help both companies and professionals throughout the industry prevent the possibility of unwanted fires and to save untold amounts of time, money and liability well into the future.

Empty the Truck

Both Lewis Barbe and Bob Johnson recommend secure destruction professionals to never leave shredded paper in a truck overnight, as this material has the potential to either spontaneously ignite, or to catch fire from sparks occurring from the previous shredding operation.

Educate Employees

It’s important for every secure destruction company to take the appropriate steps towards educating their employees on the best things to do, and ways to react, to a possible fire, regardless of whether the fire occurs on the road or within the plant. Providing employees with the knowledge and lessons they need to be prepared is one of the best ways to prevent a possible catastrophe before it begins. This is, in fact, an Occupational Safety and Health Act requirement.

Have Equipment Ready

In case of fire, regardless of where it occurs, says Lewis C Barbe and Bob Johnson, it’s important to have the appropriate fire suppression equipment at the ready at all times. Such things as extinguishers should always be readily accessible and available/nearby to employees should a fire begin to occur, and all employees should be properly trained in the use of fire suppression equipment (such as extinguishers). Proper equipment is essential to controlling a limited fire.

Though fire is a scary word to many in the secure destruction industry, it doesn’t have to be, as there are easy, simple and effective ways for any company, and any employee, to prevent the possibility of a fire. Through adherence to several simple steps, including unloading trucks, educating employees and making the right equipment available, the possibility of fire can be drastically reduced.

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