When a fire ignites in a wind turbine, extinguishing it without having a fire suppression system installed is immensely challenging. Typically installed in remote and inaccessible locations, with turbines often more than 100m above the ground, getting fire trucks and crews to a position where they can douse flames is unlikely. If a crew could get into position and have the equipment to battle the fire, the multi-million-pound machine is likely to be a smoldering wreck. The ground crew will only be able to provide containment of the fire. This means that installing fire suppressions systems is all that more important.
Among the types of electrical fires, electrical panel fires can be some of the most concerning and damaging. The National Fire Protection Association reports that fires involving electrical malfunctions or failures contribute to the most deaths and property damage each year, especially from November to February, when the weather becomes colder. Electrical panels and their associated circuit breakers become a fire hazard when they aren’t well-maintained, when they aren’t installed correctly, or when they just plain wear out. As the center of the building’s electrical system, the more an electrical panel is damaged by a fire, the greater the downtime, need for repair and risk to people who are on the premises.
Fires in both on and offshore wind turbines can have a devastating impact on developers, investors, and all advocates for clean energy. Whether it’s the reputational damage caused by a visible and photographable incident or the immediate environmental risks like the potential spread of wildfires, it’s clear that the sector must take fire risk seriously.
As the global economy grows each year and becomes more interconnected, container yards must undertake the growing demand of moving containers and loading and unloading ships. Approximately 80 percent of goods are transported by sea with an estimated fleet of 56K merchant container ships. This puts extreme wear and demand on container handling equipment.
A container yard is a busy place. In August of 2021, the Port Authority of Los Angeles released numbers showing that over 900,000 containers were handled in that month alone, bringing the yearly tally to just over 6 million containers. Container handlers, such as cranes and reach stackers, are critical to meeting these types of productivity demands for ports everywhere. However, unpredictable equipment fires happen frequently, significantly impacting productivity.
As a business owner, having a reliable fire suppression system in place is one of the best ways to protect every part of your company, including your equipment, inventory, and employees. When it comes to class A, B, and C fires, clean agent fire suppression systems can be highly effective at eliminating a fire in its inception phase before it has the chance to grow, spread, and cause damage.
A clean agent fire suppression system is designed to minimize damage by acting quickly, suppressing a fire at the inception stage before it can grow. These systems are unique in that they are safe to use in occupied spaces, require no cleanup after discharge, don’t damage sensitive documents or equipment, and are environmentally friendly.
The answer here is relatively straightforward: not long at all. But there are various types of damage to consider in the aftermath of a wind turbine fire. It includes physical damage – the tangible, visible burnt-out shell of a multi-million dollar wind turbine. And the conceptual, reputational damage that is invisible but has the potential to become so deep-seated that it is increasingly difficult to fix.
When choosing your fire suppression system, one important thing to keep in mind is the aftermath of a discharge. While stopping the fire quickly is important, you also want to consider the impact of the fire suppression system you choose. After all, cleanup from a fire suppression event can be a long and arduous task if you choose a system that isn’t suited to your environment.
If you own a business, you know how devastating a fire can be. Not only do fires reduce profits by damaging property and equipment as well as increasing downtime, but they are a serious safety risk for you and your employees. And while not all fires are entirely preventable, there are many steps you can take to increase your chances of preventing fires and reacting quickly when one does occur.
A lack of clarity around the accountability of fire risk management between wind farm owners and turbine manufacturers has put the wind sector at greater risk of suffering the damaging consequences of fire. Who is responsible for what? If a turbine catches fire, who is liable? The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or the asset owner? Whose responsibility is it to ensure that turbines are equipped with fire suppression systems?
Wind energy has a crucial part to play in steering the earth away from a reliance on fossil fuels and ultimately reducing emissions and the devastating impacts of climate change. Yet when it comes to developing projects, the industry often faces local opposition from residents on tenuous grounds. But when it comes to fire risk, failing to take steps that address public concerns could result in a damaging reputational hit – particularly if a wind turbine does catch fire.