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Skip hire safety - How to avoid a potential fire

fire engine skip fire safety

Now we're at the peak of the 2021 summer, the warmer, drier weather can bring about a particular type of hazard that is less common in the winter when it comes to hiring a skip. With this in mind, it may not cross your mind to think about what you can do to minimize the chances of a skip fire breaking out.

Although it's a rare occurrence, it can happen either through carelessness or even a deliberate act of arson. It can also end up being a very costly experience if the fire isn't put out immediately. So, here's a brief overview of some of the basic precautions you can take to help prevent a fire from breaking out in the first place.

Never deliberately start a fire

This may sound obvious, but never use your skip to burn any of the materials that you put in it. You may be tempted to try and increase the amount of unwanted rubbish you can fit in your skip or reduce the overall weight by burning some of the bulkier wooden items first. If you're hiring a skip with the intention of getting rid of large, bulky items such as old wardrobes or chests of drawers, break them up into smaller pieces first.

Skips aren't designed to have fires in them and aside from the obvious dangers, it may end up costing you money. A fire can damage the floor and sides of the skip and you could be faced with a hefty bill to repair (or even replace) the damaged skip.


It's also worth bearing in mind that if your skip is on a public highway, the excessive heat caused at the bottom of the skip will quickly melt the tarmac of the road surface underneath. If this happens, your local authority will most likely want to bill you for the damage and may even consider a prosecution.

Basic precautions

If your skip is on your own property, it's important to make sure that it is far enough away from your house or office to ensure that if a fire broke out, the flames and heat don't pose a threat to the building itself. Large fires generate huge temperatures so try and bear this in mind when you're deciding the final location of the skip. Also, never place it under trees or large bushes for obvious reasons.

Access for the Fire Brigade

If the weather has been particularly dry, even something as small as a smouldering cigarette butt thrown into the skip can result in a fire. For this reason, it's important to make sure that the Emergency Services have easy access to your skip and are not hampered by any unnecessary obstacles in their path.

Flammable materials

There are certain things that you're not permitted to put in your skip and these include anything that is flammable such as partially filled paint tins, aerosols or gas canisters. Some of the other restricted items are materials that are highly toxic when burnt including asbestos and old tyres.

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