How businesses can avoid wheelie bin blaze risk

The Service has recently been called out to fires which spread to properties after nearby wheelie bins and rubbish stored next to them were set alight.

Stuart Garner, Premises Risk and Protection Manager for Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said:, ”It is important that businesses understand how dangerous it can be to keep  wheelie bins too close to buildings. The rubbish in them can often be easily ignited and it can burn very quickly.   Flames can rapidly spread to the nearby building, endangering lives, causing damage or in some cases totally destroying property.

"I would urge all business operators to look closely at how they both store and dispose of waste to prevent fires spreading”.

Here are a few tips that can prevent a disaster happening to your business;

  • Do not overfill wheelie bins or place loose rubbish around them
  • Do not store rubbish or wheelie bins/refuse containers by windows or doors - any fire in the bin could easily spread
  • Do not place hot items in the bin, for example:  smoking materials
  • Don't let your bin become a target for arsonists - place wheelie bins in a secure compound separated from the building.
  • Keep a minimum distance between wheelie type rubbish bins and buildings of at least 6 metres and in the case of larger bins this should be extended to 8 metres
  • If you do not have a secure compound, ensure that the bin is securely chained to a post or similar point, to prevent the bin being moved and placed against the building before being set alight
  • Do not place temporary rubbish skips adjacent to a building


Councillor Rodney Rose, the Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, who also has Cabinet responsibility for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “A fire can be devastating for a business. However well insured a business may be there is still the huge disruption, loss of custom and distress to cope with. The small amount of time taken to make sure waste is stored and disposed of safely can save the trauma of having to deal with the aftermath of a blaze which started in a bin left too close to a building.”


The advice is part of Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service's 365alive  campaign, an initiative designed to make the county a safer place through a range of educational and preventative community work.

For further advice see http://portal.oxfordshire.gov.uk/content/publicnet/other_sites/365/OFRS-PDFs/The-Prevention-of-Arson-in-Commercial-Premises.pdf