A comprehensive guide to fire risks, and the very best fire protection systems to keep you, your team and your assets safe.

The risk of fire is always present. Whatever environment you operate in, the potential of an outbreak of fire is one of the most devastating threats. Valuable assets, property and machinery can be lost within seconds, not to mention the most valuable asset of all – life.

Fire Shield Systems design and install some of the highest quality fire protection systems available. It’s our mission to ensure you can carry out operations in a safe environment, knowing that at the earliest detection of fire, a fire suppression solution, tailored to you, will respond. 

Click on an application below to find out the most common fire risks, and best solutions available:

Wood processing

Our wood processing fire prevention & suppression guide provides the best way to protect your operators, plant, buildings, processes and production-critical vehicles in the unique environment.

What are the fire risks of wood processing?

Wood dust fires are common and, in certain situations, can cause a wood fire or explosion.

Fires can be started by:

  • Poorly maintained machines and processing areas
  • Overheated electric motors
  • Electric sparks
  • Material build up in engine bays.

Wood dust fire and explosions

  • If dust accumulates on floors, walls or ledges, any primary explosion that takes place in a collection unit can ignite those dust deposits, causing a secondary explosion
  • Burning particles from the primary explosion can lead to a secondary explosions. Secondary explosions are frequently more dangerous than primary dust explosions
  • Partial ignition of a cloud of wood dust often results in the spread of the flame through the rest of the cloud
  • The burning of an unconfined wood dust cloud can produce a flash fire.

What can Fire Shield Systems do to help?

With the risk of multiple explosions in a wood processing plant, prevention is key.

Fire detection

Fixed fire fighting systems use water mist, compressed foam, monitors and deluge systems to provide you with the quickest solution when a wood fire breaks out. This can be fitted to be either manual or automatic, depending on which best suits your needs.

Mobile plant and machinery also poses a significant threat with hot engine compartments and hydraulics. The Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection system provides cost-effective location protection. Having been developed for the wood processing industry and achieving a number of international third party accreditations, it provides robust, reliable and cost-effective protection.

Ports and docks

Port fire risk is often attributed to flammable liquids & gases. However there is also a high risk of explosion and fire associated with many dry cargoes. Find out how to ensure your safety here:

What are the fire risks at ports and docks?

There are many fire risks at ports and docks which often require detailed risk-assessments. These include:

  • Dusty cargoes clogging vehicles
  • Flammable or explosive cargoes in confined spaces
  • Gases due to decomposition or bacterial action of some cargoes
  • Vehicle exhaust emissions
  • Electrical or machine room fires on lifting equipment
  • Cutting, burning or jammed twist locks
  • Explosion of compressor unit on reefer container due to it being charged or topped up with contaminated gas.

All vehicles at ports and docks, by law, must have vehicle fire protection fitted as per the safety regulations of the port authority.

Less downtime for machinery

Having essential machinery, such as a straddle carrier, out of action for any significant period of time can be costly. However, machinery in constant use is at risk of overheating all the time, as such, a cost-effective, fire suppression system is an important investment.

What are the fire risks of wood processing?

Wood dust fires are common and, in certain situations, can cause a wood fire or explosion.

Fires can be started by:

  • Poorly maintained machines and processing areas
  • Overheated electric motors
  • Electric sparks
  • Material build up in engine bays.


How can Fire Shield Systems help?

Fire Shield Systems can help by preventing minor fires from spreading and protecting operators, machinery, ships and containers from any period of downtime.

We are a member of the Port Skills & Safety Group, meaning our fire protection systems fulfil the highest expectations of health and safety in this environment. Our solutions have been expertly designed to support this community, the welfare of its staff and assets.

Fire protection for vehicles

  • Our mobile plant and machinery protection systems are ideal for machinery which operates for long hours without breaks. The system reacts to and eliminates fire to reduce damage and prevent re-ignition
  • Fire Shield Systems is the sole UK distributor of Dafo Vehicle Protection systems, a highly successful fire protection system which automatically detects fire and deploys within the engine bay, and other risk areas of a vehicle, with minimal damage to equipment
  • By providing  24/7 support to customers for urgent call outs, we will attend your site and rectify issues within the fastest time frame to get you back up and running as quickly as possible
  • To ensure your systems are as effective as possible, we offer free of charge operator training and system familiarisation for all of our customers. This is supplemented by supporting literature and videos. 

Forestry & Agriculture

Working with highly flammable material in isolated conditions means safety can’t be compromised.

What are the risks of forestry and agriculture machinery fires?

  • Working in harsh and often isolated locations where fire needs to be controlled fast
  • Exposure to highly-flammable chopping debris, wood chips, sawdust, trees, dust, dry crops, chaff and straw
  • Dry chaff and dust can build up in the engine compartment around the turbo increasing the risk of fire
  • Modern agriculture vehicle systems, such as combine harvesters, have high-pressure fuel systems with gallons of flammable liquid such as hydraulic oil and plastic fuel tanks. When these melt, risk of fire spreading increases

To meet the current emissions legislation, engines have to run hotter and have larger exhaust systems.



How Fire Shield Systems can help?

Fire Shield Systems supplies, designs, installs and maintains detection and suppression solutions which tackle fire risks at the heart of the ‘danger zone’ – the machine engine – for even the largest vehicles and farm machinery.

The Dafo vehicle fire suppression system consists of three, important, integrated systems: detection, alarm and suppression. This is a highly-effective method of agriculture fire protection, targeting the machine engine should a fire occur.

Fire extinguishing systems are designed to cover all areas or points at high risk of fire, including:

  • Turbo
  • Catalytic converter
  • Pumps
  • Fuel lines
  • Generators
  • Transmission belts
  • Filters
  • Hydraulic package

Mobile Plant & Heavy Machinery

On large scale operations, production downtime is expensive. Don’t risk losing valuable assets, money and time through fire damage.

What are the risks of heavy plant and machinery fires?

  • Intensive production schedules and harsh working environments put high pressure on plant and machinery equipment
  • Flammable liquids, oils and hydraulic fluids and material-build ups, together with hot manifolds and engine bays, all lead to a high risk of fire
  • Potential financial and operational impact of fire damage to costly, heavy plant machinery is high with likely long periods of down time.

Insurance companies and government bodies are increasingly requiring mobile plant and machinery to be fitted with fire protection systems.


How can Fire Shield Systems help? 

Our vehicle fire protection systems are particularly effective for plant and machinery where a combination of fibrous materials with oils and fuels can cause severe fires, with our extinguishing agents acting as an immediate fire suppression solution.


  • Dafo Forrex, a unique wet/liquid agent, has been specially formulated for fighting fires in engine compartments by cutting off oxygen and cooling the engine
  • Three-fold system detects and suppresses fire quickly, shutting down the machine and alerting those nearby
  • Minimal maintenance – only requires servicing once a year
  • Full and comprehensive training
  • Wide flexible product range. With experts to help you choose the right option for your individual requirements.

The Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection System is a unique solution with a proven reliability to control and suppress engine fires quickly and effectively.


  • Flame knockdown with interlocking fields of spray
  • Cooling risk areas with optimal droplet spray size
  • Prevention of reignition by cooling and saturating fuels
  • Forrex agent is gentle on engines, minimising damage to components.

Mining & Quarrying

In mines and quarries, fire protection is essential to de-escalate situations as quickly as possible in a confined or isolated environment.

Risks of mining and quarrying vehicle fires

  • Dry conditions can easily lead to a build-up of dust in the engine compartment
  • Flammable liquids, oils and hydraulic fluids, together with hot manifolds and engine bays are a constant fire risk
  • Explosions and fires are an augmented risk due to reduced exit routes
  • Quarries often work on a 24-hour basis, meaning machines are pushed to the limit with engines reaching and maintaining high temperatures

Remember: to meet your insurer requirements you need to have all mining and quarrying vehicles fitted with fire protection solutions.

How Fire Shield Systems can help?

  • Cutting edge mobile, plant and vehicle fire suppression systems are specifically designed to protect staff, reduce damage and mitigate downtime
  • Fire Shield Systems’ Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection systems are designed as a highly effective vehicle fire suppression system where and when you need it most
  • In providing 24/7 support for urgent call outs to our customers, we will attend site and rectify any issues as quickly and effectively as possible.

Waste to Energy and Biomass

Waste to Energy and biomass sites present high fire risks. Alongside the danger of large-scale and long-lasting fires, there is also the possibility of permanent fire damage caused by potentially harmful material combusting. There are many aspects to consider when reducing fire risk at waste management sites.

What are the fire risks in waste and biomass plants?


  • Waste, recycling and biomass naturally generates its own heat, becoming a considerable fire hazard overtime. This is often due to the build-up of material piles
  • Waste debris will often make its way into vehicle engine compartments and machinery enclosures causing a build-up of heat and fire fuel
  • Potentially toxic, air-born pollutants released by certain types of waste can harm the wider community and environment
  • Contaminated water runoff from fire suppression damaging surrounding environment.

Fire detection systems, including:

  • Thermal imaging to detect quickly-rising, localised temperatures
  • Zoned IR3 flame, spark and ember detection
  • Linear heat detection networks to detect heat in confined areas.

Fire suppression systems, including:

  • Deluge systems – cost-effective and efficient solutions to achieve wide-scale fire suppression
  • Water and foam monitor systems which can be automatic or manually operated
  • CAF systems – compressed air foam systems which provide excellent coverage with minimal water consumption. They are well suited to deal with flammable oils and liquids.

Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection is essential to any operation, targeting and minimising engine fire risks in vehicles on site.

How can Fire Shield Systems help?

Waste management and biomass fire protection is more important than ever in the UK, following recent high profile fires. This has placed the entire industry under increased pressure from the HSE and Environment Agency (EA). For businesses to be compliant, they are required to have an approved Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) in place.

Fire Shield Systems is a specialist in this sector, with a wealth of industry experience and knowledge. We work closely with you to design, build and maintain a bespoke and accredited solution to suit your individual requirements. 

There are numerous methods of detecting and suppressing fire at waste and biomass plants, we help you to decide which is the best solution for your site’s individual requirements. 

Recycling & Waste Management

A number of high-profile fires have recently put the waste management industry under significant pressure, highlighting the need for improved waste management fire protection.

Risks of recycling and waste industry fires

  • Stored piles of a variety of combustible materials can present a constant source of fuel for a fire
  • Heat-emitting, mobile machinery working for long hours can cause heat build-up in high risk areas
  • The waste site may house an incineration plant which poses a constant risk of fire spreading while in use.

Insurance providers often insist upon fire protection systems across all fire risk areas, as well as the need to get sign off from the Environment Agency for a Fire Prevention Plan.

  • How can Fire Shield Systems help?

    Fire Shield Systems specialises in the design, installation and maintenance of bespoke and accredited, automatic, fixed fire protection solutions in the waste and recycling and waste to energy sectors.

    Fire prevention

    Compressed air foam systems are ideal in a waste processing or recycling environment where large areas need to be targeted quickly. The reduction of polluted water runoffs also improves the environmental impact of this solution.

    Our automatic foam cannon combats fire, cools the surrounding area and starves the fuel of oxygen needed to spread. As with the compressed air foam system, the reduction of polluted water runoffs improves the environmental impact of this solution.

    An automatic deluge system is designed for indoor and semi-enclosed spaces, covering a wide area instantly.

    Your fire suppression solution will be supported by the most effective fire detection system for your risk including:

    • IR3 flame detection
    • Spark and ember detection
    • Thermal imaging to detect heat spots as potential risks

    Visual smoke detection cameras.

Buses & Coaches

Buses and coaches will be subject to UNECE Regulation 107 which means all commercial vehicles will have to have fire protection systems tested and fitted within their engines by 2021.

What are the fire risks for buses & coaches?

  • A massive change across the bus and coach industry with the law dictating the time frame and regulations means that even the largest fleets of vehicles need to be fitted fast.
  • Large and heavy vehicles running for long periods of time are at risk of engine combustion
  • Hot, dense urban environments mean fire outbreaks could cause maximum damage
  • High risk of threat to many lives

Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection?

We are well placed as the exclusive Dafo distributor for the UK & Ireland to help you meet these requirements with the Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection System. How can we help you?

  • We retrofit Dafo Vehicle systems as well as working closely with manufacturers in the designing and installation of pre engineered systems in the engine compartment as part of the production process
  • A Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection system extinguishes the fire within 10 seconds. See how quickly Dafo Forrex extinguishes the fire in this test bus engine once detected. 
  • How does the Dafo Fire Suppression System work? This video shows each internal step in a Dafo Fire Suppression process.
  • We train bus operators and factory technicians in the installation process, and provide fire risk support and training for service engineers.
  • We manage entire fleets of vehicles at various facilities providing 24 hour a day support for urgent call outs to our customers, with our systems requiring only a single service per year.


Setting The Standard For Fire Protection Systems