-Mallory Szczepanski
January 11, 2021

2020 Innovator of the Year – Recycling Equipment: Fire Rover

Fire Rover’s technology is helping to eliminate fire risks at waste and recycling facilities.

Workers within the waste and recycling industry face a wide variety of risks on a daily basis, from needlesticks, to heavy machinery, to roadway accidents, to fires that can spark at any moment. However, companies, municipalities and equipment manufacturers alike are working to reduce those risks and ultimately make the industry safer and more efficient.

In the waste and recycling industry, fires occur almost daily, and traditional fire suppression methods such as water sprinkler systems and smoke alarms aren’t always the best option to stop a fire at a facility such as a materials recovery facility (MRF), transfer station or waste-to-energy facility.

Recognizing this problem, Brad Gladstone partnered with Jeremy Dusing and Pete Marry to develop Fire Rover, a comprehensive firefighting solution that combats incipient fires and explosions within seconds from ignition.

“Fire Rover came to market in 2015 and was developed specifically for the waste and recycling industry to provide early heat abnormality detection, remote human verification and remote application of cooling agents directly to the source of the abnormality,” says Ryan Fogelman, vice president of strategic partnerships at Fire Rover.

“If there’s little activity in a building, it’s easy to detect smoke and heat. However, when there’s a lot of activity, such as what occurs in a waste and recycling facility, detecting smoke and heat becomes a really complex problem,” he explains. “Fire Rover is a solution to that problem, as it’s capable of detecting a fire early via its thermal technology and video surveillance system and then having a Fire Rover agent verify if it’s a false positive or if it’s a threat and action needs to be taken.”

If action needs to be taken, the Fire Rover agent alerts the facility, the fire department and authorities and then shoots an environmentally friendly cooling agent from the Fire Rover’s nozzles onto the hot spot to eliminate a fire before or after it starts. The Fire Rover can shoot for 8 to 10 minutes (and has options to increase the time when needed), allowing time for fire professionals to arrive on scene and assist with putting out the fire if needed.

“To date, our solution has eliminated more than 500 fires in waste and recycling facilities across the U.S. and Canada,” says Fogelman. “It can be used both indoors and outdoors and just needs internet and electricity for installation.”

While eliminating fires over the years, the Fire Rover team spotted a common, growing threat: lithium-ion batteries. These batteries present many challenges for waste and recycling workers and facilities, especially if they aren’t disposed of properly.

This ongoing threat led Fire Rover to develop its latest solution, which it refers to as its “sprinkler replacement solution” because it can either be used as additional protection for high-hazard areas or the main source of protection if a sprinkler system isn’t required by a jurisdiction.

“In early 2020, we installed our first solution for a large lithium-ion battery recycler, which provides our traditional Fire Rover solution as well as an additional ‘quick connect’ for fire professionals,” states Fogelman. “The quick connect allows fire professionals to take a defensive approach to fighting a lithium-ion battery fire effectively while remaining safely outside the facility.”

This solution received the National Waste & Recycling Association’s 2020 Innovator of the Year – Recycling Equipment award, which celebrates innovation in design and manufacturing that increases the effectiveness or efficiency of recycling equipment and operations.

The solution is currently installed in 150 facilities across the U.S. and Canada, with more installations on the way.

“The Fire Rover solution was the vision of Brad Gladstone, who was all too familiar with the fire issues his scrap metal facility clients were facing,” explains Fogelman. “When one of his customers asked him to figure out a solution for their fire hazards, he, Jeremy and Pete did just that!”

Although the sprinkler replacement solution launched just last year, Fire Rover is already working on and installing its next solution, which will be catered to waste-to-energy and industrial facilities. The targeted deluge solution can replace a traditional deluge system with the ability to target any fire with water, providing more control of the event and alleviating the issue of accidental discharge. There are many benefits of this solution, but in a nutshell, the less water you use on any fire, the better it is for any potential environmental issues.

“Our team at Fire Rover is continuing to listen to our customers and to push technology to next level,” he says. “Since Brad’s passing in 2018, our team has stayed true to Brad’s vision and passion for helping to protect our clients from the dangerous hazards that affect them during their day-to-day business.”