Shipping containers were a revolutionary invention for transportation. Nowadays, they are used not only for transporting goods across the globe but also for storage, architecture, and more.
Their versatility allows them to be converted into houses, offices, restaurants, and almost any building you can imagine. Their steel structure makes them highly durable in many cases, especially the weather conditions.
In this article, we are going to take a look at if shipping containers are fireproof.
Are Shipping Containers Fireproof or Fire-resistant?
It is only natural to consider if your shipping containers are safe and secure. After all, you’re storing valuable goods inside. One of the first questions that pop to mind is; are shipping containers fireproof or fire-resistant?
The short answer is that shipping containers are fire-resistant. However, it is essential to clarify the matter by investigating why shipping containers are resistant to fire.
What Make Shipping Containers Fire-resistant?
Shipping containers are made from marine-grade Corten steel, which makes them weatherproof and fire-resistant. This galvanized steel will help your shipping container keep its structural integrity if a fire breaks out.
This means a fire outside your shipping container will not spread inside. However, modifications such as wooden floorings in your shipping container can be flammable, especially if made from plywood or bamboo.
Even if there is a fire inside a container, the flames will keep burning until the oxygen runs out. Without oxygen, there will be no fire.
So, shipping containers can contain fires inside, which is a good attribute. If a fire breaks out in a container, it won’t spread into other shipping containers, preventing disasters on freight ships.
Fire Safety Measures for Shipping Containers
Although shipping containers are resistant to fire, it is still a must to take safety measures to prevent any kind of fire-related danger. Here are the essential precautions you should take:
- Regular Inspection of the Container and Equipment
It is essential to conduct regular inspections to ensure everything is in order and maintained correctly. Both the exteriors and interiors of shipping containers should be regularly checked to see if there is any damage.
After all, the primary purpose of a shipping container is to keep the goods inside safe. A damaged container hull can cause your goods to be exposed to outside conditions.
So these checks guarantee the safety of your shipping containers and eliminate any problem before it leads to a greater one.
- Employee Training for Awareness
Informing your employees about fire safety can help prevent fire-related disasters.
Building prevention practices such as; not smoking inside the shipping containers, unplugging the electrical equipment when not using them, safely disposing of trash and liquids, and training them how to use fire extinguishers; are worth investing time in.
A well-trained team can prevent potential fires much more than any other method.
- Take Caution
A fire can quickly turn into a disaster, destroying valuable goods; causing a loss in both time and money. Taking caution during each step during shipping or storage is extremely important, especially when the stakes are this high.
Always check your premises for fire hazards and eliminate them before they get out of hand. The most common causes of fire hazards include electrical equipment, flammable liquids, and combustible materials.
Making sure flammable liquids and combustible materials are always properly sealed and stored.
- Implement Fire Prevention Strategies
As we’ve mentioned earlier, preventative actions are significant. Installing smoke alarms in your storage facilities is a great way to start.
Making a plan about what your employees should do when a fire breaks out and educating them should be next. Always properly seal and store flammable materials and keep them in a cool area, away from heat sources.
Another vital prevention tactic is to maintain your wires. Damaged wires can be the reason for fire hazards.
Most importantly, keep fire extinguishers on your premises. They will be your best defense if a fire breaks out. Every employee should know how to use a fire extinguisher so in case of fire; it can be put out as fast as possible.
How to Use Shipping Containers for Fire Protection?
Since they are made of fireproof materials, shipping containers can be used for fire protection in various ways. They can be a great asset in the event of a fire. It is important to note that shipping containers are fire-resistant, but not immune to fire.
According to the studies one of the main reasons for fatal fire injuries during a fire, the ceiling of the conventional buildings will collapse and not allow firefighters to reach the victim, or the victim gets stuck under the debris, and by the time fighters reach them before it is too late.
Shipping container roofs will never collapse during a fire and if the victim is in another shipping container room, they will be most likely safe and secure. Since the roof is completely sealed, lack of oxygen will not allow the fire to go wild and easily can be controlled by the firefighters.
You should also know that most firefighters use shipping containers as a training facility because they know they can create a controlled fire environment to get their training.
For more information, you can ask any questions about shipping containers to your nearest firefighter station.
Now, let’s take a look at how shipping containers can be used for fire protection.
- Firefighting Systems
As you know by now, shipping containers can withstand and survive fires. Since shipping containers can be used to make buildings, they can be modified to be used as firefighting training facilities.
We should mention Joseph M. Heim Training Grounds at this point. The Joseph M Heim training grounds consist of a number of shipping containers modified to provide firefighters to train in life-like situations.
Five containers are set up to create a practice area of about two stories. One of them has a “burn room” where firefighters can practice putting out fires in closed areas. Smoke generators are installed to provide smoky conditions, which reduce visibility.
- Modular Fire Stations
Shipping containers are being used as modular buildings more and more each day. Since shipping containers are designed to withstand the harshest weather conditions, many cities around the world are using them as modular fire stations.
Their versatility allows them to be quite flexible in terms of layout and design so that you can customize them according to your needs.
Since metals conduct heat well, choosing the right type of insulation for your shipping containers is essential.
Insulators are a great way to keep the heat out, but picking one that doesn’t catch fire easily is vital. Insulation materials such as fiberglass, rock wool, and spray foam are all fire-resistant. They will surely help you keep your fire station cooler.
At this point, it is important to mention that the doors on your shipping containers also play an important role. Shipping container doors are generally made of steel, so they are naturally durable and fire-resistant. Installing doors equipped with self-closing mechanisms is crucial to lock the potential flames inside.
Thanks to their durability, shipping containers have earned their place in various areas of use. The steel used to build the shipping container is known for its strong and durable nature, allowing it to withstand extreme weather conditions.
This durability also makes your shipping containers extremely flame-resistant. Steel walls of your containers will keep outside flames from reaching inside, keeping your goods safe. The same goes for the flames inside; the steel walls will prevent the flames from spreading outside.
It is always important to be cautious when conducting business, especially with shipping containers. Taking some preventative actions can help you save time and money. Building awareness, regular checks, and being cautious wherever needed are some of the most important fire-preventative techniques.
- Can shipping containers burn?
Your shipping container will keep its structural integrity if a fire breaks out. The marine-grade Corten steel is flame resistant, so your goods inside will be safe from the outside flames.
- How much heat can a shipping container withstand?
Simply put, shipping containers can get hot during their travels. Studies show they can reach as high as 135 Fahrenheit and as low as -21 Fahrenheit. High temperatures, especially perishable food items, can affect a wide variety of products.
It is always a good idea to use reefer containers to keep the temperatures under control for perishable cargo.