Asbestos risk after fire keeps Gloucestershire residents indoors

asbestos fire

Residents of Cinderford in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, have been instructed to avoid sitting in their gardens, hang washing or opening windows and doors during an asbestos clean-up following a blaze. The advice came after asbestos was identified in a building which had been burnt out. The blaze occurred last week.

Environmental health chief suspected that several cement roof tiles from the building housed deadly asbestos, asking residents to take precautions until the clean-up operation was completed. Although the risk of lung damage was low, the local Forest of Dean District Council issued advice from Public Health England advising the public on the steps to take after the blaze.

Take care not to clean up potential asbestos debris

The Public Health England advice on precautionary steps to take instructs people to close all external doors and windows, not to put washing out on lines, not to engage in outdoor activity unless necessary, not to enter the sites of such blazes or touch debris from them and not to use vacuum cleaners to clear debris as this may spread affected fibres into the air.

Dampening down debris

Tile debris should also be dampened down and lifted into double bin bags with gloves. Residents should then contact the council to remove it. The owner of the building was contacted and instructed to make the building safe. The water and foam used to get the blaze under control is likely to have stopped the fibres becoming airborne. The fibres are normally only harmful when breathed in over an extended time-frame.

Asbestos is unlikely to cause medical problems when it is dismantled and disposed of in the correct manner. Problems are only likely to occur when it has been broken, damaged, sanded, cut or broken. In these cases, small fibres may be released, which can be incredibly harmful. Asbestos was used to construct buildings for many years due to its fire-retardant attributes. However, its dangers were discovered many years ago, after buildings up and down the country had been built with the material. Today, properties are built using asbestos substitutes.

Asbestos debris and its safe removal and disposal

We would always recommend utilising a licensed asbestos contractor to undertake all asbestos works. A licensed contractor will have suitably trained operatives, have the correct plans of works & risk assessments, correctly maintained equipment, have appropriate means of disposing of the material and most importantly they’ll be fully insured to work with asbestos. Your local council may be able to give you advice on the removal of asbestos cement debris or disposing of asbestos materials safely. If at a last resort you have to handle asbestos cement debris the following can be used as a guide:

  • Wear suitable PPE & RPE
  • Dampen the AC debris with spray.
  • Pick up larger pieces of debris. Put them in the asbestos waste bag.
  • For debris on rough surfaces, keep it damp and scoop or scrape it into the asbestos waste bag.
  • Clean contaminated surfaces with damp rags, then put these in the asbestos waste bag.
  • Press adhesive tape onto small dust deposits, then put the tape in the asbestos waste bag.
  • If necessary, repair the AC – see sheet a13.
  • Put used rags and other waste in the asbestos waste bag and tape it closed. Put the asbestos waste bag in a clear polythene bag and tape it closed.
  • Follow full decontamination procedures on completion.

At Acorn Analytical Services, we can assist you if you suspect your property is harbouring asbestos and you need to carry out an asbestos survey. We can also make you more asbestos compliant and are able to offer completely independent and impartial advice on adhering to asbestos regulations. Get in touch today to find out more.

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

RAAC and asbestos could be a problem in some buildings

The Ultimate Guide to Asbestos Surveyors: Why Your Safety Depends on It

Asbestos, once a ‘miracle material’, now poses severe health risks. Uncover the significance of asbestos surveys in the UK and why your safety depends on it.

Asbestos: Having the right consultancy in your corner has never been more important

‘Having the right consultancy to help you manage asbestos has never been more important’

A REPORT written by asbestos expert and director of Acorn Analytical Services, Ian Stone, has highlighted the worrying state of asbestos in the UK. The Annual Asbestos Industry Review provides a unique insight into the industry and a snapshot of the work being done by Acorn Analytical Services – one of the largest independent consultancies … Read more

Management of asbestos in schools

Management of Asbestos in Schools: A Comprehensive Analysis

In this blog post, we delve into the critical issue of asbestos management in UK schools, the recent HSE report, and the role of Acorn Analytical Services in ensuring safe learning environments.

Asbestos: Dispelling 3 common myths

Is your business fully compliant with the latest asbestos regulations?

HOW much do you really know about asbestos? If your building was built before 1999, have you ever had it checked? If you know it’s there, do you know for sure that you’re compliant with the latest rules and regulations around asbestos management? If the answer to either of these questions is ‘no’ it’s time … Read more

Asbestos in fire

Act Now: Uncover the Silent Perils of Asbestos in Fire-Damaged Buildings – A Deep Dive into the Brighton Hotel Incident

Asbestos in fire situations poses significant health risks. Understand the dangers, especially in textured coatings, and the need for expert remediation.

Acorn Analytical Services director Ian Stone has worked in the asbestos industry for 20 years.

#ActNowOnAsbestos: How our FREE training sessions will help raise awareness

ASBESTOS is firmly in the headlines once again and we’re delighted to see an open and very frank discussion finally taking place about the material itself, the risks around mesothelioma and the steps we should all be taking to protect ourselves. At Acorn Analytical Services it’s something we’ve been talking about for years and as … Read more

Asbestos: Having the right consultancy in your corner has never been more important

‘Supporting #ActNowOnAsbestos is the right thing for us to do’

Last weekend The Sunday Times launched #ActNowOnAsbestos, a hard-hitting campaign which urges the Government to take urgent action to protect people from the UK’s asbestos epidemic. The campaign makes important recommendations to help protect members of the public from the hidden dangers of asbestos, which poses a serious threat to our health and wellbeing more … Read more

Ian Stone, director of asbestos management consultancy, Acorn Analytical Services

‘We finally have hope – hope that those in authority will take notice, take action and save lives’

Media statement in response to the launch of the Sunday Times Campaign, Act Now on Asbestos: Ian Stone, Director of Acorn Analytical Services, said: “For ten years Acorn Analytical Services has been on the front line of the UK’s battle with asbestos, banging the drum for change and fighting to raise awareness of the sheer … Read more

Using our success to highlight the dangers of asbestos

How we’re using our success to drive home the dangers of asbestos

The whole team at asbestos consultancy Acorn Analytical Services was over the moon to walk away with not one, but two awards at the prestigious Northamptonshire SME Awards earlier this month. Directors Neil Munro, Paul Knights and Sam Savage were in Daventry for the event which celebrates the work of businesses across Northamptonshire and their … Read more

Men's Health Week: Focus on a hidden killer

Men’s Health Week: Mesothelioma is the killer few are talking about

FOR many men mesothelioma is a very real threat. Caused by exposure to asbestos fibres, it’s a cancer which affects 2,500 people every year in the UK. More than 80% of those are men. This Men’s Health Week, the team at Acorn Analytical Services is determined to shine a light on the dangers of asbestos … Read more