Properly cleaning and decontaminating turnout gear worn by firefighters on fire related calls is essential for many different reasons. The main concerns are the dangers of contamination and diminishing ability to protect those wearing the gear once the contamination breaks down fibers within the gear.
In our previous blog post, we talked about the various types of laundry euqipment that could be used for properly cleaning turnout gear. If you missed it, be sure to visit back for more informaiton.
As we mentioned in our previous blog post regarding the best washer or dryer to use in this case, it's important to be sure you clean gear well. No equipment manufacturer or soap company can specify instructions on how to properly clean your particular type, model, or brand of turnout gear. It is best to start with the instructions or recommendations provided with the turnout gear. This will ensure you're doing what you can to lengthen the life of your gear and care for it properly.
Here, you'll find several reasons why wearing uncleaned firefighting gear is dangerous. We hope the information gives you better insight into why proper cleaning with detergents and equipment is necessary after every use.
- Soot and other byproducts of burning various materials deposits on and in the fibers of the protective gear and causes the surface of the protective gear to be less heat reflective.
- Heat absorption on the surface of the turnout gear in the presence of oils and other flammable materials can lead to re-ignition or flashover.
- Unclean or improperly cleaned turnout gear can be more likely to catch fire.
- Dirty gear won't be as easily recognized by those trying to escape a fire. While on the scene of a fire, dirty turnout gear won't be obvious to those searching for a firefighter to help them.
- Carbon-based soot increases conductivity raising the potential for an electrical shock. When coming in contact with live wires within vehicles or buildings this can be a serious problem.
- With long-term use, continually dirty and contaminated gear will not hold up as long as it should. Fibers that make up the shell of the turnout gear will become compromised with the shoot and other debris and particles from chemical fires.
- Because the particles and debris are abrasive, regular movement and bending of the gear material will cut and wear out the material.
- Cleaning the gear shell every six months or when obviously soiled reduces the number of abrasive particles.
Dangers of Contaminated Firefighter Turnout Gear
While on the job, firefighters come in contact with carcinogenic materials, toxins, and communicable disease found in blood or other body fluids. These hazards can be carried away from the scene. Then, it can potentially cause harm later by ingestion, inhalation, or absorption from touch.
The firefighter, and anyone else who has contact with the turnout gear, is at immediate risk. Even less hazardous contaminants can cause health problems with repeated exposures over time.
Even though it isn't an immediate danger, the soot can easily absorb toxins and carcinogens. Then, if continually uncleaned, harmful contaminants can accumulate over time. Regular cleanings and cleaning gear immediately after exposure minimizes these hazards.
The NFPA is a nonprofit organization with a mission to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards to the quality of life by providing and advocating codes and standards, research, training and education.
Standard 1851 details the care of firemen’s turnout gear and is not really a rule or law but a set of recommendations. Within these recommendations it is suggested that every firehouse follows the turnout gear manufacturer’s care instructions and then fall back on the NFPA standard where limited information or direction is a problem.
T & L also suggests you follow the instructions found through the gear's manufacturer. Properly cleaning your turnout gear not only keeps the longevity of its lifespan intact, but it also reduces and eliminates the dangers and hazards of improperly cleaned gear. If you have any questions about this information or have questions regarding the various types of laundry equipment that are typically used within a firehouse, call us today. We can help.
Fire House Washer and Commercial Dryer NC Services
If you’re ready to talk with T & L about purchasing washers or dryers, contact us. As the top rated Speed Queen dealers in Raleigh, NC we're here to help you with all your fire department's laundry equipment needs. Don’t hesitate to call with any questions or concerns you might have about our washer and commercial dryer NC services.
T & L has been in operation for 40 years. During that time we've worked hard to offer the best machines for the best prices. We believe in our products and are excited to share them with you. The benefits you’ll gain from trusting our washers and dryers are incomparable. Our products offer the following advantages:
- Easy to install and use
- Saves washing and drying time
- Saves money
- Saves energy
- Easy to clean
- Comes in a variety of sizes and capacities
We hope to work with your Fire Department soon to help you start saving time, money, and energy with the best equipment on the market! When you're searching for an affordable vended washer or commercial dryer in your area, call T & L.