Why Clean Firefighting Protective Clothing?

  • NFPANFPA Specifications 1500, 1971, 1851.
  • NFPA 1500 5-1.5 Structural firefighting protective clothing shall be periodically cleaned at least annually, or as soon as it has been soiled or contaminated as specified in Section 7.3.3 of NFPA 1851.
  • Health Concerns – Absorption of harmful contaminants into body.
  • Safety Concerns – Potential ignition of unburned fuels on outer shell during extreme heat situations.
  • The growing concern for safety in the workplace and the recent revisions to NFPA 1500, 1971 and NFPA 1851 standards for protective clothing and equipment, along with the new OSHA Standards regarding infectious control programs has encouraged Gear Cleaning Solutions to develop this process for the protective garment industry.
  • Recent medical studies have shown that firefighters exposed over a period of time to chemicals, toxins and carcinogens have a cancer rate twice that of the general population. This increased rate is due partly to these contaminants found in protective clothing being absorbed through the skin. As firemen and emergency personnel come into contact with the general public, the potential for biological contamination (HIV, Hepatitis B, etc.) is increasing each day. Proper disinfections and cleaning assures the gear is safe to wear and keeps them in service longer.
  • In addition to the health concerns, the safety of today’s firefighter may also be in jeopardy if hydrocarbons (unburned fuels) are not removed and allowed to build up on the surface of the outer shell. Over the past few years, there have been several documented cases where firefighters have been injured during extreme heat situations when heavy hydrocarbon buildups have ignited on the surface of the protective garments.
  • Primary Reasons for Cleaning Turnout Gear – Reduces health risk by removing hazardous contaminants and breathable particulate. – Reduces safety risk by removing burnable residues. – Improves breath ability of protective envelope. – Reduces heat absorption. – Improves fire retardant qualities. – Reduces wear on fibers due to abrasion from contaminants. – Kills biological hazards. – Prolongs useful life of the gear.