Cleaning Firefighter Gear Saves Lives
Firefighters save lives, put themselves at risk daily, and protect their neighbors and their communities, often without regard for their own safety. Turnout gear cleaning is an important part of firefighter safety, so it is crucial that the gear is cleaned properly. You can’t just break out the fire hose and blast away! Why? Because wood smoke is made up of small particles of carbon, gases, and other material that leave a penetrating film behind on firefighting gear. If any chemicals or other substances are also producing smoke, there can be extremely life-threatening results. Over time, those particles build up and lessen the effectiveness of fabrics by weakening the fibers.
Fire Departments can clean their gear on-site, but must follow NFPA 1851 compliance in both washing and drying their gear. It’s important to choose the right washing machine (definitely not your grandma’s machine) and safe cleaners like CitroSqueeze® (environmentally-friendly yet effective) for the fabrics they are using. Some machines offer advanced options with detailed usage reporting, allowing NFPA 1851 compliance verification. Drying using a tumbling method may separate the fibers, so fabrics are to be dried by hanging in the station, as long as they are out of the sunlight, or there are PPE drying cabinets that can be used to dry fabrics such as Kevlar® and Nomex® by forcing heated air throughout the cabinet to dry the gear from the inside out. This is an efficient way to dry because it allows drying of both the inside and the outside, without causing excess wear.
If a station lacks the resources to clean their bunker gear on-site, they must still follow standards set by the NFPA. Gear Cleaning Solutions offers a cleaning program that fire departments can rotate into their schedule, plus education and training on NFPA 1851 compliance. Firefighter gear rental is also available to supplement the gear during cleaning.
Clean the gear that keeps our firefighters safe! Brought to you by the firefighters taking care of firefighters at GCS.