Protecting Fire Fighters with Commercial Laundry Equipment for Fire Departments

Firefighters are continuously exposed to hazardous contaminants such as chemicals, bodily fluids, and others absorbed in the skin, causing a danger to themselves, the public, and the protective gear itself. In fact, some chemicals, like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), can even cause DNA mutations and cancer caused by smoke. Without thoroughly cleaned gear, your fire department can’t meet all the safety and sanitation guidelines needed to protect firefighters and their families.

NFPA Guidelines For Commercial Laundry Systems

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines are specific regarding adequately washing and drying protective attire for firefighters. Proper cleaning, based on the standard, includes washing and drying gear without damaging the protective fibers. The guidelines and principal challenges to fire department laundry:

Challenge 1: Cleaning Can Not Harm the Fabric

Due to the danger the contaminants cause, specific washing guidelines are required to purge the gear. However, speed and power on their own are not the answer. Machines that are not calibrated for the type of gear may end up gear fabric, thereby lowering its protective qualities and increasing the danger firefighters already face. We recommend only using programmable washers and air drying equipment designed for this type of cleaning.

Challenge 2: Know Your Guidelines and Be Prepared to Follow Them

The NFPA publishes more than 300 consensus codes and standards to reduce the possibility and effects of fire and other risks. The NFPA 1851 standard is intended to outline advanced cleaning of PPE gear and includes frequency, machine considerations, detergent selection, and other advanced cleaning programs. The thing we at AAdvantage Laundry Systems want you to know is from this standard is that the most commonly available commercial laundry equipment is not made for firefighter use. Machines like the Dexter’s 100 G Series Washers and the Circul Air Express PPE drying cabinet are designed to remove contamination without damaging the fabrics. These units are programmable with lower washing speeds and speed cycles calibrated to meet the washing guidelines of the NFPA.

Challenge 3: Equipment Must Be Available with No Downtimes

24/7. This is the nature of a firefighter’s job. People’s lives depend on it as well. Proper equipment means ensuring their gear is ready whenever the call arrives. Uptime is a necessity, not a choice.

Highly programmable laundry equipment is the best and most efficient way to ensure firefighter gear is clean and safe when it matters most. Programmable controls might include:

  • For PPE: Low wash and extract cycles
  • For towels, sheets, and other clothing: High speeds and fast drying times
  • Temperature and water level control
  • Additional rinse cycles

Specific laundry equipment, such as the Dexter 100 G Series Washers and the Circul Air Express PPE drying cabinet, work by removing pathogens from your crew’s gear. They are designed with industry-specific cycles, temperature recording, and fire response systems. These units decontaminate your equipment while curtailing damage and the life of the gear.

fire fighter commercial cleaning

Download our Guide to Cleaning and Sanitation of Firefighter Turnout Gear

What You Need to Know to Meet NEPA 1851 Guidelines


protecting fire fighters with commercial laundry equipment for fire department 1

fire fighters with commercial laundry equipment

Trust AAdvantage for Your Fire Department Turnout Gear Washers and Drying Cabinets

AAdvantage Laundry Systems can provide Dexter washers and Circul Air Express PPE equipment to meet any sized fire department needs. We are one of the largest volume laundry equipment distributors in the South. Our turn-key solutions not only include design and layout services but full-service support, consulting, and more.

For more information on our commercial laundry equipment for fire departments, contact us today or call 1-800-880-2138.

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