A firefighter’s turnout gear is often all that stands between him or her and imminent danger. While heavily soiled gear used to be a badge of honor of past battles fought, the reality is that maintenance of this gear is essential for garment longevity and safety.

 

Your crew comes into contact with chemicals, smoke, blood, and other contaminants. You need laundry equipment to keep their uniforms and clothing in top condition, no matter how many alarm stains are on them. At Worldwide Laundry, we understand the importance of clean and dry gear. We’ve been providing laundry equipment for decades to those who serve.

 

After a typical fire, gear is heavily soiled with soot and toxic residue. When left untreated, these contaminants greatly reduce the integrity and longevity of the garment. The soils degrade the fabric, making it susceptible to tears and holes. This increases the risk of steam burns and endangers personnel. These soils also affect the long-term health of the firefighter.

 

Contaminants can expose firefighters to cancer-causing carcinogens. Too much gear can even cause the gear to become flammable itself. This puts your crew in danger just by wearing their regular gear. To minimize a firefighter’s exposure to these hazards, it’s important to make sure their gear is properly cleaned and maintained. Long-lasting Dexter commercial laundry equipment can handle your toughest loads while helping you maintain and extend the life of your turnout gear. Proper cleaning can extend your crew’s gear by as much as 50%. This is a definite cost saving, considering a set of gear can cost as much as $1,200 or more.

 

Here are some tips to keep in mind when purchasing or upgrading your fire department’s on-premise equipment:


  • Frequent Cleaning: Fire turnout gear needs thorough cleaning after every use. A minimum cleaning of every six months is recommended.
  • Hand Washing Gear is Dangerous: In order to save on laundry expenses, some departments will scrub gear with a brush and water hose. This method not only fails to clean the gear but also exposes your firefighters to dangerous chemicals and biological toxins.
  • Industrial Equipment: If your firefighters are taking their gear home to wash or using laundromats, they are putting their families and the general public at risk! Fire codes prohibit departments to clean their gear at home or in public laundries due to concerns over contamination. The residue left in the machine may contaminate future washes. To prevent this exposure to unsuspecting individuals, the gear needs to either be professionally cleaned through outsourcing or onsite at the firehouse.
  • Outsourcing Cleaning Can Be Costly. Sending turnout gear to the cleaners can cost as much as $70 per cleaning. Plus, you run the risk of not having your equipment available when you need it the most. Most departments don’t have the budget to outsource cleanings or to have additional backup gear available in case of emergency. Purchasing the right laundry equipment for the job is both practical and cost-effective.
  • Separate Loads. When cleaning your department’s turnout gear, be sure to keep it separate from the station’s other laundry. It is recommended that departments wash turnout gear separately from bedding and other regular laundry when possible. This prevents contamination. When separate equipment is not financially possible, turnout gear should be washed in a separate load from other laundry with a sanitizer cycle run in-between loads to remove any residual contaminants.
  • Front Load Washer: A front load washer is recommended due to the lack of an agitator which can damage gear. A stainless steel tub should also be utilized if available.
  • Use 100 G Machines. High G-force is known to deteriorate turnout gear vapor barriers over time, and a 100 G washer is recommended for turnout gear washing. Dexter offers a special 100 G Stack Washer/Dryer for fire departments. Ask your Dexter Authorized Distributor for more details on this product.
  • Prepare Gear. Departments should prepare their clothing as directed by fastening all closures, snapping all snaps, and zipping all zippers. If possible, liners should be detached from the turnout gear and removed from the shell for separate laundering. The hook portion of all Velcro should be covered to prevent snagging during the laundry cycle.
  • Chemical Injection. Because many different individuals are likely to be using this on-premise laundry equipment, in order to maintain consistent chemical usage, automatic injection is recommended. Ask your Dexter Authorized Distributor for more details.
  • Inspection for Damages: All fire gear should be carefully inspected after each use for rips, tears, or other damages. Because of the contaminants that can be present on the gear, it is recommended that fire departments wash their gear prior to performing the inspection for maximum health safety.
  • Turnout Gear Capacity: Dexter Washers can handle the following maximum amount of turnout gear per laundry cycle:


Contact Worldwide Laundry today for free professional laundry consultation of your facility.


T-300 On-Premise Washer

Washer 1 sets turnout gear per load

T-400 On-Premise Washer

Washer 2 sets turnout gear per load

T-600 On-Premise Washer

Washer 3 sets turnout gear per load

T-900 On-Premise Washer

Washer 4 sets turnout gear per load

T-1200 On-Premise Washer

Washer 5 sets turnout gear per load