Fire Department Laundry
FIRE DEPARTMENT LAUNDRY
Dirty Gear Isn't Cool, It's Dangerous
Contaminated protective gear exposes firefighters to potentially life-threatening chemicals, biological agents and particulate matter. If not dealt with properly, soiled protective gear can also pass on contaminants to the public at large. The key to limiting a firefighter's exposure to such hazards is proper decontamination of soiled gear which can be laden with life-threatening chemicals, blood, body fluids or particulate matter after a fire, car accident or similar event.
The NFPA puts out a set of guidelines for properly washing and drying protective apparel and not all methods and are created equal. A careful approach to cleaning gear is critical to proper decontamination and to maintaining the integrity of the protective fabric.
For a complete listing of guidelines, visit www.nfpa.org.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides hundreds of millions in grants to help fire departments better protect their firefighters and the greater public. Hundreds of fire departments each year receive funding for new laundry equipment – essential for decontaminating protective gear. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program assists rural, urban, and suburban fire departments throughout the United States. Funds are used by the nation's firefighters to increase the effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs, new fire apparatus, emergency medical service programs, and fire prevention and safety programs. To find out more about the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, visit www.fema.gov.