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  • washing turnout gear

    I am just wondering what other depts polcies are on gear being washed. How often is it to be washed?

  • #2
    I think we (on this department) are suppost to wash our gear at least four times a year.

    I usually wash it at least a two or three times a year usually during the summer months.

    Don't do what a fellow firefighter did. . .

    He would not wash his gear at all (I guess he wanted to look like he had been in something,) and went on vacation for a while. While he was gone one of our guys borrowed the bunkers and it gave him a bad rash. When we inspected the gear found mold growing in there. . .

    Well lets just say this didn't make the Chief too happy.

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    • #3
      I wash mine about every three months... that is, unless I do something that requires it to be cleaned earlier. I have a spare set that I like to wear, so for me, it isn't that big of a deal to take mine apart and wash it.

      I have known some guys that hate washing their gear. It is always hard to get them to wash it. Whether they like it or not, it gets down every three months.

      I heard somewhere that having dirty gear was a safety issue. Something about the material isn't as effective when it is dirty. I wasn't really paying attention because I wash mine when needed. In addition, wearing clean gear also projects a positive additute to the public.

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      • #4
        In are dept. we ask are firefighters to wash them after we have a working fire. That is about every other month sometimes more.

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        • #5
          It is my understanding that if your turn out gear is dirty it will not allow the fabric to breath properly. which means you wont be able to vent yourself properly. If I am wrong please let me know

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          • #6
            we wash ours after every fire...as to the SOG...i know there is one, they have one for EVERY thing imaginable;-) I avg..probably 2-3 times a month i wash my set
            stay safe brothers

            ------------------
            Engine / Squad Co.# 7

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            • #7
              I was my gear when ever it gets dirty, either due to normal wear, or products of combustion. My department has in industrial extractor (washing machine) that is used for this. Your gear will degrade when dirty, and the flame resistant properties will degrade with the build up of dirt, hydrocarbons will really kill your gear. Also never wash your gear in your washing machine at home. I don't think you want Methal ethal bad $hit getting on to little Johny's favorite shirt, or your tighty whities. If you don't have access to a washing machine, a stiff brissel brush, some mild soap, and a garden hose work just fine. Remember that your Nomex hood and gloves are part of your gear too. It's not cool to have dirty gear, it's just plain stupid.

              ------------------
              All comments are the opinion of the author, and not of any service they are a member of.

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              • #8
                As a rural volunteer department, our volume of working fires is pretty low. So I generally just wash mine as soon as I can after we have one. Unless it gets pretty nasty doing something else, gets real sweaty and stinky in the summer, or gets a lot of blood on it at an MVA or something. I've got an old spare set too, so it's not really a big deal.

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                • #9
                  I recomend every couple of months even if you haven't put it on. For those of who are not fortunate enough to have exhaust systems in their station the disel exhaust will build up on the gear. Disel exhaust has many known carcinagens (probaly not spelt right) I am not sure of the exact # but it is alot, and every time you put this gear on your absorbing this into your body. I would also recomend after every worker, with all of the plastics in buildings now, there is some nasty s**t in there. Rugs are now made of recylced bottles, not the type of stuff I want to carry on my skin, or have absorbed into my bloodstream.

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                  • #10
                    We don't have any requirement (I hope I spelled that right) just if it's dirty and stinky just do us a favor and wash it

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                    • #11
                      I once had a set of turnouts that after washing in a machine, seemed to have lost their ability to repel water. They would just soak up until they felt like they weighed a ton. Now I have a new set and "my" rule is to just hose them off after shift and hang them to dry, no more going through a machine. This is also the general rule of the guys I work with.

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                      • #12
                        Dept. policy says (to paraphrase) that you're supposed to wash them after a working fire, when it starts getting funky from sweat, or if you work an MVA & get who knows what on it. We do have an extractor at each of our two stations.
                        Does everybody follow it? No. It all depends on who the crew's officer or Sgt. is. I think it looks better clean, and that's what Joe Public sees, so I figure that counts for something. Plus, I have to wear it, and if it's getting funky, my nose has to deal with it. Plus, if I get into some blood and/or ? at an MVA, I don't have a clue what kinda critters that person may or may not have had in their body, and I want to keep them out of mine.

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