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Deconning a radio

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  • Deconning a radio

    Good Morning Everyone,

    With the interest in cleaning your turn out gear after a fire or other incident a thought struck me this morning as i put on my gear to go train with our firefighters. My gear was clean yet my radio still smells like smoke, especially the microphone. So ideas on how to clean that? Obviously it can't be submerged in soapy water or tossed in the washer with my gear, so now what?

    Yes, this is a 100% serious question.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  • #2
    Maybe something similar to contact cleaner where it'll evaporate afterwards?
    Two departments, twice the fun...

    Comment


    • #3
      Okay, so what is contact cleaner? You mean for electrical contacts? Don't most of those say to stay away from plastic?
      Crazy, but that's how it goes
      Millions of people living as foes
      Maybe it's not too late
      To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

      Comment


      • #4
        Not an expert but I have worked in electronics industrial setting for 29 years...

        You are 100% correct on not submerging it, but I would think that using a "damp" cloth or sponge with dish soap would take some of the products of combustion off the outside case. (Get cloth wet and squeeze out excess water.) Radio straps and cases are different story...

        Thing is that it has some ability to not totally short out and die on the fire ground. (Or it would not work after the call.) I would think it depends on the make / model too as how "well" it deals with getting wet. Maybe a call to your radio supplier?

        Key thing is that if any electronics get wet, get the power of that unit turned off! And not turned back on until it is dry and free from debris.

        Comment


        • #5
          Gotcha. I was thinking of perhaps a baby wipe type of thing. But the wrubng out wash cloth idea seems like a good one too.
          Crazy, but that's how it goes
          Millions of people living as foes
          Maybe it's not too late
          To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

          Comment


          • #6
            I would think some baby wipes for gross decon and then maybe alcohol wipes for biologic and removing residue from the baby wipes.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
              Okay, so what is contact cleaner? You mean for electrical contacts? Don't most of those say to stay away from plastic?
              Ones I have are safe for plastic, but the other suggestions here are better.
              Two departments, twice the fun...

              Comment


              • #8
                Find out what the submersion rating of the radio is. I'm not advocating dunking it, but if it's rated for some amount of submersion, you can be a little more liberal with cleaning substances. Same goes for the mike.

                That said, a light misting with an appropriate cleaning substance, followed by a thorough drying - rags/towels, Q-Tips, etc might help with the mike. Simply soaking a Q-Tip or a corner of a rag/towel in a cleaner may allow you to get in between the "slats" on the mike, if it has them. That's going to be one of the areas with the most contamination.

                We got some SCBA mask cleaning wipes - they'd probably work for radios, too.

                Anything absorbant, like a radio strap, should be cleaned using methods appropriate for the material. That would be a good idea from time to time anyhow, never mind contaminants like smoke...
                Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am talking about the radio and the microphone and cord. I haven't, and most likely won't switch to the radio strap, radio holder set-up so deconning that is not a concern. Well at least not for me.
                  Crazy, but that's how it goes
                  Millions of people living as foes
                  Maybe it's not too late
                  To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Along that same line, what about SCBA's? They get worn into every fire, the cloth portions get saturated with all the various fire gasses, and there's really no way to thoroughly decon them, since they have to go right back on the rig. Open the SCBA compartment in most places and you'll get a whiff of smoke. We're not always on air while we have an SCBA on our backs, so we breathe in whatever is off-gassing from it.

                    Not every risk can be avoided or eliminated, I think at the end of the day, you do the absolute best that you can do with what you can control, and realize that some of it is just unavoidable, and comes with the job.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I used some baby wipes on the radio body, mic cord, mic, and antennae, and that seemed to eliminate about 3/4 of the smell. I will hit the radio with the wipes again on Monday.
                      Crazy, but that's how it goes
                      Millions of people living as foes
                      Maybe it's not too late
                      To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Baby wipes would be roughly equivalent to the decon sheets we have - and might smell nicer....

                        Getting into the various cracks and crevices is probably the biggest challenge.
                        Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                        Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I was gonna suggest the little SCBA Facepiece towlettes, or Cavicide wipes.
                          "A fire department that writes off civilians faster than an express line of 6 reasons or less is not progressive, it's dangerous, because it's run by fear. Fear does not save lives, it endangers them." -- Lt. Ray McCormack FDNY

                          "Because if you don't think you're good, nobody else will." -- DC Tom Laun (ret) Syracuse

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ok, this is going to sound crazy. After as many years as I have repairing radios, owning a radio dealership, and just being around radios, this has worked every time.

                            Scrubbing bubbles.

                            Yep. The bathroom cleaner. Spray it on, wipe it off. We kept many cans around the shop, would spray down radios, circuit boards, etc. Some customers they always got cleaned before anyone had to work on them.

                            Never an issue.

                            Now, if you have a submersible, or water resistant radio, as many are now a days, it even gets easier, but I still just use the scrubbing bubbles.

                            Ok, putting on the turnouts for the flaming that will follow

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What model is your radio? My Tait is waterproof and can be washed down. My Motorola and the old Kenwood that was replaced by the Tait are not waterproof so I wipe them. I like the scrubbing bubbles idea.

                              Comment

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