Cleaning firefighting and emergency clothing – but the right way!

Fire and rescue services equip their employees with special protective clothing that must be cleaned after every operation. In addition to the highest hygiene standards, the high-tech materials also require particularly gentle cleaning so that emergency services can rely on the functionality of their clothing. We explain how to achieve optimum cleaning quickly and reliably.

Hygiene is indispensable

Firefighters save lives every day – and put themselves at risk in the process. The work of firefighters has been categorised as highly carcinogenic, which is why reliable protection through clean clothing is extremely important. Clothing, breathing apparatus and tools contaminated with PAH pollutants must be absolutely hygienically cleaned before they are used again. The right hygiene concept is an important part of occupational safety for firefighters.

 

Washing: Thorough yet gentle!

Preparing the laundry before the wash cycle prevents damage to the materials: Velcro fasteners and zips are closed and, ideally, covered. Accessories such as carabiners or an integrated rescue and retention system (IRS) are removed before washing. To protect the textiles during the subsequent wash cycle, the wash programme must be adapted to the requirements of the clothing. The manufacturer’s instructions should always be followed. A prewash is advisable for heavily soiled clothing containing soot, oil, or grease. We recommend selecting the gentle wash cycle with a ratio of 15 seconds drum movement and 15 seconds drum standstill. When utilising the machine capacity, 75% should not be exceeded to achieve a reliable result. Both the high-speed ATOLL washing machine and the DIVIMAT partition wall machine are suitable for cleaning turnout gear.

Impregnation only if necessary

If impregnation is necessary, it must be ensured that there are no detergent residues left. We therefore recommend four rinsing baths before impregnation. In general, impregnation should always be carried out as a wash bath at high temperatures, not as a spray impregnation. As some manufacturers provide the outer fabric of the clothing with a long-term FC finish, the manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed when impregnating. The need for impregnation can be checked with a spray test.

Quick drying for the next application

A drying cabinet is ideal for fast drying with minimal mechanical stress on the textiles. Sensor-controlled drying in a conventional dryer can damage the protective clothing due to excessive temperatures. Due to the residual moisture that often remains after drying, firefighter clothing must be stored in an airy, dry place protected from light. The TS 1300 drying cabinet offers space for up to eight sets of clothing and plug-in holders for up to 21 pairs of boots or gloves. A maximum of 40 masks can also be gently dried in a single cycle. An alternative is the T 232-246 tumble dryer, available in five sizes, which also dries turnout gear in a short time with minimal mechanical stress. With the help of a dryer or drying cabinet, emergency crews can quickly get back to their protective clothing, which reduces the laundry pool.

STAHL offers customised solutions for in-house laundries in fire brigades as well as for commercial laundries. We are happy to support you with our consulting and planning service!

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