Fire & Public Safety

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, reality is that maintenance of this gear is essential not only for garment longevity, but firefighter protection as well.

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 Dexter we understand the laundry needs public safety and the importance of clean and dry gear. We’ve been providing laundry equipment for over 100 years to those who serve, and departments worldwide depend on our equipment.

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

Contaminants can expose firefighters to cancer-causing carcinogens, and after too much buildup even cause the gear to become flammable itself. This can put 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 and promptly 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% — a definite cost savings considering a set of gear can cost as much as $1200 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 a 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 exposes your firefighters to dangerous chemical 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. 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 set of gear per cleaning, plus your department runs the risk of not having its equipment available when you need it the most. In reality, most departments do not have the budgets for outsourcing 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 in separate equipment from bedding and other regular laundry when possible. This can help prevent 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 help 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 has been known to deteriorate turnout gear vapor barriers over time, and a 100 G washer is recommended for turnout gear washing. Dexter does offer 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 on 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 fi re 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 fi re 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 cycles.

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