Roundtable: Cleaning Bunker Gear

By John “Skip” Coleman

We now know and can document that smoke is bad for us. We also have learned and documented that some of the “stuff” in smoke clings to the bunker clothing firefighters wear into a smoky atmosphere. We also have learned and documented that this “stuff” that clings to our bunker cloths can remain “clung” to our bunker coats for days. So if we simply put our bunker cloths back on without removing this “stuff” from the last fire even days later, we can still inhale/absorb this “stuff,” which is bad for us.

My question for this month is: Does your department require that your bunker clothing be washed/extracted after every working fire?

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Skip Coleman: Firefighting RoundtableJohn “Skip” Coleman retired as assistant chief from the Toledo (OH) Department of Fire and Rescue. He is a technical editor of Fire Engineering. a member of the FDIC Educational Advisory Board; and author of Incident Management for the Street-Smart Fire Officer (Fire Engineering, 1997), Managing Major Fires (Fire Engineering, 2000), Incident Management for the Street-Smart Fire Officer, Second Edition (Fire Engineering, 2008) and Searching Smarter (Fire Engineering 2011) and 2011 recipient of the FDIC Tom Brennan Lifetime Achievement Award.

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