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Washing machines

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Washing firefighting uniforms
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Washing firefighting uniforms

Washing firefighting uniforms is becoming more and more important in this industry. Recent reports have described the terrible health risks that result from the constant exposure to smoke and soot, resulting in a focus on creating a safer working environment for firefighters.

Unprofessional washing and handling of firefighting uniforms

International research has shown that as opposed to the general population, firefighters are:

  • 20% more likely to develop testicular, prostate, and colon cancer
  • 30% more likely to develop skin and brain cancer
  • 50% more likely to develop multiple myeloma and cancer lesions

(Kanker.NL.BRW.2014)

The inspector of the Dutch department of Social Affairs and Employment has also assessed these figures and has now included the topic of risk exposure and contaminated protective equipment to their general inspection. This inspection concluded that 13 out of 19 of the Dutch regions inspected gave too little attention to the importance of ‘contamination of skin, vehicles and barracks by contaminated clothing.’  Many of the regions have taken these findings into account and have adapted their policies. 
(Factsheet Inspectie SZW, inspecties bij de Brandweer 2015)

Before, during, and after - making the fire brigade cleaner

This text was written in response to the national guidelines of the process of making fire services cleaner - before, during, and after. This guide enforces a nationwide guide encouraging firefighters to improve their cleanliness within their profession. This document is not a policy to be adhered to, but instead a guide. The goal of it is clear, but the paths to that goal are many and varying.

The first step is to diagnose which activities expose fire service personnel to hazardous substances. Tasks are performed by various members in the firefighting community to determine the severity of the activity; those who partake in this act are called ‘risk runners’.

(handreiking schoon werken bij brand, 2016)

Process -> Function, Primary repressing -> Drive/attendant; Skill attaining -> Instructor, employee, student; Fire Investigation process -> Fire investigator; Logistics and maintenances -> Logistics/maintenance worker;

In collaboration with PWG and Christeyns Granuldisk (solo rescue), Laundry Expert offers its expertise concerning the supporting of logistics, maintenance, and/or the cleaning process.

This plan is based on the Swedish Skellefteå model (2015), the industry guideline on the occurrence of fire services-related asbestos incidents (Brandweer Nederland, 2016) and the ‘Investigation into the effective laundering of towels and coveralls used for asbestos work’ study (Environmental Measurement Group, 2002).

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