Firefighters are on the frontlines putting their lives at risk each day to keep us safe. As first responders during the current COVID-19 crisis, that role is heightened, both in risk and importance to public safety. 

That means turnout gear is needing to be laundered more often to ensure the technical fibers that make up the PPE aren’t harboring the COVID-19 virus. While the virus has shown a long lifespan on flat surfaces and metal, doctors believe it can also live for several hours on fabric, with a slightly longer span on polyester and spandex-like materials. 

To battle this virus in the firehouse and ambulance bays, it’s suggested firefighters use NFPA 1851 as a guide, specifically laundering gear after each call and running a sanitize cycle between loads. 

Equally important to having processes in place and making sure staff is up to speed on them is also documenting the laundering of gear. With the wash cadence rising, this may be a possible pitfall. However, it’s avoidable with simple tools like UniMac’s FireLinc technology. With a scan of the PPE bar code and few simple button taps, FireLinc keeps a detailed log of laundry activities. 

It’s imperative to approach returning from first-responder calls just the same as any structure fire response, and that means emphasizing the importance of washing gear to keep staff safe. 

To learn how Framingham, Mass. Fire Department Chief Mike Dutcher decided to work with UniMac and leverage the power of FireLinc, click here

For standard operating guidelines on how to wash turnout gear to mitigate COVID-19, click here.