Firefighter Turnout Cleaning and Decontamination Using Liquid CO2


Firefighters experience alarmingly high cancer rates compared to the average human. The main causes to this increase in cancer rates is the exposure to hundreds of different chemicals in the form of gases, vapors, and particulates from an incident.

Firefighter turnout cleaning can reduce the exposure of carcinogens to a firefighter, as contaminated fire gear contains many of the chemicals and carcinogens that have adverse effects on the firefighter, if not properly removed.

Current mitigation methods involve water-based cleaning of turnouts in the form of a water extractor. Unfortunately, while seemingly the nest option on the market, a Finnish study in The Netherlands showed that water wash cleaning effectively removed only 15-40% of these carcinogens.

That is where CO2 cleaning and decontamination comes in. In comparison, a CO2 cleaning process was tested against a water extractor and the firefighter turnouts showed non-detectable levels of carcinogens. A significant development to lowering occupational cancer rates in firefighters.

Superior bunker gear cleaning!

Bunker gear, also known as turnout gear, or fire kit and incident gear, is all the essential personal protective equipment (PPE) used by firefighters. This includes bunker pants, bunker coats, fire boots, structural gloves, gear bags, fire helmets, hoods, belts, and suspenders. All of this is worn by the firefighter in order to safely and successfully accomplish their job at hand.

Why is CO2 an effective cleaner? CO2 in a liquid phase has a lower viscosity and surface tension, allowing it to pass freely through the outer shell, moisture barrier, and the thermal liner. Unlike water cleaning that is inhibited by the moisture barrier and unable to provide a deep clean.

Testing from various studies have shown residual and carcinogenic removal of over 98% of SVOCs and PAHs using CO2 cleaning. Further, a study from Europe compared water extractor cleaning to CO2 to determine cross contamination of gear. CO2 showed no cross contamination, and removed all detectable levels of toxins. Unfortunately, water showed significant levels of cross contamination between gear and was unsuccessful at removing the desired levels of toxins.

bunker pant

Experienced in CO2 based technology

First, this isn’t your average CO2 solution. Cool Clean Technologies is one of the most experienced CO2 system manufacturers in the world and has been developing CO2 technology solutions for over 20 years with various patents on equipment that service a variety of industries. But when it comes to firefighter decontamination, Cool Clean needed to access the expertise of Emergency Technical Decon (ETD) to come up with and design a unique CO2 cleaning system fit for firefighter turnout gear.

ETD was formed to offer an NFPA-approved, refined process for firefighter turnout gear, healthcare provider PPE, equipment, and more. Visit ETD’s website to learn about all the services they offer for fire departments and bunker gear maintenance.

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