Cancer is the #1 leading cause of death among firefighters!

Firefighter turnout gear cleaning is crucial to firefighter safety. After realizing the negative impact that cancer is having towards firefighters in the line of duty, a solution was needed to decontaminate turnout gear free of carcinogens.

Turnout gear, also known as bunker 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. The firefighter wears all of this to accomplish their job safely and successfully. Unfortunately, firefighters began experiencing alarmingly high cancer rates.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a study that identified firefighters have a 9% greater chance of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14% greater chance of dying from cancer than the general U.S. population.

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. Contaminated fire gear can trap and contain many of the chemicals and carcinogens that have adverse effects on the firefighter, if not safely removed. Proper firefighter turnout cleaning can reduce the exposure of carcinogens to a firefighter.

Why is CO2 effective?

Liquid CO2 is highly effective for firefighter turnout gear cleaning for several reasons. The most important reason being the ability to pass freely between the various layers of gear. As referenced by the diagram, 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. Whereas water-based cleaning can get through the outer shell but fails to penetrate the moisture barrier.

Superior Firefighter Turnout Cleaning

The most important feature of Cool Clean’s CO2 cleaning equipment is the superior cleaning performance. Testing from numerous studies has shown residual and carcinogenic removal of over 98% of SVOCs and PAHs. Water on the other hand is only removing 15-40% of these target SVOCs according to the NFPA. 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.

Gentle on the Gear

Another benefit to CO2 cleaning is the process is gentle on the garment. CO2 cleaning is done at room temperature, therefore does not expose the turnout gear to cold temperatures. At the conclusion of the CO2 process, typically 40 – 70 minutes in duration, the contents are removed – with no additional drying required. Unlike water, CO2 evaporates from the gear once the process is complete, greatly saving the time it takes to process the gear.

Experienced in CO2 Based Technology

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 industries such as medical device, automotive, aerospace, and Hard Disk Drives/Electronics.

Cool Clean teamed up with Emergency Technical Decon, an ISP specializing in firefighter turnout gear maintenance to incorporate liquid CO2 cleaning for decontamination. Visit ETD’s website to learn about all the services they offer for fire departments and bunker gear maintenance. Learn more by visiting our partners website