Specialized Washers that Remove Toxins from Gear are being Installed in 20 Houston Fire Stations
Firefighters will now be able to deep clean their bunker gear at district fire stations throughout the city. 


HOUSTON- As part of the Houston Fire Department’s  Health and Safety Initiative, Fire Chief Sam Peña is announcing the addition of commercial strength gear washing machines for 20 district fire stations. These extractors or “gear washers” are currently being installed and will enable firefighters to deep clean their gear after an incident.  

In eras past, it was considered a badge of honor to wear “seasoned” equipment. Today, however, we understand the risks firefighters face due to harmful carcinogens. Plastics and synthetics are more common in today’s households, making residential fires more dangerous due to an increase in toxic and carcinogenic combustion products. Unsafe contaminants and dangerous smoke particulates easily penetrate turnout gear and are promptly absorbed within the fabric. That’s why gear extractors are so important. 

Advanced cleaning is best accomplished with a minimum 30-lb-capacity washer extractor with fully programmable controls—including water-temperature control and a 100 g-force extraction setting. This meets today’s requirements while allowing the flexibility to ensure adherence to future requirements. Nationwide, fire departments large and small are focusing increasingly on cancer prevention in response to studies showing firefighters contract cancer at higher rates than the population at large.
 
“The health and safety of our firefighters is of the upmost importance.  It’s critical that we invest in equipment that is beneficial to their well-being.  The addition of commercial extractors to remove toxins from bunker gear is one part of that investment. It’s our goal to install extractors in every Houston fire station,” says Chief Peña.

These 20 extractors were funded through community donations.  The HFD is working to purchase additional extractors. 

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