FAQ for Turnout & Bunker Gear Washer-Extractors:

Everyday, thousands of fires rage across the country. These fires can range in severity from a grease fire to a wild fire. However, time and time again, brave fire men and fire women selflessly run towards the things everyone else is running from. However, the danger does not stop once the fire is extinguished. Deadly carcinogens attach themselves to turnout and bunker gear, and bring danger to the station, and occasionally, the home. Eliminating these deadly carcinogens is crucial to every fire department across the country. Utilizing an NFPA compliant turnout gear extractor is the first step towards properly handling contaminated bunker and turnout gear.


Q: What are the NFPA Guidelines for Turnout & Bunker Gear?

The National Fir Protection Association (NFPA) is the leading information and knowledge resource on fire hazards. The proper way to wash and dry your protective apparel is disclosed in these guidelines. However, depending your gear’s manufacturers guidelines, some methods may work better than others. A cautious and careful approach to cleaning your gear is crucial to properly decontaminating and maintaining the structural integrity of the fabrics. One NFPA 1851 guideline states that personal protective equipment (PPE) cannot be stored wet.

Find more information about NFPA guidelines for firefighter turnout gear cleaning here

Helpful link – Fire Department Washer Sizing Reference Chart


Q: How Many Sets of Bunker / Turnout Gear Can A Commercial Washer Handle?

Besides seeing a need for a new commercial washer for your gear, your team will also need to establish how many sets of gear you’d like to wash at a time. Usually, it’s grouped the following way:

  • 20lb. Washer – 2 sets of gear
  • 30lb. Washer – 3 sets of gear
  • 40lb. Washer – 4 sets of gear
  • 60lb. Washer – 6 sets of gear
  • 80lb. Washer – 8 sets of gear
  • 90lb. Washer – 9 sets of gear

While this is a good rule of thumb to follow, it is not exact because large pieces of bunker gear can obviously take up more space. Additionally, outers and liners must be washed separately.


Maple Heights Fire Department Buys Near Turnout Gear Washer-Extractor

Q: What’s The Difference Between Hard-Mount & Soft-Mount Commercial Washers?

Hard-mount washers, also known as rigid-mount, must be mounted into a concrete floor ranging in depth from 2″ to 10″+. The inertia and shock the machine generates is sent through the bearings, frame, and into the concrete. Since the shock and inertia is transmitted into the concrete, it can cause the concrete to fracture and break if not installed properly.  Due to installation, these machines cannot be placed over a basement. If an individual wanted to move the physical unit, they would need to uninstall it, then reinstall it at a different location. G-Force Extract Capabilities: 200G Max (most models).

Soft-mount washers are different from hard-mount washers since they do not require bolting-down. Soft-mount washers have an internal suspension and shock system which absorbs some 97% of vibrations. Soft-mount machines can be installed above basements, second floors, etc. To install a soft-mount washer, simply place the unit down, level it, hook-up utilities, and you’re done! If you need to move the unit, simply place it on an appliance dolly, or a pallet jack if it’s a larger unit, and move to where you need it. G-Force Extract Capabilities: 300-400G Force.

Fire Gear Washer Customer

Q: What Are Automated Chemical Injection Systems & Why Does My Commercial Washer Need It?

Automated chemical injection systems are programmed to release a specific amount of product at a specific time to achieve a desired result. In the fire & rescue industry, these chemicals help significantly reduce carcinogens in gear, as well as kill harmful bloodborne pathogens like MRSA, HIV, etc. Providing an automated laundry chemical program for your department enables any firefighter the ease of simply walking up to the machine, loading it, pressing the correct program, and then letting the machine complete it’s cycle. Everything is programmed, so that there is minimal training needed on new hires.

After separating the outers from the liners, you’ll load either in the commercial washer. At that point, you will reference a chart showcasing whether you need to wash on Program 1 for a heavy structural fire, or Program 10 for a blood-borne exposure. After the specific cycle is selected, the internal programming takes over. At a specific time in the cycle, an NFPA compliant detergent, Turn Out, is injected to suspend soils and clean the fabrics. Later in the program, a does of sanitizing agent, Laundry Guard, is injected to kill blood borne pathogens. It is safe on fabric, and authorized to be used through NFPA.

All fire gear washer orders placed through Advantage Equipment, Inc. are eligible for our regionally recognized laundry chemical program. 

laundry chemical system for fire departments

Final Thoughts On Turnout Gear Washers-Extractors

In conclusion, there are quite a few things to consider when shopping for a commercial turnout / bunker gear washer-extractor. Whether it’s hard-mount or soft-mount, 2-set or 6-set, laundry chemical or not, we’re here to walk with your department every step of the way. Our highly specialized team has placed turnout gear washer-extractors in over 500 stations. We install the equipment, train your staff on how to use it effectively, and have a service department which can repairs items in a timely manner.

Read more about our in-depth Fire Program here

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