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Ensemble Maintenance

Soiled ensembles and their elements are dangerous and can result in injury or death to a fire fighter – especially when the protection from the gear he thinks has been afforded to him has been greatly reduced because of soiling or hidden damage to the garment. Ensembles and ensemble elements that are not properly maintained can:
  • Greatly reduce Thermal Protective Performance (TPP) values
  • Increase risk of heat transfer
  • Mechanically degrade the garment
  • Ignite and burn
  • Increase the risk of electrocution
In addition to these risks, soiled ensembles can present an exposure hazard from carcinogens, hydrocarbons, toxins, hazardous chemicals and bodily fluids. Repeated small exposures to these contaminants left in ensembles and elements over a period of time, can create long term health problems for the fire fighter and pose risks to everyone coming into contact with the garment.

Recently, fire service advisory boards, ensemble manufacturers and fire departments across the country have taken a closer look at ensemble care and maintenance procedures and have adopted specialized programs. The NFPA 1851 – 2008 Edition, Standard on Selection, Care and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, provides specific guidelines in the care of ensembles to maintain them in a safe and usable condition – affording maximum protection to the fire fighter and enabling each garment its longest useful life possible.

Within the NFPA 1851 - 2008 Edition, certain guidelines are recommended:

Advanced Cleaning
Ensemble and ensemble elements that are soiled shall receive advanced cleaning prior to reuse.

Advanced Inspection
Advanced inspections of all protective ensemble elements shall be conducted at a minimum of every 12 months, or whenever routine inspections indicate that a problem could exist.

Additionally, a complete liner inspection of all garment elements shall be conducted at a minimum after 3 years in service and annually thereafter or whenever advanced inspections indicate that a problem might exist. The liner system shall be opened to expose all layers for inspecting and testing.

Record Keeping
Complete records for each ensemble and ensemble element should be maintained -detailing the findings of each advanced cleaning, advanced inspection, repairs or modifications from the date of issue through to the date of disposal of the ensemble.

Apex Fire Services can assist any size department with our NFPA 1851 compliant and manufacturer recommended processes. Don’t trust your expensive life saving protective equipment to just anyone. Our fully-trained employees treat your equipment like it is their own in our state-of-the-art facility.



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