Keep Your Equipment Clean

SCBA facemasks and tools are exposed to the same products of combustion as turnout gear.  They are contaminated any time they are exposed to a smoky atmosphere, including but not limited to structure fires, car fires, dumpster fires, training fires or burnt food on the stove.  If not properly cleaned, contaminated equipment will continue to expose personnel to carcinogens long after the fire.

  • Gross decontamination of equipment should be done at the scene.
  • Any time contact is made with the contaminated equipment at the scene or while cleaning, proper PPE that will limit dermal absorption should be used.
  • Transportation of contaminated SCBAs masks and other equipment:
  • Contaminated equipment should be grossly decontaminated first, then encapsulated if transporting in the fire engine to further reduce exposure or contamination to uncontaminated areas.
  • Contaminated equipment does not need to be encapsulated if it can be transported to the cleaning facility in a vehicle (e.g. pickup) that will not allow further cross-contamination of the apparatus cab, compartments or exposure to personnel.
  • Equipment should be cleaned in a location that will allow for proper cleaning without further exposure to personnel or living quarters.
  • After each use, all equipment will be cleaned according to manufacturer's recommendations.
  • For most hand tools (axe, hooligan, shovel, etc.), use mild soap and water.
  • If necessary, scrub with a soft to medium bristled brush to remove stubborn contaminants.
  • Using a garden hose, completely rinse the soap from the tools.
  • Gas powered equipment can be wiped free of smoke, soot and debris.