1. #1
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    Default Turnout gear washing...questions

    Before anyone goes ape ... I did do a search, and while I found many posts on the subject I never really found the answers I seek.

    Department Background: we are a small volunteer department with 34 members covering an area of 450+ square miles. A typical year we run 35 or so calls, sometimes as few as 10, sometimes as high as 80.

    We are looking to put a machine in the station to was gear. We have been considering a commercial washer/extractor with a roughly $5,000 price tag. We have also considered purchasing the biggest most heavy duty, super capacity FRONT LOAD residential machine available from maytag, whirlpool, lg etc..., price tag roughly $1,300.

    I am looking for input from some folks who have tried the route of using a less expensive residential machine rather than a full fledged commerical extractor. Did it work? Are you pleased with the capability? Would you do it again? Can you wash 1 full set of gear at a time? How long have you had it? Is it holding up?

    As you can see, it's not like the machine would be washing gear 12 hours a day, every day. I would be extremely pleased if everyone would wash the gear at least twice a year, and we all have structual turounts as well as wildland gear.

    Any information provided would be most appreciated.

    Thank You
    Rick Gustad - Chief
    Platte Volunteer Fire Department
    www.plattevfd.com

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    Most of the residential washing machines' warranties would be null and void when put into a firehouse environment.

    The extractors simply do a better job of removing contaminants.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    we currently use a LG model front loader that works great!! the warranty is in effect as normal. ( and yes i checked on it) we have had it for about 2 years now with no problems at all. not sure where you are from but if its PA and you would get "relief" moeny for sayftey and equipemnt.. a washer and dryer are approved purchases through relief. good luck

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    Department Background: we are a small volunteer department with 34 members covering an area of 450+ square miles. A typical year we run 35 or so calls, sometimes as few as 10, sometimes as high as 80.
    We are a small rural volunteer department too. We currently have 24 members. We run about 200 calls per year with 70% of them being EMS first responder.

    We are looking to put a machine in the station to was gear. We have been considering a commercial washer/extractor with a roughly $5,000 price tag. We have also considered purchasing the biggest most heavy duty, super capacity FRONT LOAD residential machine available from maytag, whirlpool, lg etc..., price tag roughly $1,300.
    When we purchased new turnouts almost 3 years ago, we purchased the top of the line Maytag Neptune front loader. A local appliance dealer gave us a decent price of around $1100. It has worked well and given us no problems.

    I am looking for input from some folks who have tried the route of using a less expensive residential machine rather than a full fledged commerical extractor. Did it work? Are you pleased with the capability? Would you do it again? Can you wash 1 full set of gear at a time? How long have you had it? Is it holding up?
    Shells and liners are seperated as per manufacturers directions before washing. We can wash 2 sets of liners with no problem. 2 sets of shells can be washed if they are just stinky or a little dirty. If they are really nasty we only wash 1 set of shells at a time (hose them off outside first). We hang them from a line in the station and turn a fan to blow on them and they are dry the next day. It works very well for us. Given your call volume I think you would be pleased too. If money was no object the commercial version would be the best route but for the cost / benefit in our situatiion, we would do it again.

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    You are supposed to wash your gear????
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Thumbs up Turnout Gear Washing

    Our department purchased a commercial extractor front loading machine in 2000. It will wash 2 sets of either liners or shells at one time, the only drawback is the rpm speed is not that high. Now you can choose the rpm speed when searching for this type of machine. The higher the rpm's the more water will be extracted from the clothing thus decreasing the drying time.

    Personally, I have found better results when using my Whirlpool Duet Front Loading Washer at my house. Turnout gear manufacturers state that the water temp should not exceed 120 degrees and while most water heaters are not set that high. I always wash my gear with Citrosqueeze and on the Whitest White setting on the Duet. My gear comes out cleaner and drier than when using the machine at the department.

    Also, when looking at commercial washing machines the cost will be considerably higher than with residential machines. Don't need to worry about overloading the newer front loading washers, the Duet will wash 22 pairs of jeans at once and you more than likely will not exceed that weight inside the machine with 2 sets of turnouts.

    The Duet machine that I have is the base model with an rpm speed of 950 and does a better job of cleaning. If you have not used Citrosqueeze then I suggest that you purchase this outstanding product. Citrosqueeze is specially designed to remove soot, hydrocarbons and dirt from your turnouts. For heavily soiled outer shells follow these steps and your gear will come out looking new; first soak the outer shells in the hot water not to exceed 120 degrees using 4oz (approx) of Citrosqueeze and let soak for one (1) hour. Second, remove outer shells from soak tub and place directly into washing machine. Do Not Add Additional Citrosqueeze. The remaining Citrosqueeze will be all the detergent you need and you will be amazed by the results.

    Hope that this information will assist you in making a decision, if you would more information, please email me at osh599@yahoo.com.
    Jim Shultz
    Oshtemo Fire Dept
    Fleet Maintenance Specialist

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    Quote Originally Posted by osh599
    Personally, I have found better results when using my Whirlpool Duet Front Loading Washer at my house. Turnout gear manufacturers state that the water temp should not exceed 120 degrees and while most water heaters are not set that high. I always wash my gear with Citrosqueeze and on the Whitest White setting on the Duet. My gear comes out cleaner and drier than when using the machine at the department..

    Say what? Your department lets you wash your gear at home. That is just so wrong on so many levels.

    Just curious, ever heard of OSHA or EPA?
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983
    Say what? Your department lets you wash your gear at home. That is just so wrong on so many levels.

    Just curious, ever heard of OSHA or EPA?
    I agree..

    People, please don't wash your gear in your home washers. You could be exposing your family to, .. who only knows what. If I had no choice at all but to wash it there.. I would leave it dirty... my opinion.

    Our Dept has a contract with a cleaner, and they do our gear every 6 months, needed or not. If you need it done sooner it can be arranged, or we can go down to the academy, and wash it in our Dept extractor.
    http://www.sanantoniofire.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdff1520
    Before anyone goes ape ... I did do a search, and while I found many posts on the subject I never really found the answers I seek.

    Department Background: we are a small volunteer department with 34 members covering an area of 450+ square miles. A typical year we run 35 or so calls, sometimes as few as 10, sometimes as high as 80.

    We are looking to put a machine in the station to was gear. We have been considering a commercial washer/extractor with a roughly $5,000 price tag. We have also considered purchasing the biggest most heavy duty, super capacity FRONT LOAD residential machine available from maytag, whirlpool, lg etc..., price tag roughly $1,300.

    I am looking for input from some folks who have tried the route of using a less expensive residential machine rather than a full fledged commerical extractor. Did it work? Are you pleased with the capability? Would you do it again? Can you wash 1 full set of gear at a time? How long have you had it? Is it holding up?

    As you can see, it's not like the machine would be washing gear 12 hours a day, every day. I would be extremely pleased if everyone would wash the gear at least twice a year, and we all have structual turounts as well as wildland gear.

    Any information provided would be most appreciated.

    Thank You
    I honestly believe that your Dept would be fine with a good heavy duty "home style" washing machine. That's just my opinion though. Take it for what it's worth.
    http://www.sanantoniofire.org

    IACOJ
    Got Crust?

    We lucky few, ... we band of brothers

  10. #10
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    The January edition of Fire Chief has an article on washers:

    "An Issue of Safety: Why Industrial Washers Often Qualify for Grant Dollars"

    Don't know if they have it on-line...
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
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    ..........
    Last edited by NoCoFire; 08-19-2011 at 11:52 PM.

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    Props for your search skills. Thread is over 5 years old...
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