Commercial Laundry Equipment for Fire Departments

Dirty Gear Isn't Cool, It's Dangerous

Fire deparment market product iconContaminated protective gear exposes firefighters to potentially life-threatening chemicals, biological agents and particulate matter. If not dealt with properly, soiled protective gear can also pass on contaminants to the public at large. The key to limiting a firefighter's exposure to such hazards is proper decontamination of soiled gear which can be laden with life-threatening chemicals, blood, body fluids or particulate matter after a fire, car accident or similar event.
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NFPA Guidelines

The NFPA puts out a set of guidelines for properly washing and drying protective apparel and not all methods and are created equal. A careful approach to cleaning gear is critical to proper decontamination and to maintaining the integrity of the protective fabric. For a summary of how Continental Girbau laundry equipment is compliant with NFPA 1851 and FEMSA Guidelines, please see our gear laundering recommendations sheet.
For a complete listing of guidelines, visit

Commercial Laundry Equipment for Fire Departments
The Best Way to Clean Gear? A Highly Programmable, Soft-mount Commercial Washer & Air Drying

Industry experts agree highly programmable commercial laundry equipment is key to washing fire department gear correctly in order to avoid damage to the gear itself. Fire departments should use washers offering programmable water temperatures and levels, extract speeds, multiple bath options, and automatic chemical (detergent) injection. They should also be able to program multiple wash actions, cylinder rotation options, and wash time. Continental Girbau's laundry equipment effectively removes contamination from protective apparel, which keeps firefighters safe! The front-load washers can automatically inject the right type and quantities of detergents at the appropriate water temperature and level, preventing inconsistent and damaging results.

Hard-Mount & Soft-Mount Continental Washers

Continental offers hard- and soft-mount washers to fit the needs of your fire department. Hard-mount washers must be bolted to a reinforced concrete foundation. Soft-mount washers do not require a reinforced concrete foundation or bolt-down. Soft-mount Continental washers slide easily into place and can be installed in truck bays, utility rooms and storage areas. While installing a soft-mount washer takes less time and costs less, it is generally a higher-priced machine than a hard-mount washer. Both Continental options offer superior programmability, automatic chemical injection and effectively clean turnout gear according to manufacturer recommendations and NFPA guidelines.

Programmability is Key

Fire department gear is costly and should be washed carefully according to manufacturer's guidelines to prevent damage. That means water temperatures and levels, extract speeds, baths and cycle times must be programmable. Using different programs, a fire department can wash a variety of items – turnout suit shells and linings, truck towels, EMS jump suits, and more. Continental’s high-performance commercial washers feature an easy-to-understand programming system with 79 program selections, including 20 pre-programmed options and 59 user-programmable options.

One-Touch Operation

Once programmed, operators simply choose a program number and the machine automatically blends optimum water temperatures, water levels, chemicals, extraction speeds, and cycle time to ensure quality laundering results.

Commercial Gear Dryers for Fire Departments

Continental ExpressDry Gear Dryers are engineered to safely and quickly dry personal protective equipment, including turnout gear, helmets, gloves, boots, face masks, and self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA). The dryer works by blowing a large volume of high-pressure air safely through the garment, drying even hard-to-reach areas. NFPA compliant, the Continental ExpressDry Gear Dryer accommodates up to six turnout suits simultaneously, ensuring firefighter gear is safely dried and returned to service in hours, not days.

Does Your Department Qualify for the Firefighters Grant Program?

Each year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides hundreds of millions in grants to help fire departments better protect their firefighters and the greater public. Hundreds of fire departments each year receive funding for new laundry equipment – essential for decontaminating protective gear. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program assists rural, urban, and suburban fire departments throughout the United States. Funds are used by the nation's firefighters to increase the effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs, new fire apparatus, emergency medical service programs, and fire prevention and safety programs. To find out more about the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, visit

Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG)

Why Do Washer-Extractors Qualify for Grant Dollars?
• NFPA recommends departments clean dirty gear after exposure to fire, body fluids or hazardous materials.
• NFPA prohibits against cleaning gear in home or public laundries.
• Soiled gear can expose firefighters and those they serve to carcinogens, flammables, poisons and biohazards.
• Soiled gear reflects less radiant heat and is more likely to ignite and conduct electricity.

Why Do Gear Dryers Qualify for Grant Dollars?
• Wet gear is dangerous because it can cause steam burns.
• NFPA recommends fire departments dry gear using forced ambient air.
• NFPA recommends to avoid using a mechanical style tumble dryer.
• Storage of wet or damp ensembles promotes growth of mildew and bacteria, which can lead to health concerns and weaken gear.
• Proper drying of gear will help extend the life of the gear.

Learn More

Gear Laundering Equipment

Drying Tumblers

Customer Testimonials

View Case Study: Combating the Hazards of Dirty Gear  04.2014
View Case Study: Clean Gear May Contribute to Longer Life – For You & Your Gear  05.2013
View Case Study: The Soft-mount Washer – When You're Tight on Space & Light on Foundation  04.2012
View Case Study: Smother Cancer Exposure with Clean Gear  02.2012
View Case Study: Clean Gear – Critical to Firefighter Safety  01.2010
View Case Study: Knoxville Fire Dept. brings laundry in-house; saves $40,000 per year  01.2009
View Case Study: An Issue of Safety: Why Industrial Washers Often Qualify for Grant Dollars – Fire Chief  01.2006
View Case Study: Clean Gear Protection Against Disaster – Fire Chief  01.2005
View Case Study: Dirty Gear It's No Badge of Courage – Fire Chief  01.2004
View Case Study: Soiled Gear - Fire Chief  01.2003
View Case Study: Dirty Gear Isn't Cool, It's Dangerous – Fire Chief  01.2002


Gear Laundering for Fire Departments – View the brochure on how gear washers and dryers are designed specifically for fire departments.
NFPA 1851 & FEMSA – Recommendations for Gear Laundering
Grant Writing Info Sheet – Find out why laundry equipment qualifies for AFG grants and how to get started.
Washer Sizing Reference Sheet – Find out what size washer you need.
Contact your nearest distributor to request a quote!

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