Bath Fire Department First in State to Digitally Track Turnout Gear Cleanliness

Date: June 13, 2019
864 High St
Bath, Maine 04530

Bath, ME (June 13, 2019) – The Bath Fire & Rescue Department has adopted a high-tech solution to protect their firefighters from carcinogens. By adding the “FireLinc” app to its new extractor system, Bath becomes the first department in the state to track detailed information about every wash.

 “In the past few years, cancer has been recognized as one of the major killers of career and volunteer firefighters,” said Bath Fire Chief Lawrence Renaud. In fact, a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, completed in 2015, concluded that firefighters face a 9% increase in cancer diagnosis, and a 14% increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general U.S. population.

 “It’s the fire service’s responsibility to change past practices that have been proven to cause firefighter cancer, like wearing contaminated turnout gear. By lessening the exposure to contamination, we hope to have a positive impact on the post fire service quality of life,” said Renaud.

Bath requires firefighters to clean their gear after severe contamination from a fire where debris or soil is evident. It’s possible, however, that new rulings from National Fire Protection Association will recommend washing whenever a breathing apparatus is used.

Bath’s extractor system, installed in 2018, is designed to clean PPE without damaging the fabric that makes the gear effective. By adding the FireLinc app, the details of wash (like the temperature and length of wash and rinse cycles, for instance) are digitally recorded. In order to use the app, a firefighter scans the barcode on his gear before putting it into the extractor.

 “This system allows us to readily access all turnout gear records to ensure the department is adhering to the department safety standards,” said Renaud.

Additionally, the FireLinc app will provide insurance for the department in the event that a piece of turnout gear fails. If the gear wears out or does not perform to satisfaction, the department will be able to prove that it was cared for according to directions. Hopefully, this will result in lower equipment costs for the department and better protection for firefighters.