Firefighters wear protective clothing that requires separate and extra care when washing or drying. However, when firefighter clothing is not properly maintained, it cannot be used for the entirety of its expected lifetime. The purpose of this study is to identify firefighter clothing management practices and analyze the causes of deterioration during washing and drying processes. This study aimed to derive a method to minimize the impacts to firefighter clothing from laundering without violation of Korean Fire Services Act and to offer a practical method to protect firefighters in dangerous environments. The study determined that afterglow, the cause of degradation of flame retardant performance in the firefighter clothing, was due to residual detergent; the thermal energy of the dryer also contributed a certain amount. However, there was no difference in flame retardant performance when comparing the spin-drying speed (600 rpm vs. 900 rpm). There was also no difference in flame retardant performance even if the number of rinses increased from two to five times because the detergent adsorbed inside the fibers was difficult to remove with repeated rinses. Therefore, lowering the spin-drying speed to minimize damage to the fabric in the case of line-drying, and reducing the exposure to heat in tumble-drying by reducing the amount of residual moisture by increasing spin-drying speed were found to be advantageous in terms of firefighter clothing care. In addition, to reduce the residual detergent, further research on the spin-drying profile, rinse water amount, and rinsing temperature is needed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MOE; Ministry of Education) (No.2018R1D1A 1A02085576).
© 2021, The Korean Fiber Society.
- Afterglow time
- Firefighter clothing
- Flame retardant performance
- Residual detergent
- Washing and drying