RedLine: NFPA 1851 & Mobile Gear Cleaning

by | Mar 31, 2021

RedLine Gear Cleaning is officially a verified independent service provider (Intertek) and certified  cleaner of firefighter garments (UL) that provides mobile advanced cleanings of PPE in accordance with NFPA 1851 decontamination requirements.

In order to understand the importance of NFPA and the verification process, it is important to know the history of their codes and standards around fire safety.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a nonprofit organization that was founded more than 100 years ago with the mission to eliminate the death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire. The NFPA has published more than 300 consensus codes and standards to help in their effort to minimize the risks associated with the fire service. At RedLine, our business was started to provide the best service for firefighters to remain compliant with NFPA 1851.

NFPA 1851 outlines the standards around selection, care, and maintenance of firefighter turnout gear and equipment and is meant for firefighters, fire departments, third party cleaning and inspection services, and PPE manufacturers. Since the inception of NFPA 1851 in 2001 there have been multiple revisions to the code as technical committee members continue to learn more about the importance of a stringent cleaning and maintenance process.

Firefighters jackets hanging in firehouse

NFPA 1851 went through its last complete revision in 2014 but most recently has seen major changes in regards to the cleaning and decontamination requirements in a 2020 revision.

NFPA 1851 (2020) provides guidelines for a more stringent PPE care and maintenance program, not only for firefighters but also for the individuals or organizations tasked with cleaning the contaminated gear. These changes include new requirements in the process to become a verified ISP like the use of specific cleaning agents, water temperatures, specialized machinery, and a higher level of testing for cleanliness . Chapter 11 of NFPA 1851 outlines the requirements for an individual or organization to become a certified ISP, this chapter contains seven pages of criteria that must be met in order to become verified.

 Today NFPA 1851 requires all fire departments to receive an advanced cleaning of PPE at least every six months, resulting in a minimum of two advanced cleanings per year. As outlined in NFPA 1851, advanced cleanings can only be performed by a certified ISP. The reason for this is to ensure that all gear and equipment is properly decontaminated of all harmful toxins and carcinogens for the health and safety of the firefighter.

 In order for an individual or organization to become a certified ISP, they must meet all the requirements outlined in chapter 11. There are currently two certification organizations (Intertek and UL) that have the capabilities to run and analyze testing based on NFPA 1851’s requirements.

 Because of the strict requirements to become a certified ISP, both Intertek and UL have only certified a handful of companies across the country to clean gear in accordance with NFPA 1851, but of the certified companies, RedLine is the only company to receive certifications from both organizations. 

 Our mission is to provide the best possible service to our clients, our mobile solution allows for a fast and cost effective cleaning service now coupled with certifications from both Intertek and UL we are leading the industry in PPE decontamination.