Fire officers run a sharply increased risk of cancer; everyone knows this by now. During the performance of their work, they are exposed to toxic substances more frequently than anyone. In the past 10 years, we have learned a great deal more about the nature of this problem, thanks to research by both government institutions and private companies.
Unfortunately, these efforts have not yet led to adequate solutions for the people on the spot: fire officers are still just as vulnerable to toxic substances as they were before and they continue to take risks, often with fatal consequences.
Decontex NV aims to change that. Together with the Christeyns and Electrolux companies, it has created a system that cleans fire service uniforms after every intervention, significantly reducing the exposure to toxic particles.
In the first phase of this DECO2FIRE system, contaminated uniforms are collected from the fire service and taken to the decontamination centre by a specialised transport service.
At the centre, the uniforms are assigned a radio frequency identification (RFID) code, which enables the centre to track their decontamination cycle with the aid of specialised software. All possible information on the uniforms is saved in an accompanying logbook.
Decontex then applies a unique procedure in which all the uniforms are cleaned with the aid of liquid CO2. Liquid CO2 penetrates into the deepest fibres of the exposed textiles, loosening and removing the most harmful and toxic particles. The entire procedure takes about 72 hours to complete.
With this brand new application, with sound scientific support, Decontex aims to make a contribution towards improved safety for fire officers.