Wildland Firefighting Personal Protective Clothing Cleaning Practices in the United States

Meredith McQuerry, Elizabeth Easter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cleaning practices of U.S. wildland firefighter personal protective clothing (PPC) are widely unregulated and unknown. Failure to regularly and effectively clean soiled and contaminated PPC may lead to severe health impacts, especially in the long term, as documented in the structural fire service. This study aimed to investigate the current cleaning practices of wildland firefighting gear and to determine the laundering resources wildland firefighters have access to while deployed in the field. This study is the first of its kind to collect such end-user feedback on wildland firefighter PPC cleaning. Findings indicate the majority of wildland firefighters do not isolate their contaminated gear, wash their PPC at home, and frequently transport their gear in personal vehicles, all of which are significant departures from the recommendations of the National Fire Protection Association 1877 Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Wildland Firefighting Protective Clothing and Equipment. Considerations of practicality and feasibility specific to the wildland fire service should be adopted in the standard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1667-1688
Number of pages22
JournalFire Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) NFPA 1877 Task Group, CAL Fire, U.S. Forest Service, and FIERO for their support of this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Cleaning
  • Firefighter
  • NFPA
  • Protective clothing
  • Wildland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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