Making a case for Preliminary Exposure Reduction (Gross DECON) using DECON7

Reducing cancer as well as creating awareness around the importance of establishing Decontamination protocols in the fire service is at the heart of Emergency DECON Services mission.  As fellow firefighters, we are all aware that the personal protective equipment (PPE) we use to protect us becomes contaminated after structure fires as well as training fire responses.  We also know that there is a direct link between occupational exposure and cancer.  Here are some frightening statistics – According to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses and a 14 percent increase in cancer related deaths compared to the general population.

With this in mind and with the assistance of DECON7, NORTHEAST Hazmat and the West Babylon Fire Department, Emergency DECON Services performed an unscientific field test to measure the merits of using DECON7 vs normal laundry detergent vs simply doing nothing for Preliminary Exposure Reduction at the fire scene.

The key part of this test was to contaminate the gear with similar material samples that a firefighter would be exposed to on the fireground such as: wood, plastic vinyl, gas, turpentine, diesel and home heating fuel.

Testing Overview:

  • Test started at 17:37 hours on October 6, 2020 at the West Babylon Fire Department Training Facility and ended at approximately 18:15 hours
  • Simulated turnout gear being exposed to Fireground Hazards (i.e. wood, plastic, vinyl, gas, turpentine, diesel, home heating fuel).
  • Contaminant & testing location – turnout coat sleeve
  • Sample types:
    • Sample (1) No treatment w/bagging
    • Sample (2) Treatment with D7 BDAS+ Tactical Spray w/bagging
    • Sample (3) Treatment with Standard Laundry Detergent w/bagging
  • Meter used – Multirae Pro w/10.6ev
  • Readings taken in Parts Per Billion (ppb)
  • Measurement samples taken:
    • Immediately after being pulled from burn – 10 minutes
    • After treatment (pre-bagging)
    • Interior of bag after approximately 10 minutes
    • Test location after approximately 10 minutes in bag

Test Results:


In as much that this was not a scientific test conducted in a controlled environment, we hope that it created enough awareness of the increased cancer risks we face as firefighters by not treating our turnout gear on the fireground before bringing it back to the fire station.  In addition, with this test we were able to verify that DECON7’s advanced formulation outperformed standard laundry detergent as well as if we did no treatment at all.  In fact, introducing standard laundry detergent and water resulted in an increase in readings compared to Sample #1 where no treatment to the material was used.

Special Thanks

To representatives from:

About DECON7

The versatility of the D7 formula is truly unmatched in the industry.  This test simulated that when D7 was applied directly to turnout gear on the fireground, the chemical neutralization and detoxification of harmful contaminants started immediately. In fact a recent Independent University study determined Decon7’s advanced D7 Formulation outperformed the manufacturer’s recommended detergent in eliminating Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and Organophosphate Pesticides and Esters (OPE) from turnout gear. D7 not only removed more toxic chemicals, it also performed chemical detoxification, prolonged turnout gear service life, and better maintained the gear’s original integrity.

D7 is not only effective and safe for Preliminary Exposure Reduction (Gross DECON), it is environmentally friendly and leaves no additional environmental load at the fire scene.  It also has low-corrosivity, is nonflammable and has amazing results when being used as Laundry detergent.

Here is an update on the D7 product and the NFPA 1851 2020 standard. A third-party testing Agency recently tested D7 to certify a municipal Independent Service Provider’s (ISP) Advanced Cleaning and Sanitizing procedures. The results of the test certified the ISP to use D7 to launder turnout gear in order to reduce Heavy Metals, Semi-volatile organic compounds, and microorganisms, as outlined in the new NFPA 1851 standard.

Complying with the standard usually takes multiple products and multiple washings. As a result of D7’s unique properties, it is able to decontaminate (clean), detoxify, and disinfect all in one wash with one product. The cumulative test data we have complied creates a distinctive value proposition for D7 concerning and turnout gear washing:

  • D7 saves time and money
  • D7 saves gear and prolongs service life
  • Gear laundered in D7 fares better with water and abrasion resistance testing
  • Gear laundered with D7 shows the largest reduction in chemical contaminants

In conclusion, we can all make a difference by being more proactive in preventing cancer and reducing carcinogen exposure by performing Preliminary Exposure Reduction as well as properly laundering our turnout gear.

As you are aware, the 2020 version of NFPA 1851 standards now require the Fire Departments clean every set of gear they own twice a year and inspected once a year.  However, this can be a significant challenge because many departments are simply not used to or equipped to cleaning turnout gear on a regular basis.

Emergency DECON Services is excited to offer REDLINE Gear Cleaning and Inspection Services to Fire Departments on Long Island. Here’s why:
  • REDLINE’s mobile extraction unit (MEU) is a commercial truck that comes directly to your Firehouse. All cleaning services are conducted on-site and on your schedule. Your firefighter’s turnout gear never has to leave the premises.
  • Our industry leading, proprietary turn-out gear cleaning and inspection service offers a realistic approach to cleaning, disinfecting and decontaminating your Firefighters’ PPE in order to help protect them from secondary exposure to dangerous toxins and carcinogens. All gear including helmets, hoods, jackets, gloves, pants, boots, and hand tools are fully cleaned to NFPA 1851 standards.
  • Each mobile extraction unit is equipped with all necessary equipment to decontaminate, clean and sanitize 20-30 complete sets of gear at a time.
  • We use DECON7 in our cleaning process which is not only a detergent, but also a chemical neutralizer and detoxifier. An independent University study determined that DECON7’s advanced formulation outperformed the manufacturer’s recommended detergent in eliminating Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and Organophosphate Pesticides and Esters (OPE) from turnout gear. D7 not only removed more toxic chemicals, it also performed chemical detoxification, prolonged turnout gear service life and better maintained the gear’s original integrity.
  • All waste water is neutralized during the cleaning process, reclaimed and properly disposed of after each assignment.
  • All turnout gear is inspected pre/post cleaning by our team of trained professionals. A written report is submitted according to NFPA 1851 standards.


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