Caring for Your Moisture Barrier with Help from Manufacturer Warranties

by Bob Towe, W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

Since the adoption of NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, fire departments across the country have begun to incorporate the necessary cleaning and inspection of turnout gear into their standard operating procedures. This requires cleaning and inspection for each of the three components of your turnout gear — the outer shell, moisture barrier, and thermal liner. As a firefighter, you can clean and visually inspect the outer shell and thermal liner after each call. Specially trained professionals also perform advanced cleaning and inspection of these components at specified times during the gear’s life cycle.

Moisture barriers are unique in that they are sandwiched between the outer shell and thermal liner, and therefore, can only be inspected by detaching the liner system from the outer shell. In addition to the type of damage that affects the outer shell and thermal liner (e.g., rips, cuts, abrasion, and chemical exposure), the continuous weight/pressure from tools stored in pockets or the placement of SCBA frame can also compromise the moisture barrier. Therefore, all cleaning, inspection, and repairs to the moisture barrier must be done by specially trained personnel or verified independent service providers (ISP’s). Cleaning should be conducted at least on an annual basis, and the first advanced inspection should be performed no more than three years after the date of manufacture.

Moisture barrier manufacturers have provided various product warranties in an effort to support fire departments as they began to comply with NFPA 1851. As a result of its products’ exceptional field performance, W. L. Gore & Associates recently expanded its warranty program covering its line of moisture barriers and liner systems. These new warranties provide coverage for seven years for CROSSTECH® 3-layer moisture barrier, five years for CROSSTECH® black moisture barrier and GORE® PARALLON® liner system’s body-side layer, and four years for GORE® RT7100 moisture barrier. Not only does this new warranty program apply to new purchases, but it is retroactive for existing moisture barriers in the market from their original date of manufacture. Visit to learn more.