Need PPE maintenance? Here’s what you should know

It would seem like almost any company in the clothing cleaning and alteration business would be a suitable choice to care for your PPE. However, most commercial laundries, drycleaners and industrial laundries are not familiar with the NFPA 1971 standard that establishes the performance requirements for your PPE.

Companies that specialize in the care and maintenance of PPE have developed the knowledge and skill base to effectively clean it and repair it to a safe performance level. You can look to the NFPA 1851 standard for assistance. The standard requires companies that perform major repairs on turnout or proximity gear to be verified through a third party certification organization like UL or Intertek.

Verification ensures companies that maintain NFPA 1971 compliant products have sufficient knowledge and expertise to keep the protective properties of your gear intact. Also, it makes certain they have a quality management system, which means they provide consistent service against established benchmarks. These companies are called Verified Independent Service Providers. Before outsourcing your PPE maintenance, ask the companies that you are evaluating for a copy of their Verification Certificate.

(Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on what you should look for when outsourcing your PPE maintenance).