What you should look for in a dryer
- The dryer needs to be electrically inspected and approved by either UL or CSA. Just having the components marked as such will not suffice. The dryer must be electrically approved as a system to ensure its safe operation.
- The dryer needs to be NFPA friendly. In other words, the dryer must use forced air only and not mechanically agitate the apparel. (ie not a tumble style) This non mechanical means of drying is referred to as direct drying.
- The dryer’s warmed air must not exceed 105 degrees F as per NFPA 1851. The dryer should have a mechanism to shut off the heating element, using only ambient air to dry. This is important from an energy management standpoint (conservation) and ensures the safe operation of the dryer at higher ambient air temperatures when used in non air-conditioned locations.
- The dryer should be able to dry gear out between incidents and after training evolutions without having to be washed first. This is extremely important as wet gear is thermally unstable and may be unsafe to use at an ensuing incident. Also, regularly drying gear improves the overall life of the gear and greatly reduces the bacterial load in the apparel. It is also lighter, reducing weight and reducing the overall workload of the already heavily laden firefighter.