Manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment Dryers Since 1989

How to Choose the Right Turnout Gear Dryer

Certifications and qualifications to look for when choosing a fire gear dryer

In the past, it was a badge of honor to have dirty and blackened turnouts. The darker your uniform, the more experience the firefighter was thought to have. Recent research has shown that dirty PPE puts firefighters at higher risk of cancer, with as much as a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths compared to the rest of the nation’s general population. That’s enough to make anyone rethink wearing dirty turnout pants around the station.

While many counties now require firefighters to clean their turnout gear on a regular basis, the time it takes to dry gear safely can pose a problem. Tumble dryers and heated drying methods compromise delicate thermal protection required to keep firefighters safe. That’s why Williams Direct Dryers has made it our mission to help first responders dry their gear safely in just hours – not days. Our quick drying times make it possible for you to clean your gear and get back to work quickly.

PPE Dryer Certifications to Look For

There are a lot of factors that place Williams Direct Dryers a league ahead of the competition. Here are just a few certifications that should be included with any new gear dryer purchase for your department:

UL or CSA Approved

Both UL and CSA approval ensure the safety and efficiency of electrical equipment. These certifications indicate that the product in question meets the standards of the testing organization and are safe for consumers to use. UL- or CSA-approved components alone are not enough. Check to make sure that the dryer itself is electronically approved as a system to ensure safe operation. Check on the CSA or UL site to confirm the manufacturer.


NFPA-friendly dryers use forced gently warmed or ambient air only and do not agitate your apparel. This non-tumble drying approach to drying clothes is critical to preserve the integrity of delicate thermal fabric and stitching. Be sure to inspect your uniform regularly to ensure that there are no tears, breaks or gaps in the fabric.

Safe Drying Temperatures

In order to dry PPE safely, your dryer must not exceed 105 degrees Fahrenheit as per NFPA 1851. Your turnout gear dryer should have a mechanism to shut off the heating element as well so you can use ambient air as an energy saving tool. This is important from an energy management standpoint.


Don’t settle for a PPE dryer that only accommodates boots or gloves or coats – choose something that gives you all the functionality you need within one unit. Our PPE dryers have been designed to care for a variety of equipment, from the most delicate fabrics to heavy boots. If you can wear it, we can dry it!


Your dryer should be able to function properly without needing to be washed itself between every use. This is extremely important, as wet gear is thermally unstable and may be unsafe to use if it is damp when you respond to an ensuing incident.

The Right Turnout Gear Dryer for Your Department

To find the right dryer for your department, you should consider a variety of factors:

  • The number of people in your department
  • The type of gear that needs to be cleaned
  • How often gear needs to be cleaned

For optimal contaminant reduction, all turnout gear should really be cleaned thoroughly after every incident or training evolution. This includes commonly-forgotten items like SCBA masks and helmets. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for additional care details.

Williams Direct Dryers’ PPE dryers are capable of drying entire outfits at once. Everything from boots to coats, gloves, masks, and helmets can go on your department’s dryer. This makes it important to order a dryer large enough to accommodate everyone’s gear at once. It is possible for every member of your team to get clean, dry gear after every use. The key is to get the right equipment to help your team stay healthy.

Don’t get lost in a sea of firefighting equipment suppliers; contact a Williams Direct Dryers representative today to learn more about finding the right turnout gear dryer for your department.