Decontamination innovation

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Exploring De-Wipe’s ongoing research and product development that are enhancing decontamination practices in the fire safety industry

Decontamination has never been more vital in the fire sector.

Recent studies have shed light on the alarming risk of cancer among firefighters due to exposure to harmful carcinogens and bacteria found in fires.

The need for quick, effective, and eco-friendly decontamination has led to a renewed focus on innovative solutions.

De-Wipe is at the forefront of this fight, creating scientifically formulated products that not only remove contamination risks but are also 100% biodegradable and cruelty-free.

IFSJ Editor Iain Hoey sat down with Jo Taylor, Director of De-Wipe, to discuss the importance of decontamination.

Why is decontamination a focus for the fire sector?

Decontamination has become a focal point in the fire sector due to growing awareness of the risks associated with carcinogens present in fire situations.

There have been many studies, such as the one conducted by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in 2018, in collaboration with the Fire Brigades Union, that have demonstrated the risk of skin absorption of carcinogens during a fire.

We conducted our own study with a doctor from Manchester Metropolitan University, who had already spent eight years investigating this issue in the USA.

With over 50 worldwide studies that have arrived at the same conclusions, the evidence underscores the very real risks from hazards, leading us to see the importance of addressing these concerns.

It’s great to see the UK Fire and Rescue Services are starting to take this research into account.

What range of decontamination products are on offer from De-Wipe?

Our product range is comprehensive and tailored to various needs.

We offer wipes suitable for hands, face, and other body parts in two sizes: an extra-large single wipe and a large wipe.

The large wipe is also available in a 40-pack flow pack, a popular choice for many, while the single packs are convenient for fire investigators and officers at the scene.

Additionally, we provide equipment wipes that have been tested on major brands like FLIR, Drager, and MSA, targeting the prevention of cross-contamination.

Cleaning is vital, and handling contaminated equipment can transfer toxins back onto your hands.

The growing awareness of cross-contamination is something that we’re addressing with these products.

Our hair and body wash, scientifically proven to remove toxins, has the unexpected yet revolutionary benefit of eliminating the smell of smoke.

This was an unintended outcome, but we’ve received feedback from firefighters that after just one wash, the smoke odour was gone.

This has even led to some firefighters’ partners questioning whether they’d been to work since they come home smelling so fresh.

Finally, we’ve introduced dispensers that complement the hair and body wash.

These can be installed in showers or shower cubicles, making the washing process more convenient and efficient.

Do you have any new decontamination products on offer?

We are currently trialling an equipment wash aimed at cleaning heavily contaminated items like thermal imaging cameras and breathing apparatus.

We’ve been testing it within the construction industry, particularly with companies that clean and hire out breathing apparatus, and the response has been very positive.

This equipment wash will soon be available.

Additionally, we are in the development stages of a laundry wash that can be used both at home and within fire service stations, further expanding our decontamination offerings.

Why is being eco-friendly and derma-approved important to you?

Since our inception, we’ve been committed to sustainability, leading the post-fire decontamination market with a strong environmental consciousness.

We offer the world’s only biodegradable, derma-approved, and alcohol-free product in this space, and we intend to continue this ethical approach with any new products we develop.

Our offerings are not just scientifically and dermatologically tested to be kind to skin, but also environmentally friendly and safe to use on all equipment.

We’ve been certified as derma-approved, showcasing our dedication to values that align with the needs and desires of our customers.

How do you work with manufacturers to ensure efficacy?

Ensuring efficacy in our products begins with rigorous testing. We initially tested the De-Wipes on materials such as EPDM, silicones, composite plastics, carbon fibre, glass, and Perspex to confirm that they were effective without degrading these materials.

We commissioned a scientific study and worked closely with leading manufacturers, providing them with our products for their independent testing and due diligence. The results have been positive.

Not only do our products reduce the risk of cross-contamination, but they also prevent the degradation and damage of expensive operational equipment.

This was initially a significant concern, as substances like alcohol can degrade plastic and rubber over time.

Our carefully formulated products circumvent this issue, ensuring that costly equipment remains functional and intact.

Finally, what’s next for De-Wipe?

De-Wipe is committed to ongoing research and the development of new products, combined with educational initiatives that set us apart.

While we are continually educating, we’re also selling and evolving our product range.

Currently, we are engaged in two significant initiatives.

The first one, a collaboration with Motorola, marks a pivotal milestone for us, having received their endorsement as a global equipment cleaner.

This alliance signifies not only a validation of our product but a promising avenue for future growth.

The second initiative is a partnership in the aviation and airport sector, the details of which are yet to be unveiled.

What we can say is that it promises to be an exciting advancement in the field of decontamination, aligning with our vision of innovation and excellence.

This article was originally published in the September 2023 issue of International Fire & Safety Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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