Spring cleaning at the station: Simple steps for firefighters
From the common areas to personal spaces, it’s time to declutter and clean up
Spring is here, my friends. We hear the birds start to sing, see the flowers begin to bloom and feel the weather finally warm.
For many, the start of spring is a signal to refresh our surroundings, purge what we no longer need and generally clean up our act. There’s no reason this can’t apply to the fire station as well.
Now is the time to finish those cleaning projects that we have either forgotten about or avoided over the past year. With that in mind, here are some recommendations for both personal and firehouse spring cleaning projects.
Let’s start with the firehouse
There are several simple steps you can take to freshen up the station.
Fresh air: First things first, open those windows and doors, and let the fresh air in – that is, unless you live in Pollen USA, like me. In that case, you may have to wait until spring passes. But for the rest of you, there’s no excuse. Let the fresh air in!
Mattresses, recliners and chairs: Let us begin by tackling those bunk room mattresses, dayroom recliners and kitchen chairs. These three vital pieces of furniture have been used by several of your fellow members over the past year. It’s time to break out the Lysol and the steam cleaners to freshen everything up. If you have mattresses that can be flipped or rotated, I’d recommend doing that as well in order to extend the life of our faithful companion of rest.
Station exterior: Let’s revitalize the walls of the firehouse with either a fresh coat of paint or some pressure washing of the exterior. The walls have likely gathered some filth and grime over the winter. Like is the case with our own homes, the spring is a great time to pressure wash the exterior walls and concrete pads. Make sure to include the station’s windows, too!
Apparatus bay: Don’t forget to give some TLC to the apparatus bay floors. Our fire apparatus have been tracking in the mud, dirt, slush and snow over the last few months. It would be wise of us to tackle these floors – and even the walls – of the apparatus bay. Don’t overlook the supply closets and turnout gear rooms that can benefit from having the cobwebs removed in time for the nicer weather ahead.
Even our beloved fire apparatus would love a spring detail. Take the time to tilt up those cabs to degrease the engine bays. Remove that equipment from the compartments for that deep cleaning, and you better knock the rust off of those tools.
Dayrooms: Have you always wanted to change the dayroom’s color? Now is the best time to start the project with some of your other coworkers while the weather is breaking and your motivation is high.
Organization time: Many of us in the fire service are self-proclaimed packrats. We love to keep items in our desk drawers, filing cabinets and shelves – forever. Like Doug’s TV. Doug has been gone for 15 years, but his old TV is still here sitting in the corner of the office, only serving as a dust-collecting reminder of Doug’s glory days with the fire department. What’s your version of Doug’s TV? Spring is the time to declutter our offices, living spaces and desks, and to finally say goodbye to Doug’s TV. Someone else could use it, so drop it at the local Goodwill and consider how to better use that space.
Much of our station spring-cleaning will be a group effort that tackles shared spaces, but we can’t forget to clean our personal areas and items as well.
Lockers: Personal lockers are the catch-all for free tradeshow magazines, old uniforms and boots. As we declutter the station, we need to open up our lockers and get rid of the things we no longer need.
Bedding: Let’s also take this opportunity to wash our station bedding. This needs to be done more than once a year, but hey, we all know those people who don’t.
Bags: Some other items that are often ignored include our work or turnout gear bags and SCBA mask bags. We forget to clean these items as often as we should. We have done a better job of recognizing the need to clean our turnout gear and SCBA facepiece, but how many of us also clean the bags that store and carry these items?
Now get cleaning!
Spring is a reminder for all of us to clean these essential items – ideally on a more regular basis.
What are your spring-cleaning recommendations or items to hit?