Hazmat suits are light and effective safety garments that protect the wearer from dangerous chemicals. They are also easy to store. However, they must be done so in a way that prevents them from being damaged, which can compromise their effectiveness.
How To Store Hazmat Suits
Not all hazmat suits are the same, and some require special care to store properly. This is especially true for especially Level A hazmat suits, which are designed to protect the wearer from the most dangerous chemical exposures.
Hazmat suits need to be properly stored when not in use. Prior to purchasing a hazmat suit, make sure you have a proper place to store it. Hazmat suits are capable of being worn in a wide range of temperatures, but longterm storage in wide temperature swings can cause lasting damage to the material.
Hazmat suits will lasts longer when stored in cool conditions, free of dirt and insects, and not exposed to sunlight. Level A hazmat suits should be stored in temperature-controlled environments and not placed underneath heavy objects that can compress the suit’s material. They should be nearly zipped up with 10 cm remaining at the top.
Recommended Hazmat Suit Storage Conditions
Most hazmat suit manufacturers recommend the suits be stored in room temperatures ranging from 59-77 degrees Farhrenheit. Huditity levels should also not exceed 80%, or drop lower than 20%.
Hazmat suits should not be stored in direct sunlight, near flourescent lamps, air conditioners, electric motors, or any ozone-generating source.
If a hazmat suit is stored or transported in a vehicle, it should be set aside away from any objects that can cause friction or punctures.
Check with the manufacturer’s instruction manual regarding specifically how and where the hazmat suit should be stored.
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Hazmat Suit Storage Bags
Hazmat suits can be stored in dedicated storage bags, plastic bags, boxes, or even hung in a closet. They should always be stored out of direct sunlight and not underneath heavy objects.
You can replace worn or in-effective hazmat bags with specialized storage bags. They include handles that have either red or yellow coloring to identify them as ordinary use or “training only”. Storage bags are oftem made of thick canvas or cordura nylon and include outside pockets.
Hazardous chemical suit bags will also work to store hazmat suits. They will often include space for a respirator and buits as well.
Hazmat suits may include storage bags or original boxes and these should be used to store them in.
Hazmat Suit Storage Locations
Best places to store hazmat suits include:
- In storage closets
- In basements
- In storage lockers
- In cool garages
Make sure to check the garment user manual for specific recommendations on where and how to store the hazmat suit. Avoid storing hazmat suits in closets or next to mechanical objects or tools, heaters, lamps, or sharp objects.
Cleaning Hazmat Suits Prior To Storage
Re-useable hazmat suits will need to be cleaned prior to storing them again. This may require the assistance of a second person to get in and out of the suit and disinfect it.
If a hazmat suit is reuasable, it can be cleaned and stored. Do not reuse a disposable hazmat suit, as they are not designed to be cleaned and reused.
For more information, see our post Are Hazmat Suits Washable?
Inspecting Stored Hazmat Suits
Prior to wearing a hazmat suit, it should be visually inspected for any broken threads, tears, holes, or any other damage that can compromise the suit’s effectiveness. Never wear a hazmat suit that shows visual damage. If there is a damaged suit stored with other hazmat suits or PPE, then make sure to inspect those as well before using.
If you are intending to use a Level A hazmat suit and are unsure if it is safe to wear, you can opt to have it tested. A level A hazmat suit must be able to prevent gasses from entering. So, it must be pass the ASTM F 1052 test for vapor protective suits. To learn more read our post How Are Hazmat Suits Tested?
Hazmat suits that are stored for long periods of time should be checked for their manufacture date. Hazmat suits are usually recommended to be replaced after 5-10 years of unopened storage. For more information see our post When Do Hazmat Suits Expire?
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Storing a hazmat suit should be done in a way that protects it so it can protect you. The wrong hazmat suit or a damaged one can increase significant risk of serious injury to the person wearing it. Always check with the user’s manual on how best to treat and store your hazmat suit.
If you’re in the market to buy a hazmat suit check out our Essential Hazmat Suit Buying Guide here >