Ready for the next assignment from head to toe with Schulthess

The Civil Protection department in Uster houses several institutions, including the fire brigade with its 100 volunteer firefighters, the civil protection service and the Riedikon training centre as a field office. Each of them produces a wide variety of laundry items made of many different fabrics and materials. Schulthess has proven itself a reliable partner when it comes to cleaning them.

With effect from 1 January 2011, the fire brigade and civil protection services were amalgamated. At that time, Sacha Zollinger took up his post as commander of the fire operations centre, having joined the Uster fire brigade in 2001. He and his team exceeded the average of 200 assignments per year in 2013 because of the heavy rainfall in spring. Besides fires, the 100-strong brigade has to deal with natural disasters, technical services such as animal rescues, supporting the ambulance service in case of road accidents or acting as a local HAZMAT team on special assignments. “We can’t schedule our assignments, so we need to have access to faultless turnout gear at all times without a major logistical effort. In Schulthess, we have found a reliable partner for that,” says Sacha Zollinger.

The Schulthess machines also face extreme duties

Six other people work alongside Sacha Zollinger in administration, engineering and operations. Lieutenant Thomas Brechbühl, the equipment manager, is one of them. He is responsible for the smooth operation of the two Schulthess machines. The diversity of the fire brigade’s duties is reflected in the variety of equipment that needs to be washed: helmets, boots, leather gloves, plasticised or breathable turnout gear, socks etc.. Schulthess was selected five years ago after an evaluation. “The machines are easy to operate, ready for use at any time, equipped with the necessary special programmes and have never broken down,” says Thomas Brechbühl. The range of contaminants washed out of the materials is striking: dirt, faeces forced from the sewers by floods, blood from road accidents, as well as oil from HAZMAT assignments. The innovative wet-clean and disinfection programmes from Schulthess provide an indispensable and proven service here.

New challenges

One upcoming project for the department is the renewal of the fire brigade’s uniforms: moving away from plasticised fabrics to breathable materials. The correct use of detergent is essential here, as is training by the detergent supplier, because the equipment (shoes, helmet, jacket, trousers and gloves) costs about 2,000 Swiss francs. So the washing and care have to be absolutely right, to maintain optimum protection against all kinds of influences. Which means that the Schulthess Spirit industrial WSI 150 washing machine and the Schulthess Spirit proLine TRI 9375 dryer will continue to perform their reliable duties for a long time to come.

Year of establishment
Uster’s fire brigade and civil protection services were amalgamated on 1 January 2011. The fire brigade itself has existed for several hundred years. 

Special features
Laundry services for other fire brigades in the Zurich highlands

7 permanent employees; approx. 100 firefighters (volunteers) and 300 civil defence officers

Kg of laundry/year
6,500 to 7,000 kg

From ordinary company laundry, civil protection blankets and clothing handed in by civil defence officers to fire brigade uniforms in plasticised and soon exclusively breathable fabrics (from autumn 2013), leather gloves, boots and helmets.

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