When to use

Use these steps to clean a Fire and Emergency appliance or light vehicle during the COVID-19 pandemic.


All personnel.

Before you begin

Ensure you have appropriate PPE.

  • Barrier gloves to protect your hands from the cleaning chemicals, e.g. nitrile, dishwashing or food handling gloves (nitrile gloves preferred if known COVID-19 contamination)
  • Safety glasses/goggles

Use the right cleaning product for the item or surface, as specified in the table below.

Cleaning agent Use this for

Hot water and mild soap solution (e.g. small amount of dishwashing liquid in a bucket of hot water)

Note: Apply this solution with a damp cloth, rather than a spray as there are electrical components in the cab.

  • Vehicle interior hard surfaces, cab floor, internal and external door handles.
  • Seatbelts, upholstery (including seats), general cleaning.
  • Radios and other electronic equipment can be cleaned with a damp cloth, rinsed in water and mild soap solution.
Vehicle wash solution, (car/truck) – or a mild soap solution. Vehicle exterior, focus on locker and cab door handles and pump panel controls.
Disinfectant solution (e.g. 0.1% bleach or >0.05% benzalkonium chloride Cab floor only
Note: Do NOT use on seat belts, or any other vehicle surface.

Mixing chemicals

Never mix different cleaning products together because they can react and give off toxic fumes.

If using a bleach solution, check the original strength of the bleach to confirm dilution required to achieve a 0.1% solution. For example, household bleach contains 2 to 5% of the active (virus killing) ingredient. To make one litre of disinfectant solution you need 40 millilitres or approximately three tablespoons of household bleach per litre of water.


  1. Put on gloves and safety goggles/glasses.
  2. Wipe down door handles with a damp cloth soaked in hot water and mild soap solution, and open all vehicle doors to ventilate for faster drying.
  3. Clean the interior to remove any visible soiling using a damp cloth soaked in hot water and mild soap solution or brushes, before further cleaning.
  4. Wipe down all interior surfaces using a damp cloth soaked in hot water and mild soap solution and allow to dry. Pay attention to parts of the vehicle that personnel may have touched (e.g. steering wheel, gear shifter, park brake, grab handles, door handles, window winders/switches).
    Note: Do not wipe seat belts with anything other than mild soap and water. Ensure there is no residual soap solution left on seat belts by wiping them again using a cloth soaked in clean water.
  5. For specialist appliances, clean any surfaces that may have had contact with anyone, such as workstations in the rear of HCU, pulpit controls and cage controls on aerial appliances.
  6. If using disposable gloves, use the normal glove removal procedure, and discard. There are instructions at the end of this document.
  7. If using reusable gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with the gloves on, (normal hand wash soap and water – 20 seconds), before removing and placing in a suitable location to dry.
    Note: You do not have to use the glove removal procedure for reusable gloves, as you have managed the risk by washing your reusable gloves.
  8. Wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry them thoroughly.
  9. Once cleaned surfaces are dry, the vehicle is ready for use.
  10. If there are additional concerns about clothing after the cleaning is complete, get changed and launder clothing as normal.

Cleaning product sources



Mild soap (e.g. dishwashing liquid)

Supermarket or Fire and Emergency procurement system

Vehicle/truck wash

Hardware or automotive parts stores, or Fire and Emergency procurement system

Bleach (e.g. Janola)

Supermarket or Fire and Emergency procurement system

Other disinfectants

Supermarket or Fire and Emergency procurement system


Not all sanitisers and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. This procedure covers the main products that people can buy from retail outlets. Other active ingredients found in commercial cleaners may be effective, but please check the disinfectant’s specification document.

Purchase products that contain either of the following:

  • At least 0.1% sodium hypochlorite, e.g. household bleach, many bathroom cleaners and certain spray and wipe products
  • At least 0.05% Benzalkonium Chloride e.g. Dettol and similar products.

Information sources

A range of Ministry of Health, St John Ambulance and UK Government sources were used to create this document.

Removing disposable gloves


Document information

File type: PDF

File size: 430 KB


Document Information
Owner Last reviewed Review cycle
Record of amendments
Date Brief description of amendment
2020-04-04 Updated to clarify procedure and PPE
2020-04-04 Initial version

For help or feedback, please contact the technicalwriters@fireandemergency.nz

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