They never clean it. Never. Period. Add to that the fact that the majority are volunteers, and all drive pick ups or SUV's to carry their equipment 'at the ready' in said trucks, and you have a potentially stinky situation. Evidently the smokier and soot filled the equipment is denotes just how many fires the individual has worked, hence the soot is a status symbol.
Now this stuff is definately not up to NAVY standards to say the least....... :}
Unlike my former co-workers it was time for my equipment to have a bath....
I was surprised at how blue it seems after being packed away all winter.