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What to Wear

First, if you want to participate on the Doane burn crew, you must have attended the Doane Prescribed Burn Class. This class is held every spring a few days before the prescribed burn date.  Look for posting in the Lied Science Building.

What to wear and bring on burn crews.

Fire is hot. In fact, it is really, really hot. What you wear will be the difference between a great day burning and you staying home in your dorm room. Wearing the wrong clothes can easily put you in the hospital for a short, painful stay and worse. Not only can the wrong clothing essentially attack you while you’re on a burn crew, they will fail you when they are needed. Your clothing is part of your gear just as much as your drip torch. You will not be allowed to work with the burn crew if you are wearing improper clothing. So heed this list or you will be staying home. 


Must be Leather. They can be tennis shoes or boots but must be leather. Anything else will run the risk of melting.  As it turns out, your feet will generally experience the least amount of heat. We will be using our feet to press the swatters, and thus your shoes will be exposed to fire.


As long as you have leather shoes your socks do not matter.


Cotton! Cotton! Cotton!  Loose blue jeans work great. Tight blue jeans work but transfer heat more quickly to your skin. Army BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform) are the best. Make sure the BDUs are cotton!  They make synthetic BDUs that keep their press and their color but, they melt under low heat conditions and thus stick to your skin. NO synthetics at all in ANY of your clothing!

Body layer shirt:

Cotton short sleeve. Just a cotton t-shirt will work.

Middle layer shirt: 

This should be a medium-weight cotton long-sleeve shirt. I have found that denim shirts are the best. Long sleeve cotton t-shirts work but are not as durable or insulative as denim.

Outer jacket: 

Cotton! This garment is going to absorb the most heat and take the most abuse. You want a durable denim coat for this job. Carhartt makes several versions that are cheap and durable.  Make sure they are cotton and not synthetic. You can use a lightly insulated jacket in this position too. The insulation protects you from the heat. On cool to mild days I use an insulated jacket.  On hot days I use my un-insulated jacket.


Leather gloves. Welding gloves rock! Thin leather gloves are better than nothing, but thick gloves are the best.


Cotton! Washed at least once. (Washing makes it more flexible.)

Ball cap and or hair tied up:

If you’re worried about your hair put it under a ball cap and or tie it up. People with short hair have little to worry about.

Camera and a good carrying case:

Belt types are best.

Why no synthetics?  

Synthetics have a lot of benefits but their major draw back when it comes to firefighting is their low melting temperature. This melt temperature, while low compared to cotton, is still very hot. Imagine how hot it would be if plastic was melted onto your skin. Chances are it will not only be hot, it will also be on fire.  When it cools it must be peeled and cracked off.  If your skin is intact, this just hurts.  It is impossible if you have actually been burned. So no synthetics!  You will not be allowed to burn if you show up in any synthetic clothing.