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Library Card

Petrilli, Tony . 2008. Tests of Undergarments Exposed to Fire. 0851 2348P. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Missoula Technology and Development Center.

Some wildland firefighters have been tempted to wear synthetic undergarments that wick moisture rather than undergarments made of cotton, wool, or other flame-resistant materials approved for firefighters. The Missoula Technology and Development Center worked with the University of Alberta's Flash Fire Facility to test undergarments made of cotton or wool (both approved for firefighters) and silk, polyester, polypropylene, and Under Armour. Tests showed that firefighters wearing synthetic undergarments would be more likely to suffer burn injuries because the synthetic materials might melt and stick to their skin. The 100-percent cotton and 100-percent wool undergarments did not ignite, melt, or char during testing.

A video clip showing the flame engulfment and radiant exposure tests is available at

Keywords: clothing, cotton, fabrics, fire fighting, firefighting, laboratory tests, nylon, polyester, polypropylene, safety at work, silk, undershirts, underwear, wool


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