Protective Clothing for Bushfires

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - February 10, 2015: Volunteer fire fighters from the North Warrandyte brigade of the Country Fire Authority practicing by the Yarra River in Warrandyte, with Isuzu fire trucks.
Volunteer fire fighters from the North Warrandyte brigade

Bushfires can cause a number of injuries including burns, smoke inhalation and damage to the eyes from smoke or floating embers.

Having protective clothing ready for bushfire season will help you reduce your risk of injury, particularly if you choose to stay and defend your home.

Main bushfire factors that cause injuries

  • Falls from roofs
  • Smoke
  • Flames
  • Sparks
  • Embers
  • Extreme heat

Protective clothing

The NSW RFS advises that you should avoid clothes made from synthetic fibres because they are likely to melt and burn. Instead the most suitable choice is loose fitting clothing made from natural fibres.

The materials that are best for protecting you from bushfire injury include:

  • Heavy cotton drill
  • Pure wool
  • Denim

Your protective clothing set should include

  • Heavy cotton pants such as denim jeans, oil-free drill pants or heavy cotton pants.
  • Long-sleeved shirt (made out of natural fibres such as cotton or wool).
  • A pair of thick woollen or cotton socks.
  • Durable leather work boots or shoes.
  • A wide-brimmed hat or hard hat (this can help protect you against floating embers).
  • Glasses or goggles to protect your eyes against smoke, embers and debris in the air.
  • Gardening gloves or something similar.
  • A mask or non-synthetic cloth to filter smoke, ash and embers so you don’t inhale them through your mouth or nose.

Having protective clothing ready for bushfire season is essential, particularly if you are choosing to defend your home when the fire danger is less than extreme (if higher you should evacuate). You should also be well aware of Australia Bushfire First Aid Tips.

For more information about bushfire preparation read the NSW RFS Bush Fire Survival Plan.

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