Let's see if any of you know what we're talking about. Check out the discussion over at FHZ:

http://firehousezen.com/2010/08/27/how-hot-does-a-barrel-fire-have-...

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the useful part of the helmet isn’t the shell, the truly useful part is the space in which you put your head. So while some of our brothers are obsessing over the proper level of carbon on the hard part up there, what would be a better thing to concentrate on is what is filling the hole, when it comes to deciding who is the best person to look up to.

I like the remark and agree. Unfortunately for some, this job is about the look.
The scary thing about this question is, there are probably some waiting for the answer!!
You mean we're not gonna get one?
LMAO...
I have heard of individuals taking a Blow torch to there helmet to apply a more used look ... in my opinion a helmet should be cleaned after every structure fire, along with your bunker gear .... looking cool and dead is not what I want
I'm pretty sure the answer lies in the type of material you are using. For a real pro look, perhaps some roofing materials, while hickory has an undesired effect (bunches of firefighters following you around thinking you are BBQ). And I guess if you work on the west coast, some pine ought to do it.
Oops - Mick, did you read the link to the article prompting the post on here? Perhaps not?

There have been a few threads about this type of thing, from people who unfortunatly believe that 'the look' is all important. Here is a response for them - GET A LIFE. Dirty gear simply makes a person look dirty. Maybe they are dirty, maybe they never clean equipment either?

My PPC doesn't get cleaned after every call, if it is showing the dirt then yes, it gets sent to the cleaner, not if it's only a little soiled. It can take two or more weeks to come back, I have a two sets but don't like being stuck with only the one for minor dirt.

My helmet gets cleaned after almost every call, it only takes a little warm water and soap. It's a little stained, because it was issued to me after someone else had no further use for it (with a new inner of course!) and no matter how much I've cleaned it, the stain stays. I'm quite proud of how I look after my gear.
We used to have guys intentionally burning their gear, even bleaching their blue job shirts so they looked "salty" (pro-tip: new blues + too much bleach randomly applied = brown, splotchy shirt). Just plain silly. By all means we were not religious about cleaning our gear (my old helmet has a 15 year old blotch of roof tar on it) but our safety officer would not tolerate very dirty or damaged gear.

In my new department (which is home-response) we all keep our gear pretty clean, because dirty gear funks up your car! My wife won't even let me in the house with it.
Vic, for another thread here I uploaded photos of my helmet - the shine shows that I look after it. I live alone and I wouldn't let ME inside my house with dirty gear! I bring the wildfire stuff home to wash, but the structural PPC has to go to a commercial cleaner.

Definitely no need for 'crusty' look, if people want to know, my helmet stickers tell the story.
I'm with you on keeping the dirty gear out of the house; but the neighbours have a court order about me stripping and showering in the yard!
Tell your wife that if she wants you to get changed out in the back yard, then she has to as well?
My wife and I both have a rule: No gear in the house. It stays locked up in my truck when I am home, and when I am gone to work I put hers in the car. Keeps the whole house clean, ya know?

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