From the iconic firefighters we see rushing into burning buildings to the everyday heroes who work in oil fields and mines, we rely on these men and women to keep us safe. As such, they must wear flame-resistant (FR) clothing when on the job. This personal protective clothing is required in many workplaces involving fire or explosion risks or contact with energized electrical equipment. This article will explore how fire-resistant clothing works and what makes FR different from normal clothes.
What Is FR Clothing?
FR clothing is a type of workwear that protects the wearer from flash and other types of fires. This clothing consists of a particular kind of fabric that is flame resistant, and it’s treated with a chemical that makes it flame resistant. Flame-resistant material is self-extinguishing. Unlike other fabrics, it will not fuel a fire; rather, it prevents the entrance of oxygen through the material.
Occupations that use fire-resistant clothing include:
- Pulp manufacturing
- Electric utility repair
- Maintenance refineries
- Chemical work
How Does Fire Resistant Clothing Work?
FR clothing works by inhibiting heat transfer from the flame to the skin. The material used in FR clothing is designed to burn slower than human skin, which prevents thermal damage and thus reduces any potential burns. Another benefit of FR technology is that it can prevent flames from igniting other flammable materials such as curtains, carpets, and other fabrics in your home or workplace.
Some materials are naturally flame resistant and do not need to be chemically treated to be classified. Like most synthetic materials, it won’t catch on fire as easily. It also means that it won’t melt or drip and stick to the skin, which can happen with other fabrics when they begin to burn. Natural fibers like silk or wool are difficult to ignite. If synthetic materials are used, they are then treated with chemicals to create the barrier.
FR clothing is an essential part of any workplace that deals with fire. Allowing the person valuable time to escape the unsafe situation and limiting bodily damage.