Fire-resistant clothing is not just for firefighters. It is a vital piece of equipment for any industry that deals with heat, flame, or fire hazards. Many businesses use FR clothing in their day-to-day operations but don’t fully understand the science behind FR clothing. Learn why it’s vital here.
What is FR Clothing?
FR clothing is clothing that has been treated with fire-resistant chemicals. FR clothing can be made of many different materials. However, it must be made in a way that will protect the wearer if they are exposed to fires or flames.
These fibers are woven into clothing items such as shirts, pants, jackets, and more. The idea is that the fabric won’t ignite if your clothes catch fire. Instead, it will protect you long enough to allow you to escape the situation. There are mistakes to avoid when wearing FR clothing, as it must be worn properly to function properly.
How Does it Work?
When you think of FR clothing, you might assume that using chemicals is the only way to achieve this protection. The fabric of this type of clothing determines its level of protection. Most FR clothing is made with nylon, rayon, or polyester. These fabrics are good at insulating heat, making them ideal for use in extreme conditions. FR clothing can be made with inherently fire-resistant fabrics, or it can be treated with chemicals.
Phosphorous-based flame retardants are used because the fabric decomposes into gaseous fuel when it reacts to the flame. These agents create a solid char that consumes the gaseous molecules, depriving the fire of what it needs to thrive. Additionally, it creates a barrier between the fabric and the flames, preventing further breakdown and fuel release.
Other methods include using chlorine-based compounds that deprive the fire of the chemical reaction needed to maintain a fire. You can also use high-temperature fabrics that don’t break down under extreme heat.
Why is FR Clothing Vital?
We know many workers get injured on the job when their clothing ignites while working on equipment or machinery. FR clothing protects against heat, flames, and fire. It’s necessary for a wide variety of industries, including construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas.
FR jackets, pants, hoodies, gloves, and coveralls can protect against fires and prevent burns during welding or other high-temperature processes. There is even a need for FR safety working with laser technology.
Workers and safety managers can benefit from understanding the science behind FR clothing and why it is vital. Armed with this information, the PPE industry can provide workers with the best-possible FR options. Subsequently, workers can make the most informed decision about which garments best suit their needs.