Fire-Resistant vs. Fire-Retardant: What’s the Difference?

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Getting burned hurts. There are ways to avoid getting burned, but for many people, working near or with fire is their occupation. Arc flashes and blasts are potential hazards for various jobs, so it’s essential to understand how to protect the body from harm. Although the terms “fire-resistant” and “fire-retardant” seem like they would have the same definition, they do not. If you’re interested in uncovering what the difference is between fire-resistant and fire-retardant, keep reading.


Many people know there’s clothing designed to protect people who work with or near the fire. Essentially, fire-retardant clothes are made with chemicals that help the clothing achieve fire resistance. This clothing can be made of any fabric, and the concern is that this chemical spray can wash off. Fire-retardant clothing is only effective when cleaned properly. However, the chemical spray does limit the fire’s impact on the clothing.


Fire-resistant (FR) clothing can also be referred to as flame-resistant clothing. Fire- or flame-resistant clothing is made from fabric that’s actually resistant to catching on fire. This clothing won’t catch fire near a flame, but it may not protect you if you’re fully engulfed in flames. Fire-resistant clothing extinguishes the fire, rendering it unable to spread to other parts of the body. However, fire-resistant clothing shouldn’t be tested—fires are dangerous whether you’re wearing fire-resistant clothing or not, so you should remain cautious even while wearing it.

FR Clothing

Fire-resistant clothing is a must for anyone exposed to potential workplace hazards. FR clothing protects against arc flashes and blasts. It’s essential to many industries, including the railroad, paint, pharmaceutical, combustible dust, petrochemical, construction, electrical, and utility industries.

FR Outlet offers FR work shirts that meet OSHA 1910, ASTM 1506, and NFPA 70E standards. Also, most of our fire-resistant clothing carries Arc Thermal Performance Values over 8 calories/cm^2 and is HRC 2 compliant. We have a wide selection of FR shirts, pants, and outerwear as well as safety boots, bibs, coveralls, and more. Let us help you meet all your FR needs; give us a call if you have any questions.

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