Many of us probably look at a piece of apparel labeled as fireproof and take the company’s word for it. However, that’s not true of everyone. Some people will question whether the clothing is truly resistant to flames in the way the company claims. There’s no need to wonder anymore. We’re going to go over how testing for fire-resistant clothing works and how well we can trust the results of these tests.
What Does Fire-Resistance Mean?
We’ll start off by saying that these clothes do not make you completely impervious to fire by any means. Fire-resistant clothing exists to make fire less likely to break out on your clothes. There are different levels of fire-resistant clothing, but all of them keep the people wearing these items from getting serious burns and being spontaneously covered in flames.
How Is It Measured?
The two main parts of how testing for fire-resistant clothing works involve figuring out how easily the fabric ignites and how quickly the flames spread after being ignited. The standard testing of the fire-resistant material starts by placing it at a 45-degree angle next to a flame source. The flame is then turned on for one second. If nothing happens, the testers take a record of it, and the fabric moves on. On the other hand, if the fabric does catch fire, the testers let it blaze for about five seconds, then record the data.
There are three main aspects that are taken into consideration after a piece of fire-resistant clothing ignites and is put out:
- Char Length: How far the flame reached on the piece of fabric.
- Afterflame: How long the flame remained after the controlled flame was removed.
- Afterglow: How long the fabric continued to glow after the flames have left.
Once these stats have been recorded over multiple tests, the FR clothing experts give the fabric an arc rating. If the clothing has an arc rating of at least four, it will be suitable for most basic fire-resistance needs. For those needing more extreme coverage, an arc rating of 40 is the goal.
Can We Trust It?
Per the Flammable Fabrics Act of 1954, the United States has enforced a federal flammability standard known as 16 CRF PART 1610. Since then, employees who work near or around flammable objects have been much safer. If you are interested in checking fire-resistant clothing out for yourself, browse our selection of fire-resistant pants. Be sure to let us know what you think of them.