Flame Resistant Clothing for Beginners

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In the midst of certain occupations and tasks, one is vulnerable to the ill effects of fire. In order to stay safe while performing these tasks, a number of precautions must be taken. Perhaps the primary precaution to take is to wear clothes that don’t easily catch fire. Fortunately, there is clothing designed to suit this very purpose: flame resistant clothing.

What is flame resistant clothing?

To put it simply, flame resistant clothing is clothing designed to resist fire. Normal clothing is made out of materials like cotton and nylon which can easily catch on fire if surrounded by flames or sparks. Flame resistant clothing can be made out of these materials as well, but is treated chemically in order to repel fire. There are, in general, two different types of flame resistant clothing:

Inherent

Inherent flame resistant clothing is made out of materials which are inherently flame resistant. These materials are synthetically-made and will typically last longer than will treated materials. The most popular inherent flame resistant material is called Nomex. It’s the material used in the clothing of firefighters.

Treated

Treated flame resistant clothing is essentially a typical piece of clothing which has been sprayed or covered in a flame resistant chemical. While this type of clothing is usually cheaper than inherent flame resistant clothing, it’s also less durable. This is because, over time, the flame resistant chemical will slowly wear out of the fabric.

How does flame resistant clothing protect you?

By wearing flame resistant clothing around open fires, potentially sparking objects, and other flaming items, you will keep your body protected. Of course, to do this, you must ensure that your clothing is covering your entire body. Wearing a short sleeved flame resistant shirt isn’t going to do any good for your forearms.

Just because you’re wearing flame resistant clothing doesn’t mean that you should just walk straight into a flaming object. This clothing is designed for precautionary reasons, protecting you from fire incidents which might arise. It’s not designed to make you invincible against all fire.

Who should wear flame resistant clothing?

There are a number of different types of people who should wear flame resistant clothing. Some are encouraged to wear it, and some are required to wear it. Occupations in which flame resistant clothing is required include electricians, utility linemen, refinery workers, chemical workers, and the like.

Essentially anyone who works around electricity or dangerous chemicals is required by the OHSA to wear flame resistant clothing. Even if you are not required to wear flame resistant clothing for your occupation, you might want to consider it. If you ever run into situations in which you are vulnerable to fire, it is suggested that you wear flame resistant clothing.

What dangers does flame resistant clothing protect you from?

In general, there are two different types of flame resistant clothing. These types of clothing include ARC clothing and Flame Resistant clothing. Each different type of clothing is designed to protect you from different elements. First let’s talk about ARC clothing. Then, we’ll discuss Flame Resistant clothing.

ARC Clothing

While all ARC rated clothing is flame resistant, not all flame resistant clothing is ARC rated. ARC clothing comes with a rating called an ARC rating. This rating is created to tell you how protective a particular piece of clothing is. ARC clothing is designed to protect you against flash fires, electrical ARCs from circuit breakers and generators, and any other potential fire starts you might run into during your line of work.

Flame Resistant Clothing

Flame resistant clothing can be just as protective as ARC clothing, but is truly only designed to protect you in flash fires. It possesses no rating, and so can’t be objectively described to protect against certain severities of potentially flaming materials.


How should flame resistant clothing be washed?

Typically, flame resistant clothing should not be washed at home in a typical washer and dryer. It’s made out of materials which are sensitive to water and heavy washing. However, if need be, it can be washed at home. If you’re going to wash it at home, it’s recommended that you turn it inside out, and that you wash it separately from the rest of your clothing. Flame resistant clothing should not be washed with natural soaps, bleaches, or with fabric softeners.

It’s highly recommended that you have your flame resistant clothing professionally washed. Professional industrial clothing cleaners and dry cleaners know exactly what to do to ensure that your clothing is both clean, and uncompromised.

Wearing the right flame resistant clothing can save you from from some dangerous, and sometimes even fatal situations. If you work in a profession in which you’re often around electricity or chemicals. It’s recommended that you wear flame resistant clothing. Don’t leave your safety up to chance. Don’t get injured while at work. Consider purchasing flame resistant clothing as an investment in your overall health.

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