So, you’ve just started your new industrial job, and the boss asked you to buy a few sets of fire-resistant clothing that you can wear to work every day. But now you’re looking online or in the store and have no idea what you’re looking at. Well, you’re in luck—you’ve found just the blog post to straighten all of this out. Here’s our list of most frequently asked questions before purchasing fire-resistant clothes.
What Do All of These Abbreviations Stand For?
There is a lot of jargon in this industry, which can be hard on newcomers. The number of abbreviations is one of the worst issues by far since you can’t use context clues to figure it out like you can for a standard word. Here’s a list of some of the most common ones:
- FR = Flame-Resistant
- FRC = Flame-Resistant Clothing
- ATPV = Arc Thermal Performance Value
- PPE = Personal Protective Equipment
- NFPA = National Fire Protection Association
What Level of Protection Do I Need?
Unfortunately, we can’t know an exact answer for this one as it depends on your job and how often you’ll be exposed to fire. However, we can tell you that according to NFPA standard 70 E, almost all electrical workers will fall into PPE Category one or two out of the four possible levels, which means that the ATPV needs to be between 4 cal/cm2 and 24 cal/cm2.
This applies to most jobs that have employees near a fire source too, but it depends on the job site and company. When in doubt, it doesn’t hurt to be well protected.
Where Do I Find the Protection Ratings on the Clothing?
If you’re in a store looking at their selection, all the info you need should be on the tag of the article of clothing in question. If you are online, it should be in the product description. This might not always be the case, though. In that situation, ask an employee or call the number on the website to inquire about it. They should have the info you need on file.
What’s the Difference Between All of These Brands?
There are quite a few various brands in this industry, and it can be challenging to figure out what makes each of them different. That’s why this is one of the most frequently asked questions before purchasing fire-resistant clothes.
While many people aren’t familiar with Tecasafe® PLUS because it’s relatively new, it successfully brings together the best qualities of FRC: strength, comfort, and flame-resistance.
Two other brands that some people get mixed up with are Nomex® and CXP Nomex®. Nomex® is a proprietary fiber made by Dupont. On the other hand, CXP Nomex® is made by Milliken and combines Dupont’s fabric with Kevlar to make the material softer while keeping its flame resistance.
Finally, we have Indura® and UltraSoft™. Both use Westex to convert their fabric, but they use different blends of material. Indura® uses 100 percent cotton, while UltraSoft™ uses 88 percent cotton and 12 percent nylon. Both get chemically treated in order to increase their overall flame resistance.
Be sure to check out our selection of FR work shirts in our online store if you’re looking to start or add to your work-based wardrobe.