As a construction worker or emergency responder, you know how important it is to wear protective clothing. If you work in an environment with a risk of fire, heat, or flames, you need clothing to keep you safe. What makes fibers fire-resistant? We'll explore the process of making fire-resistant (FR) clothes so you have the information you need to stay safe on the job.
How does fire-resistant clothing work? The secret to these clothes is the inherent or treated fiber that makes up the fabric. Some fibers, such as aramid and modacrylic, are naturally fire-resistant. They’re ideal for making clothing last longer and resist the breakdowns that standard materials endure when exposed to fire.
Because modacrylics and aramids are inherently resistant to fire, they do not need treatment or dyeing. Nomex is an aramid fiber common in FR fabrics that doesn't melt or drip when exposed to high heat. Kevlar is also an aramid fiber in bullet-resistant jackets and other protective gear, and its heat resistance makes it ideal for FR clothing.
To create flame-resistant clothes, manufacturers apply fire-resistant coatings to materials like cotton. These coatings must be carefully preserved for the fabric to maintain its unique properties.
The most common flame retardant chemicals are boric acid and borax. The chemicals either delay or prohibit combustion when exposed to fire, but they do not completely prevent burning. Stay aware of your surroundings when working in environments with a risk of flames, and wear flame-resistant clothing, such as FR shirts.
Finding the Best Materials
Not all FR clothing is created equal. Some garments are more protective than others against heat, flame, and arc flashes. First, it's essential to check that the clothing you're considering purchasing meets NFPA 2112 and NFPA 70E standards to ensure it will provide adequate protection.
Find clothing with high-quality synthetic fibers, like Nomex or Kevlar, and reinforced stitching and seams. These garments are resistant to tearing and deteriorating when exposed to a fire. Finally, consider the reputation of the brand or manufacturer before buying FR clothing. Look for companies with a track record of producing high-quality, reliable FR clothing, and avoid companies with a history of product issues or recalls.
Make Safety a Top Priority
Manufacturing clothes with fire-resistant properties involves incorporating different techniques and materials so the fabric resists flames, heat, and sparks. Both inherent and treated fibers can make flame-resistant fabric, so FR clothing can provide protection in different work environments.
Knowing how they make clothes fire-resistant will help you stay safe and invest in good-quality gear for your job.