For professionals in certain fields, the risk or even the certainty of exposure to fire is “just” part of a day’s work. Firefighters, power-industry field technicians, laboratory researchers… -All undergo rigorous training in safety protocol for every contingency anticipatable in their respective contexts. Without the proper attire, however, skill and experience can prove woefully insufficient in a dangerous situation.
Here we’ll be examining the basics of flame-resistant personal protective equipment (PPE)—often abbreviated FR. Read along to learn about the design, functionality and usage of this highly impressive hi-tech gear.
What Exactly Are Flame-Resistant Uniforms?
FR is tailor-made to minimize the risk to any given worker should they come into close proximity—or even direct contact—with flame. The fabric is primarily synthetic in makeup (Kevlar being a common example), but may also utilize organic materials with naturally high immolation tolerance (-among these, perhaps surprisingly, is cotton). The outerwear is designed primarily to withstand catching fire despite extreme temperatures and/or combustive impact.
Note that while this clothing provides incredible resistance to flame, it would be a mistake to consider it fireproof. However, if extensive time in extraordinary heat does eventually cause FR to ignite, it won’t melt, and quickly stops burning in the heat source’s absence; this greatly enhances the wearer’s chance to escape with minimal injuries, whereas “non-FR” essentially becomes kindling upon ignition, not just “incidentally” charring as it burns but also melting into flesh.
-And, of course, standard clothing will “break” apart almost immediately wherever flames make impact, leaving body parts exposed and vulnerable to any number of simultaneous hazards. FR is specially constructed to stay intact, -to literally not crack, in drastic conditions.
A wide range of FR is commercially available, categorized according maximum potential flame resistance—or, per industry parlance, the lab-assessed/-designated “Arc Thermal Protective Value.” This is numerical value simplifies the process of purchasing appropriate FR for one’s intended use.
Single-digit ATPVs, for instance, would be laboratory-approved for relatively lower-hazard scenarios; a rating of greater than 40, on the other hand, would indicate FR made for the highest conceivable degree of risk.
Note that some garments are sold as “flame resistant”—owing to (e.g.) the presence of certain fibers—but not lab-tested for the assignation of an ATPV. Be sure to thoroughly vet all FR items for quality assurance, especially if the price tag seems conspicuously low.
Popular Flame-Resistant Garment Selections
- Overalls and coveralls
- Hi-vis jackets/vests
- Lab coats
- Face coverings and headwraps
- Jeans, tees, sweatshirts…
As for that final bullet point: yes, customizable FR-wear to flaunt your personal fashion sense (or an organization’s desired aesthetic) is now possible! But… these tend to offer a fairly low degree of protection, and are best worn as one among multiple fire-resistant layers.
Uniform Services from Ace Uniform
To give your business a clean, professional, and cohesive look, rely on Ace Uniform. Whether you need uniforms in the food, automotive, industrial, construction, medical, security, or you-name-it industry, we can provide you with the uniforms you need for the price you want. We can also supply your business with high-quality mats and towels. On top of that, Ace offers facility services that can help keep your business place clean and safe. Give us a call at 1-800-366-1616 or visit us online to learn how we can help meet your needs. Want to get to know us even better? Visit us on social media on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.