There are lots of minor differences in meaning, expression or the requirements when it comes to flame-resistant or fire-resistant clothing or apparel. What exactly is fire resistant clothing?
What is Fire Resistant Clothing?
Fire-resistant clothing is a specific category of PPE that protects an individual from harm from fire or flame. In this article, we will be discussing the basic ideas behind fire-resistant clothing. We will be learning the different causes and uses of wearing this sort of attire.
Obviously fire-resistant clothing is worn by those who work in an environment that exposes the worker to risks from fire or flames. Fire Resistant or FR apparel is specifically designed, formulated or manufactured to protect and safeguard the one who is wearing it from potential or probable intermittent flames or fire that is not continuous and limit thermal exposure.
More specifically, FR clothing is a kind of clothing that prohibits the fire or flame to harm the wearer by not allowing the flames to enter or penetrate the material of clothing.
FR clothing has the following features:
- The clothing material has self-extinguishing properties and/or resists “catching fire”, or ignition
- There is no melting or coagulation on to the skin
- It provides effective insulation from heat and high temperatures
As a result of these properties, Fire Resistant clothing resists breakage and exposure of heat to the skin, thereby reducing burn injury and increasing the chances of survival. It also gives the individual ample time to escape the consequences of fire and unsafe or unstable environment in time. Proper fire-resistant clothing can mean the difference between being severely injured or surviving without harm.
Type of thermal risks
There are two primary hazard types that have the highest requirement for FR clothing: flash fire and electric arc flash. In addition, molten metal splash and sparks also produce significant thermal risk.
A flash fire is a sudden, intense fire caused by the ignition of a mixture of air and a dispersed flammable substance such as a solid, flammable or combustible liquid, or a flammable gas. It is characterized by high temperature, short duration, and a rapidly moving flame front. Temperatures can reach 1,000 degrees F to 1,900 degrees F.
An electric arc flash is the passage of substantial electrical current through ionized air, created by an electric fault. The light and heat produced as part of an arc fault typically last less than one second. It generates extremely high radiant heat and temperatures can reach 35,000 degrees F.
Another common risk is that of molten metal splash where the work area has continuous exposure to sparks and splashes from molten metals such as aluminum, iron, etc. Similarly, there are risks in professions that necessitate exposure to sparks such as welding.
We have summarized the basic concepts behind flame resistant clothing and detailed the thermal risks that make adoption of FR clothing a requirement for the safety of workers exposed to such risks.
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