Fire Retardant Clothing: What You Need to Know

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fire retardant picOthers will work despite the dangers of fire, heat, cold, or other extreme conditions. And the first layer of protection they would have is the clothes they were wearing or their uniform. Promotional clothing like fire retardant apparel such as jackets and pants, protect a person from fires, flames, and high temperatures. Read on to learn more about this safety apparel.

What is Fire Retardant Clothing–and What It Is Not

When our clients request protective clothing from us, we never fail to specify that the items in our inventory are flame-retardant garments. This is important so that they know the level of protection our promotional safety apparel can provide.

First, we would make clear to them that fire-retardant apparel is not fireproof. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines fire-retardant as "having the ability or tendency to slow up or halt the spread of fire (as by providing insulation)." In the presence of an open flame, fire-retardant clothing is made to self-extinguish. Therefore, it can only protect against intermittent flames, high temperatures, and thermal conditions.

Another thing is fire-retardant is not fire-resistant. Both varieties are, in fact, self-extinguishing, and they burn at an unusually low rate. The process by which they are created is what sets them apart from one another. The term "fire-resistant workwear" refers to garments constructed with materials that are not flammable by nature. The clothing's fibres and threads are what give it its fire resistance.

On the other hand, in order for the fabric of a fire-retardant uniform to be able to extinguish itself, it must first be chemically treated. The same way you would apply an insect repellent on your skin to prevent mosquitoes from biting you.

How Fire-Retardant Clothing Is Made

As we've mentioned above, a fabric must be treated before it can be considered fire retardant. It is either through a coating technique or a chemical dipping technique. The textile industry uses the coating technique to add a retardant coating on the reverse of the fabric. On the contrary, the chemical dipping technique refers to the practise of repeatedly submerging cloth into a chemical solution until the material completely absorbs the substance. Many fabrics can be made fire retardant, but the most common are cotton, polyester, cotton-nylon blends, rayon, nylon, and wool.

Tips On How To Care For Fire Retardant Apparel

In contrast to regular uniforms, fire-retardant clothing requires special care. Remember that the only part of this type of safety clothing that has been treated chemically is its outer surface. Compared to its counterpart, fire-resistant clothing has these properties built-in. Here are some tips on how to maintain the fire retardancy of protective apparel:

  • Before washing it, please read the care label carefully and follow the instructions.
  • Don't wash it with your regular clothes, so the chemicals from the fire-retardant garments don't get on your everyday attire.
  • To preserve the clothing's fire-retardant properties, flip it inside out before washing.
  • Avoid using liquid chlorine, fabric softeners, or non-chlorine bleach.
  • If you need to wash your clothes to eliminate impurities, use only conditioned or soft water.
  • Only use the Normal or Cotton washing cycle at water temperatures up to 60ºC (140ºF).
  • It is OK to use any regular home laundry detergent.

How To Choose Fire-Retardant Workwear

Now that you have a better understanding of what a true fire-retardant clothing item is, we will share with you how to select the best fire-retardant uniform for your company.

  • How often and how much do you or your employees work with fire or things that can catch fire? This question will help you determine how much coverage you require from your outfit. Is a top-and-bottom fire-retardant outfit enough, or should you buy a coverall for maximum protection?
  • Prioritise safety and comfort over style. Hey, you'd be dealing with fire, and you're worried about how your employees will look while wearing a PPE uniform? As a general rule, looser clothes protect you better. So use it as an extra layer of protection on top of regular clothes or uniforms.
  • Ensure that the fire-retardant clothing you intend to purchase complies with all applicable Australian regulations. Regulations like AS4967-2006, AS/NZS ISO 2801:2008, and AS4824-2006.

Wearing fire-retardant clothing minimises the risk of fire or injury in the workplace. When your business is dealing with heat or fire, occupational safety must be your no.1 priority. Additionally, it helps to promote a healthier and more productive workplace since employees who wear high-quality work attire feel secure, at ease, and confident.

Author Profile: Yoshe

Yoshe is a Cubic Promote’s content manager and she has worked with promotional products for almost a decade. Yoshe is full of great product ideas, she knows what's new on the market and how to use promotional products to boost your brand visibility. Visit her on LinkedIn.


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