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Many industries and jobs require protection from fire hazards including oil rigs, farm silos, and electrical power plants. Fires can start instantly under certain conditions and devastate a job site just as quickly. Fires can spread rapidly, leading to destroyed equipment, materials, and, most importantly, endangering lives. Heat and fire-related injuries can become lethal quickly, especially if you’re not wearing the right clothing to protect yourself. PK Safety carries heat and flame resistant clothes from the industry’s most trusted manufacturers and brands.
Flame resistant clothing (also called fire resistant or FR clothing) is safety workwear specially designed to protect the worker wearing it from the hazards related to fire and heat. FR clothing is made of flame-resistant fibers that allow it to resist ignition or quickly self-extinguish if it does catch fire. The fibers also resist melting, tearing, or breaking and are thermally insulated to protect the wearer from heat. Examples of this type of clothing include FR coveralls, FR jackets, FR pants, and FR shirts; they’re all designed to protect workers from head to toe in a variety of workplaces, hazards, and conditions.
With proper care, FR garments can last anywhere from 12 months to four years. Always look at the product manufacturer’s guidelines for care instructions as well as the service life of your garment, and keep track of how old your FR garments are. Some jobs might benefit from disposable FR clothing.
The key to prolonging the life of your FR clothes is diligence in care, use, and storage. Avoid exposing your FR clothing to chemicals like insect repellent, especially DEET, because these chemicals can break down the FR properties of flame resistant clothing. Cleaning your FR clothing once it becomes soiled with significant dirt or grime is also crucial for maintaining its service life. Ensure that wherever your FR clothing is stored is free from pests and moisture. Inspect clothing thoroughly before donning it and while wearing it, especially if there are sharp objects on the work site or other hazards that could damage the gear.
These signs of damage mean that you should remove an FR clothing article from service either temporarily or permanently:
Thin or torn fabric, especially in the joints
Everyday wear and abrasion
Non-functional elements like zippers or buttons
Significant alterations not in the original design or compliant with manufacturer repair instructions
Improperly-fitting garments and/or garments that are uncomfortable
Stains and spots that cleaning can’t remove
FR clothing should be worn at any time when you need to be compliant with the fire safety rules for your industry. If you or your employees work with or near potential electrical or fire hazards, FR clothing is a necessary part of PPE to increase the probability of survival. FR clothing can provide workers in those work environments an extra few seconds of time to escape in the event of an accident, which can make the difference between life and death. Layering articles of FR clothing and making sure there are no gaps is also an important safety measure. If you’re working at heights or in a situation that requires extra equipment like harness kits, make sure those are compliant with the relevant industry standards.
When in doubt, look at the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintaining your garments. However, there are some general rules for maintaining and cleaning FR clothing that are safe to use for all brands. Regardless of whether the fibers in the garment have inherent or treated flame resistant properties, those properties will last through both proper laundering and normal on-the-job wear. You can wash FR clothing in a home washing machine unless it’s soiled with heavy grime or buildup, in which case you should use an industrial machine. Avoid using anti-static or wrinkle-free dryer sheets, fabric softeners, starch, and chlorine bleach during washing and drying.