Flame Resistant Clothing is fundamental for any worker in any industry and offers protection against fire hazards that are bound to come up. From the equipment, electric circuits to spillage of fire causing fluids such as diesel, are sources of dangerous fires in the industrial world. These hazards are essential parts of the industry hence cannot be done away with, but what is vital is to ensure that everybody working within the precincts of such an industry should equip himself or herself with the right f r clothing.
How Do They Work?
Fire retardant clothing has been treated to reduce the flammability of materials in two ways by either blocking of the flames/sparks physically and/or by initiating a chemical reaction to stop the flames form injuring the worker. Fire Resistant Clothing is made of flame resistant fabrics that are chemically treated to make them resistant to fires or flames. This, however, does not mean that they are fireproof, it just means that the fibres in the clothing will burn but at a much slower rate than conventional clothing. The fabric can be damaged or destroyed by fire if exposed to high temperatures for a long time. The charring effect of the fabric makes the fabric an inferior source of fuel since it does not support combustion.
Limitations of Fire Retardant Clothing
As observed above the F R clothing is not fireproof, it is also does not protect you from smoke, heat as well as flames. Understanding the limitations of this clothing is a requirement for the proper usage of any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in order to mitigate effects of heat or fire disasters.
This industrial apparel will in no way protect you from smoke inhalation; therefore, it is vital to use it along with a self-contained breathing unit that will protect your eyes and lungs. Actually, no clothing is available to protect you from soaring temperatures of thousands of degrees.
Another limitation of Flame Retardant Clothing, is that its durability and performance is directly related to the type of materials, quality, and the frequency of exposure to heat. For this reason, it should be safe to use for 1 to 5 years when used under normal conditions. The PPE clothing should be replaced immediately it is damaged beyond repair or when thinning of the material starts occurring, as well as when it is contaminated by flammable substances that cannot be removed. This is possible if the garment is not cleaned properly and on a regular basis which leads to the combustible debris building up.
The Protection Process
The flame resistant clothing protects from you from the fire through two processes; the physical and chemical. The physical process includes cooling the material (this is done through a chemical process), formation of a protective layer that prevents the material under from igniting, and by dilution where it releases water and/or carbon dioxide when burning. Chemical actions include retardants that are able to melt away flowing away from the fire, char formation that makes the material hard to burn, and intumescent.
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