Due to the mass use of fire as a heat source for various purposes in multiple sectors the question often arises for owners and workers: Are Fire-resistant fabrics useful?
This article will make sure to answer this frequently asked question. After reading this article you will have a better understanding of not only how this certain fabric functions but also how much is at stake when not using such fabrics.
What are Fire-Resistant Fabrics?
First two before passing judgment on something we must fully understand what it is. In our case, fire-resistant clothing is often worn in the form of overall and coveralls. These are the type of clothing worn by chemical factory workers which cover their body. These are often made from cotton which is a material that burns naturally slower and is easily available. The soft feel of the fabric is comfortable and easy to breathe in while working in hot conditions. Denim is a tough fabric of cotton making it resistant to cuts and heat.
The fibers of the fabric have small spaces between them that allow it to store air between them. This air insulates heat and does not allow the heat to transfer from the cloth to the skin. This insulation can be crucial as it can give enough time to the person to escape from the hazard.
These fabrics can be further treated with chemicals giving them, even more, fire-resistance and allowing even less heat transfer. These chemicals may increase the fire endurance of the fabric but this chemical can easily be removed after several washes. It is better to clean these fabrics as prescribed by the sell-through tags. Most of these chemicals also react with detergent and bleaches so washing them with these things is a better solution to long-lasting flame-resistant fabric.
Why wear Flame-Resistant Fabrics?
By now we have an understanding of how these fabrics function. It should be clear that by not wearing these fabrics if the workers are putting their lives at risk. The constant risk factor involved while working in such industrial sectors is very high. Fire is a common source of heat. Chemicals are often corrosive to the skin which means any drop of these chemicals can also put the people working with them in danger. By not wearing protective fabrics the risk involved is much higher and can even cause deaths.
Human life is very precious and every precaution should be taken to minimize the chance of danger. These fabrics help significantly with lowering the risks involved. The only reason why some owners don’t buy these fabrics is that they don’t want to spend extra money on buying such fabrics. These decisions can be risky because safety rules are enforced by law to make sure that the workers that are working in such factories are provided safety. Even if one person gets hurt it can shut the whole factory down due to lawsuits. So it is better to spend a few bucks on some reusable fabrics rather than deal with millions of dollars of lawsuits.
How to wear Fire-Resistant Fabrics?
These clothing must be worn on top of other clothing so they can provide more protection. Make sure that the layer under the fire-resistant clothing does not contain any fabrics that can melt like nylon. Nylon when in contact with the skin will melt under high heat and damage the skin even more. A soft layer of cotton shirts can be a good option to wear under these fabrics.
Hands should be covered by Fire-resistant gloves because hands are the most probable to get in touch with hot surfaces. The thick gloves will prevent heat transfer from the hot surface to the skin just like while wearing kitchen mittens while taking out a hot tray of cookies. It would be better if the sleeves of the coveralls have elastic at the end so no skin is exposed. This will ensure that all the skin is under the protection of the fire-resistant material.
Just like we discussed above that the fabrics might have a chemical coating on them, we must know how to properly take of this fabric accordingly. Using warm water can damage the fibers of the fabric and rinse off even more of the chemical coating so it is important to use room temperature water to wash them. Fabric softener will also affect the durability of the fabric over time as it will break the molecules of the fabric due to its high pH.
It can be hard to choose the right type of fabric. An easy way of choosing a good protective fabric is by looking at the certifications of the fabric. Every protective fabric goes through a series of test and only if the fabric passes it is allowed to be sold. If the company selling the fabric is certified then the fabric can be worn and bought.