If you have never shopped for flame-resistant clothing, there are a few points that might initially need a little clarification. How are the garments supposed to fit? Are there any special considerations you need to be aware of? Is FR clothing different for men and women?
To help you address some of these specific concerns, we’re going to break them down into easy sections.
When it comes to FR clothing, the rule of thumb is that a looser fit offers more protection. When a garment is looser, there is an added layer of air between you and the garment, providing extra insulation against the heat or flames that you may encounter while wearing the clothing. If you wear skintight flame-resistant garments, the flames will be almost directly up against your skin. Even with the clothing as a protective layer, it’s safer to allow this air cushion between your skin and the fabric.
However, you should not take this as an invitation to buy the baggiest and loosest-fitting clothing you can find. While this might initially seem like a good idea, it could very likely lead to disaster. It’s important to remember baggy clothing can easily snag on surrounding objects and hazards, trapping you and leaving you immobile, or ripping and leaving you vulnerable to environmental hazards.
The best solution is to find an in-between fit. Your clothing should be neither form-fitting nor baggy. It should have a slightly loose fit, but shouldn’t hang off your body so much that it is at risk for catching on nearby objects.
When buying flame-resistant clothing, keep in mind that, like most clothing, it will shrink a little bit during the first few washings. With this concern in mind, you may want to buy a slightly bigger size than you ordinarily would so the garment has room to shrink down to the correct size.
Some FR manufacturers make specific designs targeted at women, while others do not.
If you are a woman, you are certainly welcome to buy designs that are specifically targeted at women, but there is no special need to. The purpose of flame-resistant garments is to provide protection, and this function works in exactly the same way whether the clothing is designed for a man or a woman. Because of this and because of the slightly loose-fitting nature of these garments, many FR clothing designs are gender-neutral.
In most cases, your company will provide specific instructions about what you need to purchase. For example, they will tell you if you need primary or secondary protection. They will also tell you which specific garments you need to buy and wear.
Another important thing to look for is a good fit, which we discussed earlier. Remember to buy articles of clothing that are loose-fitting without being excessively baggy, and to leave room for the clothes to shrink slightly.
One additional thing to be aware of is the manufacturer you choose to buy from. Every manufacturer will likely have a different selection of fabrics and styles. The clothing quality may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, as well as factors like price, various guarantees and the quality-control process. Take all these aspects into account when you decide which company to purchase from.
PREVIOUS POSTFlame Retardant Fabric Knowledge