Who needs fire protective clothing other than the obvious firefighter? There are many occupations that require safety gear to keep the danger of fire out of the equation. While some industries like your local cleaning service or caterer can get away with normal clothing on the job, welders, race car drivers, utility field workers, combat personnel and other high risk industries require fire resistant outerwear for protection.
The need to be safe is obvious, but the best way to approach safety is a case by case study. Depending on the work at hand there are numerous choices in fire resistant clothing. In most cases it needs to be lightweight and flexible. It has to breath, but not be so porous that it looses its integrity. In some instances it has to be fashionable.
The oil and gas industry is booming here in the US at present, and safety always comes first. The rigs are hot, dirty and dangerous requiring all systems to be treated with the highest of protocols. That includes dressing for protection. With highly inflammable conditions within a few missteps on any job, the men need to know their clothing will act as another barrier of safety.
At the same time they do not need to be hampered by bulk or inflexibility along with the need to ventilate, and very importantly – be comfortable. A popular brand is DriFire among oil and gas teams. The clothing won’s melt or drip like a polyester and although cotton is comfortable and cool it is highly flammable and offers no protection. Self extinguishing fibers keep flames from spreading. Wicking technology helps keep workers cool in hot weather conditions and many of the garments offered through DriFire come with built in odor control. Fire protection clothing has come a long way!
Closer to home we need to be vigilant with fire clothing and other items for our children. While we make every effort to initiate good choices we want to be certain that if a little one is put in danger it isn’t because of the clothing or blankets or toys we have given them. Pajamas and blankets have been especially suspect in the past, but now the regulations set by the US Product Safety Commission protects the consumer to every degree.
There is a Federal standard for children’s pajamas that states they must be labeled “flame resistant”. Parents need to look for an ID code on the label so in the event of a recall the piece can be tracked. When washing pajamas and blankets it’s suggested that you avoid fabric softeners since this small, but important step retains the flame resistant properties. This brings up the topic of whether flame retardant chemicals are safe for our children to sleep in. More and more parents are choosing to forego the chemically treated petroleum based fire resistant clothing for more natural fibers.
Another point is to purchase tight fitting sleepwear for the young ones since it isn’t as likely to catch fire as a loose fitting garment. Parents need to be ever diligent, and there are dozens of watch groups checking garments for kids safety, but ultimately it’s up the the parent. The standards are high and if not met one of the consumer advocacy groups will report the shortcoming. Get involved in an on-line newsletter or discussion group to stay abreast of keeping your family safe using the best FR clothing methods known to date.
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Be Safe . . .