Flame-resistant (FR) clothing is an indispensable tool for many professionals, offering crucial protection against burns caused by flash fires, electric arcs, and combustible dust.

These specially engineered FR garments enable individuals working in various industries and the military to safely perform hazardous tasks.

Throughout the years, FR clothing has played a vital role in saving numerous lives and preventing severe injuries.

What is Flame Resistant Clothing
Photo: Clandestine Media Group

What does FR mean? The term “flame-resistant clothing” or “FR clothing” encompasses any apparel specifically designed to shield the wearer from flames and thermal harm.

Such clothing possesses the ability to resist ignition and automatically extinguish itself once the ignition source is removed. This feature effectively safeguards against burns resulting from flash exposure to flames as well as residual heat transfer.

What is FR Clothing

In the presence of fire or an explosion, many types of fabrics tend to ignite and sustain burning.

Additionally, certain fabrics may even melt onto the person wearing them, leading to severe injuries. Textile fires often have prolonged burn times and cause more extensive harm compared to the initial event.

What is FR Clothing
Photo: Clandestine Media Group

Flame-resistant clothing undergoes specific design modifications to reduce its susceptibility to catching fire when exposed to combustion and high temperatures. In the event that the fabric does ignite, it ceases to burn once the heat source is removed.

This grants the wearer crucial time to escape and aids in minimizing injuries. However, it is essential to recognize that flame-resistant garments are not fireproof, and they will eventually burn if subjected to prolonged heating.

Moreover, flame-resistant clothing is typically engineered to resist breaking open under heat. The absence of open areas in the fabric prevents the skin from being exposed to additional hazards and potentially exacerbates the severity of injuries.

What is FR Clothing Made Of

The majority of FR clothing is crafted from materials specifically engineered to withstand high temperatures.

Fabrics such as Nomex, Kevlar, and Modacrylic possess exceptional flame-resistant properties and are frequently utilized in the production of various components of FR garments. Additionally, natural flame-resistant materials like cotton can be treated with specialized chemicals to enhance their heat resistance and protective qualities.

What is FR Clothing Made Of
The Massif Cool Knit™ FR base layers are constructed with DuPont™ Nomex® brand fiber. Soft and comfortable. (Photo: Massif)

Both naturally flame-resistant materials and those treated with specialized chemicals exhibit similar behavior. These materials do not sustain combustion once the ignition source is removed, have a low propensity to ignite, and do not melt easily.

FR Clothing Test Video

Did you know that most fabrics are made of combustible materials (such as cotton, nylon, and polyester) and will ignite when exposed to a flame? Wearing FR garments gives you more time to stay focused in order to get out of a dangerous situation. Massif is proud to combine flame-resistant materials with the fit and performance of the highest quality all while being Berry Compliant.

The prevention of fabric burning and melting is of utmost importance since such occurrences can result in significant damage and cause severe and long-lasting injuries.

Different flame-resistant materials offer distinct advantages, and what provides protection in one environment may not be suitable for another. It is crucial for professionals to consistently evaluate and select the most appropriate products for their specific requirements.

FR Clothing Ratings

When purchasing flame-resistant clothing, it is vital to be well-informed about the level of protection provided by each garment.

FR clothing is classified based on its arc rating, also known as the Arc Thermal Protective Value (ATPV). This rating indicates the amount of heat that can be transmitted through the fabric in the event of an arc flash, thus determining the level of protection offered to the wearer.

Minimizing heat transfer can significantly reduce the impact of a fire or arc flash, effectively safeguarding the wearer from the most severe consequences of such incidents.

Arc ratings are expressed in calories per square centimeter and higher ratings indicate greater protective capabilities of the clothing. For example, an arc rating of 4 is suitable for tasks categorized as Hazard/Risk Category 1 (HRC1), representing the lowest risk, while an arc rating of 40 or higher provides protection for tasks assessed as Hazard/Risk Category 4 (HRC4), denoting the most extreme risk.

FR clothing ratings
Photo: Clandestine Media Group

Manufacturers are obligated to indicate the arc rating of their garments, and most labels will display this crucial value. Wearing multiple layers of arc-rated clothing enhances protection against heat and flames, with three or more layers often necessary for the most hazardous tasks.

It is important to note that while all arc/APTV-rated clothing is flame resistant, not all flame-resistant clothing is arc rated. Some FR clothing is solely made from flame-resistant fibers without undergoing lab testing to ensure compliance with established standards.

Investing in products that have undergone comprehensive testing is the optimal approach to ensuring sufficient protection against potential hazards.


It is crucial to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) exclusively from reputable and experienced suppliers.

Professionals must have confidence that the overalls, balaclavas, jackets, and mufflers they wear will effectively shield them in the event of a thermal incident. The most reliable approach to ensure the adequacy of FR clothing is to invest in high-quality garments from well-established manufacturers.

Trusted manufacturers will clearly indicate the arc rating of each garment on the label, providing essential information about the materials used in the construction of each item of clothing.

Flame-resistant clothing has the potential to significantly reduce and even prevent injuries in situations involving flash fires, electrical arcs, or explosions. This establishes FR clothing as an indispensable component of safety across various industries.

By investing in well-crafted FR clothing and diligently verifying ratings and requirements, professionals can effectively enhance their safety while undertaking even the most hazardous tasks.

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