If you’ve never witnessed a flash fire incident first-hand, it can be difficult to fully appreciate just how important it is to be fully protected by flame resistant clothing on the job. The direct injuries caused by the flames themselves can certainly be serious. But due to the relatively short duration of the flash fire, they often aren’t the worst hazard you face. In many cases, the most serious injuries occur when clothing ignites and continues to burn next to the skin. Clothing can burn until the fuel source is fully extinguished, causing devastating skin injuries.
To demonstrate this concept, Tyndale recently held a day of testing at the TEEX Brayton Fire Training Field at Texas A&M University. During the day, various pieces of clothing were subjected to a replicated flash fire to see what happened to the garments – and to the manikin underneath. A variety of fabrics and garments were tested and all tests were filmed.
For starters, let’s take a look at how an FR uniform fared when hit by a flash fire.
As you saw, while the wearer could potentially be subjected to injuries from the direct flame, the fact that the clothing did not ignite greatly reduces the injury risk to the worker.
But, you still may wonder if it really takes FR clothing to withstand a momentary flash fire.
Many people believe that 100% cotton is sufficient to protect workers from flash fire hazards. Let’s see how 100% cotton performed in our tests at TEEX.
Likewise, we tested a non-FR poly-cotton blend coverall to see if it would protect the wearer.
Just as with the 100% cotton coveralls, the fabric catches fire and continues to burn long after the original flash fire has died down.
Clearly, someone wearing FR clothing has a huge advantage over a non-protected worker in the event of a flash fire. It’s not enough to rely on luck to protect you. Make sure you’re wearing the proper clothing to ensure you survive in the event of a flash fire.
Stop back often to see future blog posts with test videos featuring rainwear, clothing with heat-transfer embellishments, various different FR fabrics, and more.