What Should I Look For In AR/FR Rainwear?

This is the final post in a three-part series examining the 2020 hurricane season and the importance of  protecting workers with the right AR / FR rainwear promptly – particularly as COVID-19 has impacted supply levels. Review the season projections in our first post, and explore quality products and service solutions in our second post.

The 2020 hurricane season – and its “above-normal” threats to infrastructure and continuity of services like power, gas, fuel, and water – is arriving as utility, energy, and other vital workers have worked tirelessly to keep our country going through the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the added challenges of COVID-19, these workers could soon be dispatched to restore service interruptions caused by hurricane activity. Take steps today to protect them! Begin by evaluating the arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) rainwear you have on hand. Then, as you source rainwear to close any gaps, take a VERY close look at the label to be sure the products provide sufficient protection.

How can you tell if your AR / FR rainwear provides sufficient protection?

Shopping for AR / FR rainwear, or benchmarking the rainwear your company has on hand? Caution:

  • Compliance solely with ASTM D6413, Standard Test Method for Flame Resistance of Textiles (the “vertical flame test”), is not a true indicator of sufficient protection from an arc flash or flash fire.
  • ASTM D6413 is an excellent test method when used as intended – to determine flame resistance of traditional However, it’s not appropriate for specialized rubber/plastic-type fabrics used for rainwear, which tend to shrink away from the vertical flame central to the D6413 test – reducing exposure to the flame in the manner the D6413 test method intended. This, in turn, allows some potentially-dangerous products – which do not perform in an arc or flash fire – to pass the test.

That’s why ASTM D6413 has been superseded by standards designed specifically for rainwear:

  • ASTM F1891 for electric arc protective rainwear and
  • ASTM F2733 for rainwear intended to protect against flash fire

Look instead for products that comply with these rainwear-specific standards, which include both the D6413 vertical flame test AND either the arc rating test for arc flash rainwear, or the “manikin test” for flash fire rainwear. Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical, explains in this short video.

What difference does it make?

A world of difference! Remember the rainwear tested only to ASTM D6413 in our last post? Contrast the outcome in that video with the performance of this suit, which meets the standard for arc flash protective rainwear:

A side-by-side comparison is provided at the end of the video, for reference. Which suit would you want to be wearing in an arc exposure?

As you can see, after the arc, the ASTM F1891 rain suit is entirely intact – no melting, dripping, or ignition. The garment has done its job and protected the wearer – a much different outcome from the rainwear tested only to ASTM D6413.

Luckily, Tyndale offers ONLY AR / FR rainwear that complies with hazard-specific ASTM standards. Our selection includes a variety of quality AR / FR rainwear from leading brands, and our managed rainwear programs take the guesswork out of ordering and distributing rainwear to your employees during COVID-19.

COVID-19 has impacted inventory levels of AR / FR rainwear available in the market – limiting suppliers’ ability to restock once existing inventory is purchased. Contact your National Account Executive today to browse product options that provide sufficient protection, discuss inventory levels, and explore managed rainwear program options.

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