Flame resistant underwear and FR base layer clothing provide a last line of defense against electric arc flash and flash fire hazards. Many people have been saved by wearing FR base layer apparel from fires that burned through their outer protective garments. Not all FR base layer garments are the same. There are two types of FR fabric – inherently FR and treated FR. Fabric that is inherently FR, like Nomex, is flame-resistant for life, which means that no matter how many times it is laundered or how long it is worn, the material will always remain flame-resistant. Treated FR fabrics have a flame resistant chemical applied to them that makes the fabric flame resistant; wear, laundering, abrasion, and UV exposure gradually reduces the wear life of the garment to the point where the garment that protects your life this year might not do so quite as well next year.
In either case, wearing flame resistant base layer undergarments provide a additional layer of defense against fire, granting much better survival chances compared to those who are not wearing fire resistant clothing. FR undergarments are commonly worn as part of a heavy duty flame resistant uniform set by military personnel, industrial workers in high-risk environments, and some rescue workers.
Fire retardant baselayer fabrics function by preventing the flame from penetrating through clothing and burning the person wearing them. In the case of treated FR items, the chemicals used to make clothing fire resistant release either bromine or chlorine, which combine with atoms in the flame. This breaks the burning cycle by slowing down the reactions necessary for flames to occur. These flame resistant chemicals generally act to remove certain compounds or elements that are needed to sustain the fire. Inherently fire resistant fabric is made from materials that are naturally slow burning. These can include organic cotton and wool, which are naturally less prone to burning because the fire can be smothered in the thick fibers. Some manmade fabrics, like aramid fabrics, are also flame resistant. Inherently flame resistant fabrics can also be treated with chemical methods to increase their effectiveness.
For more information on FR base layer apparel, including quantity quotes for your company, contact our sales department.