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When You Need Flame Resistant Apparel

Flame resistant apparel can reduce injuries and save lives. It is crucial that industries understand its true value and fully appreciate its limitations.

Some people believe they can walk through fire unharmed when wearing Flame Resistant Clothing (FRC). That is NOT true. Flame resistant apparel is designed to provide immediate protection in emergency situations involving fire, but it cannot fully protect you when immersed in flames.

By definition, FRC is any apparel that has the ability to self-extinguish upon the removal of an ignition source, such as dust, oil, gas, and electricity. This significantly reduces the percentage of body area burned and the potential severity of the burns received. FRC is critical in many occupations and situations, especially those that might be exposed to an arc flash or flash fire.

What is an Arc Flash?

An arc flash is a type of electrical explosion that can reach 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It happens during a fault, or short circuit condition, when:

  • There's accidental contact
  • Circuits are under rated for the present current
  • Contamination of insulated services
  • Deterioration of wiring
  • And many other situations
Important: The arc blast zone is typically 10 feet in diameter. Everyone around the potential hazard area should be covered in FRC.

Professionals most at risk:
  • Electric utility linemen
  • Industrial electricians
  • Maintenance workers
  • Anyone working near energized equipment

If you work in a profession that could potentially encounter an arc flash, you need to protect yourself and your team with fire resistant apparel.

What is a Flash Fire?

A flash fire is an intense flame that erupts without warning and spreads rapidly through a diffused fuel, like gas or ignitable liquid vapors, over a matter of seconds. On average, these bursts reach anywhere from 1000 to 1900 degrees Fahrenheit.

Professionals most at risk:
  • Pipeline workers
  • Gas and oil field workers
  • Petrochemical industry workers
  • Foundry workers
  • Landscapers

If you work in a profession that could potentially encounter a flash fire, you need to protect yourself and your team with fire resistant apparel.

We carry a wide variety of flame resistant apparel to help keep you and your crew safe in dangerous situations. If you have any questions about FRC or want a one-on-one discussion about your options, please call our helpful sale reps at 877-535-5646, Mon. - Fri. 8:00am - 6:00pm EST.

Additional Resources: Fire Resistance FAQ

Maximizing Your Safety with Hazard Risk Category Levels

When choosing flame resistant apparel, it's important to understand Hazard Risk Categories (HRC). Fire resistant apparel will range from level 0 to level 4 on the HRC scale, with 4 being the most protective. Layering FRC will generally give you more protection, but is never explicitly included in our safety calculations and must be tested for each specific garment.

Each garment is rated based on a 50% probability of a 2nd or 3rd degree burn occurring at a specific temperature and distance from explosion. The more heat it can withstand, the higher the rating it receives. This is called the ARC rating and is measured in calories/cm2.

The following table shows HRC levels and the minimum calories/cm2 value that must be calculated to acquire in order to receive that HRC rating. Please verify the HRC Level and ARC ratings required for your job with your employer.


Hazard Risk Category Clothing Description
(Typical number of clothing layers is given in parentheses)
Required Minimum Arc Rating of PPE Cal/cm2
HRC 1 FR shirt and FR pants or FR coveralls (1 layer) 4
HRC 2 Cotton underwear plus FR shirt and FR pants (1 or 2 layers) 8
HRC 3 Cotton underwear plus FR shirt and FR pants, or cotton underwear plus two FR coveralls (2 or 3 layers) 25
HRC 4 Cotton underwear plus FR shirt and FR pants plus multilayer flash suit (3 or more layers) 40

Wearing multiple layers of clothing may be required to obtain the necessary rating required for your job. An employer should tell their workers the required level of protection needed for their job.

If you'd like to discuss HRC levels, our helpful sales reps would be more than happy to talk to you. They can be reached at 877-535-5646, Mon. - Fri. 8:00am - 6:00pm EST.

Brands FRC is recommended for:
  • Pipeline workers
  • Gas and oil field workers
  • Petrochemical industry workers
  • Foundry workers
  • Landscapers
  • Electric utility linemen
  • Industrial electricians
  • Maintenance workers
  • Anyone working near energized equipment