FR AND ARC BASICS 

New to the FR world? Need a refresher? If you’re having a hard time keeping the FR and ARC acronyms straight, we can break it down for you.

Let’s start with flame resistant (FR). FR refers to the ability of a fabric to self-extinguish when an ignition source is removed from it; it resists ignition. Take an FR work shirt for example. If it comes into contact with a flame, it will stop the spread of the fire.

You’ve probably also heard of ARC, which means ARC Rated. ARC is a measurement of how much energy is needed to pass through a fabric to cause a second or third degree burn with 50% probability. You’ll see garment manufacturers measure this as calories/cm2. The higher the ARC Rating, the greater the protection. An FR shirt with an ARC Rating of 8.6 calories/cm2 will provide a higher level of protection than an FR shirt with an ARC Rating of 4.4 calories/cm2.

Now here’s where the two come together. All clothing that has an ARC Rating is flame resistant, but not all flame resistant clothing is ARC Rated. This is because not all FR clothing is required to be tested for exposure to an electric arc. If that’s critical to your line of business, you’ll want to make sure the FR garments that you’re looking at have an ARC Rating. Keep in mind, a welder’s uniform may not require the same ARC Rating as an oil and gas diesel mechanic.   

FR clothing, regardless of its ARC Rating, limits burn injury to the body due to the properties and treatment of its fabric. And it’s important to choose the right FR garments because the number one cause of severe and fatal on-the-job burn injuries is a worker’s clothing igniting and continuing to burn. You can’t take shortcuts when safety is involved. AmeriPride has a full line of FR uniforms to meet the needs of a wide range of working conditions. Once you know your workplace requirements for safety garments, browse our FR offerings.

Note: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), complete with codes and standards, is a good place to start researching garment needs based on your type of work. We also have a comprehensive FAQ to walk you through the process of choosing FR workwear.


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