FAQ - Flame Resistant Work Clothing

What is the best Flame Resistant rated clothing?

IFR and Action West are Canadian companies that have specialized in FR and PPE clothing for decades. Wei's carries IFR, Action West, Carhartt and Pioneer brands in selected FR styles.

Increased demand for PPE and safety clothing has attracted well-known work wear brands like Carhartt, Ariat and Wrangler who now offer several styles of FR clothing, from bib overalls to hoodies, pants and plain or patterned shirts. 

Safety regulations have improved over the years, resulting in more requirements for specific types of Flame Resistant clothing, which must meet inspection and testing standards.

Do you have more questions about our fire resistant clothing? Contact us! We’re here to help. 


What is Flame-Resistant Treated Clothing?

Yes. The label will give you an idea of how many washes your treated FR clothing can withstand before you need to replace it to ensure your safety code compliance.

Cotton is a good insulator against heat and a poor conductor of electricity, and often used in FR clothing – but it will catch fire when exposed to direct flame.

Some FR manufacturers might use treated cotton clothing instead of inherently fire-resistant fibres or fabrics. The problem with treated clothing is the chemical treatment will wear off after several washes. Your protection lessens or disappears, and you are not fully protected as the jobsite requires.

In Canada, this deterioration of FR protection must be stated on the label - for example, 'replace after 20 washes'.

What Are Inherently Flame-Resistant Materials?

For better protection, buy better FR clothing using materials that are inherently fire resistant. FR materials are such as Nomex or Kevlar are designed at the molecular level to inhibit electricity, arc flashes and heat.

These materials are inherently fire-resistant and resist catching fire when exposed to extreme heat and combustion. They are available in fibres or fabrics to clothing manufacturers who use them to make the industry-standard flame resistant clothes.

Are any Materials More Dangerous Near an Open Flame?

Synthetic fibres such as nylon, polyester, acetate or rayon, when heated, could melt onto your skin, therefore FR clothing is never made with 100% of these synthetic materials, but blends, for example with a higher percentage of cotton and a lower percentage of polyester, are common.

Cotton is not a good conductor of electricity or flame. Cotton may be blended with polyester as well as a specialized FR material to provide durability as well as protection.

What types of workers need FR clothing?

While some of our fire-fighting heroes absolutely need FR clothing, there are many other professions that use and can benefit from FR clothing and workwear. Workers in fire service, utilities, oil and gas, research labs, welders, drillers, and many other professionals use FR clothing.

Flame-resistant clothing is designed to protect the wearer from burns and help prevent the spread of flames, which means it’s a useful tool in a hazardous or potentially dangerous job. It resists ignition and self extinguishes, which is particularly helpful in jobs that are exposed to explosions, fires and thermal incidents.

What is the difference between “Flame-Resistant” and “Flame-Retardant”?

FR clothing can be broken down into two groups: flame-resistant and flame-retardant. The differences between the two are subtle, but they are both excellent options for those with potentially hazardous work. Flame-resistant clothing is made from fabrics that are resistant to flames and embers, which allows them to naturally self extinguish. Flame-retardant clothing, on the other hand, has been chemically treated to be self extinguishing. Both are safe and effective, and will help protect you from fire and heat-related injuries, but they’re made from different materials. It’s tough to tell the two types of FR clothing apart unless you check the tags.

Can you simplify FR clothing ratings?

FR clothing ratings are a guide to help you know how many layers of FR clothing you should wear to protect yourself, depending on the hazard risk level. HRC1 is low risk, which means you can wear just one layer of FR clothing (such as FR shirt and pants, or just FR coveralls). This increases in risk up to HRC4, which means you should wear three or more layers of FR clothing to be protected, such as cotton underwear, FR shirt and pants, plus a multilayer FR flash suit. These ratings are designed to help you determine the risk involved in a particular task and the amount of FR clothing you should wear as a result.