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Flame-resistant (FR) fabrics and garments are intended to resist ignition, prevent the spread of flames away from the immediate area of high heat impingement, and to self-extinguish almost immediately upon removal of the ignition source.
Normal work apparel will ignite and continue to burn if exposed to an ignition source such as flame or electric arc. Everyday fabrics will continue to burn until they are extinguished or all flammable material is consumed.
If garments become contaminated with flammable substances, they should be removed immediately and replaced with clean flame resistant apparel. Either home or industrial laundering may successfully remove most types of both flammable and non flammable soils. However, home laundry detergents may not successfully remove some types of soil found in industry, especially heavy greases and oily soils. If flammable soils are not completely removed, the flame resistance of the garment may be compromised.
Flammable materials are for the most part volatile substances that dissipate into the atmosphere, for example, gasoline. Stains remaining after laundering on the other hand are either unremoved contaminants or, more likely, simply discoloration of the fabric.
It may be difficult to determine that flammable soils have been completely removed, but indicators would include the presence of stains and/or odors after laundering. However staining alone is not an indication that the soil has not been adequately removed. If it appears that the garments may still be contaminated after home wash, laundering at a local commercial or industrial laundry may be required. Dry cleaning may be used to remove oils and greases. Finally, if questions remain Bulwark will conduct flame resistant testing of the garment in question to determine its flame resistance. Please be aware that this is a destructive test and the garment will be destroyed.
ASTM International has developed two standards for repair and maintenance of FR garments. Standard F 1449 Guide for Industrial Laundering of Flame, Thermal and Arc Resistant Clothing, covers maintenance of garments by industrial laundries. Newly adopted Standard F 2757 Guide for Home Laundering Care and Maintenance of Flame, Thermal and Arc Resistant Clothing provides information for home care and maintenance of flame resistant protective garments.
Essentially, all repairs must be made with materials equivalent to the original materials in the garments. In other words, Nomex® sewing thread and FR mending fabrics equal to the materials used in the original garment. Heat seal FR patches are available and are often used to make small repairs. Bulwark Customer Care can assist in providing repair kits for individuals and material sources for organizations.
Bulwark does not have a specific guideline on repairs except to follow the ASTM standards. This would also apply to zippers and any other trim or findings item that needs to be replaced. Technical Bulletins that provide detailed laundry and dry cleaning recommendations are available for each type of fabric used in Bulwark garments.