Not everyone shops at Urban Western Wear for fun, fashionable boots or dancehall-ready denim. In fact, my new favorite patrons are the tough guys and gals whose jobs require flame-resistant clothing. These cowboys and cowgirls include oil field workers, electricians, and miners who need to meet industry standards of protection. These people have a little more to worry about than where to go for happy hour (Hear that, Chihuahua?) — and their clothing has to do more than make them look good.
But it’s always easy to find clothes that will keep you protected: Industry standards can be a little confusing — and some clothing lines billed as “fire-resistant” don’t actually meet those standards. That’s why we carry Bulwark FR jeans and work shirts–so our customers can feel comfortable AND protected on the job.
Flame-Resistant Clothing: What You Should Know
When you’re shopping for flame-resistant (FR) clothing, you need to look for two things: NFPA 2112 and HRC rating.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets forth clothing standards for people whose jobs might expose them to flash fires (for example, oilfield workers are required to wear clothing that meets NFPA 2112 standards). This standard is called the NFPA 2112. Clothing that meets this standard has its flame resistance quality certified by a third party, and certified items are labeled.
HRC (Hazard Risk Category) is another standard set by NFPA. There are four ratings for clothing, from 1 to 4. Most fire-resistant Bulwark clothing meant for daily use is labeled as HRC 2.
Spotting a Fake
Some clothing lines billed as “fire resistant” don’t actually meet the NFPA 2112 standard. Clothing that meets the standard must bear the label of a 3rd party certifier. Plus, these exact words must appear on the label:
“THIS FLAME-RESISTANT GARMENT MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF NFPA 2112 STANDARD ON THE FLAME-RESISTANT GARMENTS FOR THE PROTECTION OF INDUSTRIAL PERSONNEL AGAINST FLASH FIRE”
Beware of brands that switch up the wording, even if they mention NFPA 2112! For example, some labels will say that the garment meets NFPA 2112-2007, but that just means that it meets part of the standard and is not fully compliant.
Wear to Work and Beyond
Urban Western Wear sells some great Bulwark clothing that can be worn on and off the job. You might expect this NFPA 2112 compliant, HRC 2 rated clothing to look like some kind of space suit, but it looks like normal clothing.
For example, Bulwark’s jeans are made from 100% EXCEL FR registered flame-resistant blend cotton. But, they go through a soft garment rinse and hand sanding, which means they have the same look and feel as normal denim jeans. Oil workers can wear them out on the rig, then out to dinner on the way home. No one will ever know the difference.
The Bulwark shirts featured on Urban Western Wear are made with a fire resistant blend of 45 % modacrylic, 35% lyocell, and 20%, para-aramid. That combination might sound a little foreign to you, but the shirts feel just like a t-shirt! They are lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking…in addition to meeting NFPA regulations.
My favorite part? Bulwark FR clothing looks like something any old Joe or Jane might wear–but it’s not. So on the rare occasion when I get together with Chihuahua and he’s in some stylish duds and I’m in a pair of Bulwark jeans…only one of us is protected from potential flash fires. And when you’re at a Western wear conference at a ranch, anything can happen.