Arc Rated Vs. Flame Resistant Clothing — Important Difference To Know

AR FR clothing

When the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) replaced the term “Flame Resistance (FR)” with”Arc-Rated (AR)” in its 2012 edition of the NFPA 70E, it stirred confusion among many.

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What was the difference between FR and AR?

important difference between the two

The answer is:

“All arc-rated clothing is flame resistant, but not all flame resistant clothing is arc-rated”

Why wear Flame Resistant clothing? What’s the Real Story?

Flame Resistant (FR) clothing is very important because during a brief thermal hazard like a Flash fire or Arc flash, it’s rarely that brief thermal hazard that kills people.

What does kill people? and cause the majority of the catastrophic injuries as well as the fatal ones, is that brief thermal hazard igniting flammable clothing. The flammable clothing continues to burn, lasting much longer than the initial hazard, and affects a much larger area of your body. And it is that surface area and severity that combine to cause most of the catastrophic and fatal illnesses.

This is where Flame Resistant, or FR, fabrics come in.

FR clothing can provide several benefits for people involved in safety critical working conditions.

What is Arc Rated Clothing? Why Do We Need One?

All arc-rated clothing is flame-resistant, but not all FR fabrics have been arc tested. FR has many great characteristics; however, we want to make sure that all the fabrics sold for arc flash protection have been tested against arc flash. So at the end of the day, you want a fabric that has an arc-rating.

AR indicates that a garment has an arc rating and the level of protection has been determined through testing.

Read on to find out which one should be used while working in a power distribution system.

Let us know if you have any queries regarding this topic and do provide us with your feedback in the comments.

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About The Author

Abdur Rehman is a professional electrical engineer with more than eight years of experience working with equipment from 208V to 115kV in both the Utility and Industrial & Commercial space. He has a particular focus on Power Systems Protection & Engineering Studies.

Abdur Rehman is the CEO and co-founder of and creator of GeneralPAC by AllumiaX. He has been actively involved in various roles in the IEEE Seattle Section, IEEE PES Seattle, IEEE Region 6, and IEEE MGA.

Leaders in Industrial & Commercial Power Systems Engineering