Fire Safety Tips: Fire Hazards and Clothing

Most fibers used in clothing can burn, some more quickly than others. A significant number of clothing fires occur in the over 65 age group, principally from nightwear (robes, pajamas, nightgowns). The severity of apparel burns is high. Hospital stays average over one month.   

Small open flames, including matches, cigarette lighters, and candles are the major sources of clothing ignition, followed by ranges, open fires and space heaters. The most commonly worn garments that are associated with clothing ignition injuries are pajamas, nightgowns, robes, shirts/blouses, pants/slacks and dresses. 
 
 

Fire Safety Status Check

To be safe, you should be able to answer “yes” to the following statements.   
  

  • When purchasing wearing apparel, I consider fiber content and fabric construction for safety purposes. 
  • I purchase garments for my children that are intended for sleep wear since they are made to be flame resistant. 
Safety Tips 
  • Consider purchasing fabrics such as 100% polyester, nylon, wool and silk that are difficult to ignite and tend to self extinguish. 
      
  • Consider the flammability of certain fabrics containing cotton, cotton/polyester blends, rayon, and acrylic. These are relatively easy to ignite and burn rapidly. 
      
  • Look at fabric construction. It also affects ignitability. Tight weaves or knits and fabrics without a fuzzy or napped surface are less likely to ignite and burn rapidly than open knits or weaves, or fabrics with brushed or piled surfaces. 
      
  • Consider purchasing garments that can be removed without having to pull them over the head. Clothes that are easily removed can help prevent serious burns. If a garment can be quickly stripped off when it catches fire, injury will be far less severe or avoided altogether. 
      
  • Follow manufacturer’s care and cleaning instructions on products labeled “flame resistant” to ensure that their flame resistant properties are maintained.

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