Arc Flash Hoods and Balaclavas

An arc flash is an electrical release of energy hotter than the surface of the sun and capable of exploding with the strength of eight sticks of dynamite. It is reported that arc flash incidents kill about two workers a day. An arc flash can be caused by:

  • Coming too close to a high-amp source with a conductive object.
  • Dropping a tool or otherwise creating a spark.
  • Equipment failure from using substandard parts, improper installation, or even normal wear and tear.
  • Insulation breaks and gaps.
  • Dust, corrosion, and other impurities on the conductor’s surface.

Arc flash injuries can result in severe skin burns. Since arc incidents may occur when performing routine maintenance, emergency responders and firefighters must understand the safe approach distances to exposed electrical conductors and understand the value of wearing arc PPE.

In temperatures related to arc flash incidents, even FR clothing can break open due to the extreme energy. For arc flash protection, you need clothing that is compliant with NFPA 70E - Current Edition and that meets performance specifications of ASTM‑F1506. This clothing will have a Hazard Risk Category rating (HRC) from Level 1 to Level 4. The HRC corresponds to the ATPV (Arc Thermal Performance Value), which indicates the amount of thermal energy the apparel protects against. More specifically, the ATPV represents the maximum incident thermal energy in units of energy per surface area (e.g. kJ/m² or cal/cm²) that a fabric can support before the wearer will suffer 2nd degree burns.

Protective Clothing Characteristics

Hazard Risk Category
Clothing Description
Required Minimum ATPV (Arc Thermal Performance Value in cal/cm²)
  • Long Sleeve Shirt & Long Pants (natural fibers)
  • Fire-Resistant Shirt & Pants (or Fire-Resistant Coverall)
  • 1 Layer Total
  • Cotton Underwear
  • Fire-Resistant Shirt & Pants (or Fire-Resistant Coverall)
  • 2 Layers Total
  • Cotton Underwear
  • Fire-Resistant Shirt & Pants
  • PLUS FR Coverall
  • Double-Layer Hood and Balaclavas
  • 2-3 Layers Total
  • Cotton Underwear
  • Fire-Resistant Shirt & Pants
  • Double-Layer Switching Coat and Pants
  • Double-Layer Hood and Balaclavas
  • 3-4 Layers Total

Browse HRC Rated Hoods

HRC 2 Cobra Hoods Materials

Materials with HRC Rating 2

  • Ara-Tek FR Tri‑Blend
  • Comfort Plus Nomex® and Lenzing FR®
  • PBI/Lenzing FR® with Comfort Plus Liner
HRC 3 Cobra Hoods Materials

Materials with HRC Rating 3

  • Carbon Shield
  • Para-Tek FR Tri‑Blend

Head & Shoulders Above the Rest

PGI, established in 1942, has over a half century of experience producing flame resistant garments. PGI’s Cobra hoods are the premier brand of flame resistant hoods in the industry, and are specified at thousands of end-user companies globally. Millions of Cobra knit hoods have been manufactured for a variety of industries, including: fire service, forest service, police/SWAT, electrical maintenance, electric and gas utilities, oil, gas, petrochemical, military, welding, foundries, and auto racing.