According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2009, 1,348,500 fires were reported in the United States, causing 3,010 civilian deaths, 17,050 civilian injuries and $12.5 billion in property damage.
Why are flame retardants important to use?
Experts recognize the use of flame retardants is essential to stopping or slowing the spread of fire. Flame retardants are used to prevent ignition by increasing the threshold required to start a fire; reduce the spread of fire; and delay flashover , the “fireball” that can quickly occur when the combined heat and the release of flammable gases cause automatic combustion. Delaying flashover reduces the rate and intensity of burning and increases the amount of time people have to escape.
How do flame retardants work?
Flame retardants are added to different materials or applied as a treatment to materials (e.g., textiles, fabrics) to prevent fires from starting, limit the spread of fire and minimize fire damage. Some flame retardants work effectively on their own; others act as “synergists” to increase the fire protective benefits of other flame retardants. A variety of flame retardants is necessary because materials that need to be made fire-resistant are very different in their physical nature and chemical composition, so they behave differently during combustion. The elements in flame retardants also react differently with fire. As a result, flame retardants have to be matched appropriately to each type of material. Flame retardants work to stop or delay fire, but, depending on their chemical makeup, they interact at different stages of the fire cycle. To better understand how flame retardants work, it’s helpful to understand the fire cycle.
Think about where the flame retardant fabrics and linens will be used?
Will it be utilized in a public school? If so, the local school district may have information about the flame retardancy requirements in your area.
Will it be used in an outside venue, such as a convention center or hotel ballroom? If so, venue staff may be able to advise you on the regulations in the city/state/venue. Often, they will even have a packet available outlining all the requirements!
Confirm that your fabric supplier or drapery manufacturer will supply a Certificate of Flame Retardancy.
Some fabric suppliers will provide test results demonstrating compliance with NFPA 701 standards, but not a Certificate of Flame Retardancy. Even when a fabric supplier or drapery manufacturer does provide a Certificate of Flame Retardancy, the vendor may not automatically provide a Certificate of Flame Retardancy for all orders. Make sure that, at the time you place an order, you request a Certificate of Flame Retardancy for all flame retardant fabrics and/or draperies specified on the order. Typically, the Certificate(s) of Flame Retardancy will be provided to you with your order, not in advance.