Dazian has created a Flame Retardant (FR) Fabric Guide to provide our customers with a comprehensive understanding of FR technologies, FR terminology, and international FR codes, standards and testing methodologies.
THE DAZIAN FR POLICY
Dazian has been the pioneer for over 50 years in the development of specialty FR fabrics and materials for the Entertainment, Event, Exhibit and Hospitality Industries. All Dazian fabrics meet the NFPA 701 Small Scale, NFPA 705 Field test and CSFM Title 19 test standards, as well as being approved by both the CA and NY Fire Marshals. We believe that this is only a minimum standard that everyone must comply with. Dazian knows what it takes, both in the laboratory and on location to meet the appropriate Fire codes and the unique demands of your project. We develop and test our products to the most rigorous test procedures and engineer all our new fabrics for maximum Flame Retardant performance.
Dazian sets the standard in the industry for high performance FR products that will meet local ordinances and provide superior protection at your venues.
FLAME RETARDANT STANDARDS
Fire prevention in public spaces has received increased attention in recent years. As a result, the Flame Retardant or Flame Resistant properties of fabric has become an integral part of the design and manufacturing decision-making process. Dazian’s fabrics and materials are, unless otherwise specified, Flame Resistant and meet the standards set forth by NFPA 701 Small Scale, NFPA 705 Field Test and CSFM Title 19 test, the Industry Standards for Flame Resistant Fabrics. They are manufactured with Flame Retardant chemicals either in fiber or fabric form, at the mill, or treated afterwards by a certified applicator.
Many conditions affect the flame resistance of a fabric: how the fabric is used; what other fabric or non-fabric components are added to the base fabric; environmental conditions such as sunlight, dust, humidity, etc., length of time in service, sewing, printing, painting or any other added processing steps. It’s the customer’s responsibility to verify that the completed design passes the appropriate Federal, State and Local Fire Codes. Dazian can assist you with our experience and knowledge, but cannot assume responsibility how our customers use and maintain their finished product.
INHERENTLY FLAME RETARDANT (IFR)
Traditionally, IFR fabrics have been defined as fabrics constructed with yarns manufactured with FR additives. This process imparts Permanent Flame Retardant properties to a fabric over its service life.
Over the past 10 years Dazian, and its worldwide network of Fabric manufacturing facilities, have pioneered the development of a new type of FR fabric technology, which permanently bonds FR additives to Polyester fibers in the dyeing and finishing process of fabric formation. Dazian has previously labeled products made with this technology as PFR Polyester fabrics. This process creates Permanent Flame Retardant properties to the fabric over its service life, often with superior FR performance than fabrics manufactured only with FR fibers.
All Permanent Flame Retardant fabrics and materials are now labeled as IFR, regardless of the technology used, to minimize customer and Fire Marshal confusion.
Fabric has been treated with a non-permanent, registered, FR chemical at the Mill by a certified applicator. This is a topical treatment, usually water soluble, and has limited service life. 100% FR cotton fabrics cannot stand up to high humidity, or washing. Flameproofed polyester fabrics have greater durability and longevity, but in many cases still require subsequent re-treatment.
All flameproofed fabrics should be periodically retested and re-flameproofed as required to maintain their FR certification. The typical timeframe is 1-3 years depending upon method and chemicals used in flameproofing, along with environmental, maintenance, and after-processing considerations.
CANNOT BE FLAMEPROOFED (CNFP)
Fabric cannot be flameproofed with any treatment methodology without compromising the structural integrity, fabric hand, or visual aesthetic.
WHY FLAMMABILITY STANDARDS?
FLAMMABLE FABRICS ACT 1953
All printed banners, wall coverings, display booth fabrics, table skirts, tents, awnings, carpeting, window treatments, interior furnishings and vinyl-coated fabrics are required to meet flame retardant standards for homes, offices or other assembly places.
SUMMARY OF FR CODES
Although Dazian routinely tests all of its Fabrics and Materials to NFPA 701 Small Scale, CSFM Title 19, and NFPA 705 Field Test, a number of other industry tests are performed based upon fabric application and construction, code requirements, country of usage, and type of fabric substrate. The following summary outlines the most frequently requested test procedures, along with criteria for usage, test methods, and standards.
NFPA 701 SMALL SCALE
- Voluntary Industry Specification
- Required by many State and Local Fire Ordinances
- Quoted in International Building Code for Canopies
- Most widely quoted flammability specification for specialty fabric products in US
- May still be subject to state and local approval for FR fabric registration (CA, NYC, Boston)
- Developed in 1938 for vertical for testing of curtains and drapes
- Test for single layer and multi-layer fabric products
- Assess the flame propagation in an area that is beyond the area exposed to the ignition sources
- Current test measures weight loss and char length as pass/fail criteria
Test Method 1
For interior products such as curtains and drapes
– Also applies to table skirts, linens, display booth separators, textile wall hangings.
Test Method 2
For outdoor materials such as awnings, tents and tarps
– Also applies to any textile or textile product.
NFPA 705 FIELD TEST
- To be used when reliable laboratory tests are not available
- Provides guidance on how to conduct field tests and criteria for pass/fail
- Not considered a standard test method
- Used extensively today at Local Fire Marshal’s discretion
- Controversial because of actual flame source used by Fire Marshals
CSFM – TITLE 19
- Title 19 regulation was a product of CA Ordinance #1237SM passed in 1976
- Never fully implemented by CSFM
- NFPA 701 became the FR Standard for Textile registration
- Currently all fabric sold in CA must be registered with CSFM and pass NFPA 701 and Title 19 certified tests
- CSFM is in process of revising original Title 19 standards and implementing in 2012
- It is expected to have a dramatic impact on all industries using textile products
- Potential for other states or cities adopting CSFM regulations (Las Vegas)
A GAME CHANGER
- A Game Changer
- Standard test measurement changed to self-extinguishing time and char length from weight loss and flaming drips in NFPA 701 – 2004/2011 edition
- Significant change in FR performance requirements from NFPA 701
- Emphasis on documentation and record keeping
- Requirement to provide MSDS, material composition, chemicals used in the manufacturing process, location of manufacturer
- Goal of CSFM is to create audit trail of finished product back to original seller of registered fabric
- Field test to be changed to incorporate use of butane lighters as a flame source and to be used only as a last resort if no documentation is available
- Expanded application to any textile product that is decorative or hung in public spaces or tents.
- Requires that any textile product modified from its original approved source must be re-tested (Prints, laminated and coated fabrics)
CANADIAN ULC S109-03
- Canadian Standard for Flame Tests of Flame-Resistant Fabrics and Films
- Canadian FR Test required by Printers, Exhibit and Event Companies
- Similar to older NFPA 701 editions and CSFM Title 19
- Measures self-extinguishing time and flaming drips
- Applies to textiles and films used in buildings
- Intended to access the surface burning characteristics of building materials
- Provide flame spread index and smoke developed index for your fabric
- Class A certification required for textile wall finishes in any permanent interior building application
- Automated Fire Sprinkler Systems still required unless fire tested to NFPA 265
- Determines the contribution of textile wall coverings where materials constitute the exposed interior surfaces of buildings and demountable, full-height partitions used in open building interiors
- Revised December 2010 to include coated wall coverings
- Also known as Room/Corner Test
- Preferred by Fire Marshals over ASTM E84
- Very expensive test procedure
GERMAN DIN 4102 (B1)
- European FR Testing Standard for fabrics and materials
- Measures char length, temperature of smoke, and burning droplets
- More demanding pass/fail criteria than NFPA 701 or CSFM Title 19
- Typically tested by a German certified national laboratory
- Required test for fabrics used in most EU countries
- B2 test used if fabric fails B1 test.
Any questions regarding FR Standards and Testing Procedures, please contact our FR Standards Officers:
Gerry Rodriguez – California: 877-432-9426
Jon Weingarten – New Jersey: 877-232-9426
89 Leuning Street South Hackensack NJ 07606
Phone: 201-549-1000 (9:00 am-5:00 pm EST)
6265 South Valley View Boulevard Suite “A” Las Vegas, NV 89118
Phone: 702-323-6541 (9:00 am-5:00 pm PST)
7100 TPC Dr, Suite 650, Orlando, FL 32822
Phone: 407-367-7616 (9:00 am-5:00 pm EST)
10671 Lorne Street, Sun Valley, CA 91352
Phone: 818-287-3800 (9:00 am-5:00 pm PST)