Friday, March 16, 2012

Fabric Flammability Ratings

There are several things to know about fabric flammability and ratings. You will often hear fire resistant, fireproof, flameproof and flame retardant when referring to fabric. These do not all mean the same thing and it is important to know the difference.

Fire resistant or fire retardant refers to a fabric or fiber that has been treated or naturally flame retardant to discourage the spreading of flames. This IS NOT the same as fireproof or flameproof. A fire resistant or fire retardant fabric WILL eventually burn. It will just take a little time so that you have time to get to safety.



Fireproof or flameproof fabrics literally will not burn. To be labeled fireproof, the Federal Trade Commission requires that a fabric must be 100% fireproof. If the fiber or fabric has been treated to prevent flames from spreading, it must be labeled as fire resistant.

The fire codes that are seen and used most often are UFAC (Upholstered Furniture Action Council), NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and CAL Tech Bulletin (only used in California). It is important when doing a project that requires your fabric to be fire rated that you find out what fire codes are required for your state. Just call your local fire marshal and they should give you that information.
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