This is National Fire Prevention Week, sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The theme for 2018 is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware–fire can happen anywhere.”
Although Draper products do not fall within fire prevention or suppression categories, we do strive to help fire prevention efforts by using materials that are as flame retardant as possible.
This is most evident in our window shading solutions.
Specifying textiles that are flame retardant is an important aspect of fire prevention. Draper works with major U.S.-based weavers to ensure the shade fabrics we offer meet the required national and state standards.
“There are many flame certifications referenced within the commercial building space. Each certification represents a specific test method for a category of materials within the commercial building,” said Bill Strickland, Phifer’s national market manager of sun control products. “The most common certifications required in the U.S. for window treatments are NFPA 701 and CA Title 19. Both measure the flame resistance and rate of flame spread of the window treatment within certain test parameters and flame exposure.”
Although these certifications are widely used, local fire codes may require additional certifications. For example, flame certifications that address the amount and toxicity of smoke generated when the product is ignited may be required.
One trend in the industry is a move away from flame retardants containing halogen.
“Halogens may contribute to an increase in smoke generation and carbon monoxide once a product ignites,” Stickland said. “There is also increased regulatory scrutiny being applied to products containing halogens due to perceived environmental concerns when products are disposed of in landfills.”
Some U.S. states have banned the use of halogenated flame retardants, although they are not typically harmful unless ingested.
“The threat comes with their potential for bio-accumulation, which means the more they are used in everyday products, the more potential they have to accumulate in high concentrations in the environment which could then go up the food chain and be ingested by humans and/or animals. They’ve also been shown to be harmful to ecology,” said Ali Fisher, product manager at Mermet. “Brominated flame retardants are banned to certain levels in RoHS [a directive that restricts usage of some hazardous materials]. This doesn’t explicitly exclude their usage, but the levels must be below a certain tolerance.”
Mermet products are in compliance with RoHS for halogen levels, but may not meet the specific requirements of being halogen free. Mermet’s GreenScreen products and Vizela are compliant with the “red list” of banned chemicals for the Living Building Challenge.
Most of Phifer’s SheerWeave fabrics use halogen-free flame retardants, and Phifer SheerWeave® 4000/4100/4400 with DOW ECOLIBRIUM Bio-Based Plasticizer is halogen-free.
For more information on Phifer fabrics and their flame retardancy certifications, click here for their online resources page.
For a new white paper from Mermet on flame retardancy and shades, click here to go to their online resource page and click on “Flame Retardant & Flame Resistant Test Standards” in the white papers section.
Draper’s EcoVision Class A flame retardant wall pads have been tested as a singular unit and given a Class A rating in accordance with ASTM-E84 and NFPA 255 test procedures. Draper uses state-of-the-art flame resistant polychloroprene latex, open cell foam cushioning material, rigid 7/16″ (11mm) urea-formaldehyde-free oriented strand board backer, flexible PVC, and scrim laminate that features a leather grain emboss pattern.
Our gym divider fabrics are also flame retardant. The solid vinyl part of the curtain has a Class A rating according to ASTM E 84 and NFPA 701 (Test 1); It also meets California State Fire Marshall (CSFM) Title 19. The mesh portion of the curtains meets NFPA 701 (Test 1) and California State Fire Marshall (CSFM) Title 19.
Draper powder coats gym equipment, such as basketball backstops. Any coating that’s organic can ignite if the heat is intense enough and there is a high enough concentration of the material. Our powder coats are not flame retardant. However, powder is more resistant to flame than many liquid coatings if they haven’t been thermally cured.
Motors used for basketball backstops and divider curtains feature thermal overload protection to keep them from operating if they get too hot.
Many of our projection viewing surfaces are flame resistant, and several have been tested and meet Flame Retardant Standard NFPA-701. In addition, screen motors have thermal overload protection.
To learn more about how you can practice fire prevention in your own home or business, click here.