Fire Retardant Fabric
Flame Retardant (or “FR”) fabrics refer to fabrics that are inherently resistant to flame or fabrics that have been treated with chemicals to be resistant to flame. Purchasing a flame retardant fabric does not mean that the material is flame PROOF and will absolutely not catch on fire, it means that they are resistant to flame and will not also spread fire.
Fire and flame retardancy are important factors when selecting your trade show fabric materials such as table covers, drapes, tension fabric banners, etc. Anything that involves fabric typically has to adhere to fire related codes for the venue, city, and state and these codes vary from place to place. It is always wise to spend the extra dollars and choose the flame retardant fabric vs. the standard fabric. You will more than likely use your display or table cover more than once and this will alleviate any chance of you not being able to use them. Fortunately, the trade show display industry is aware of this demand for flame retardant fabrics and the majority of the fabric display products available fall under this category.
“It is always wise to spend the extra dollars and choose the flame retardant fabric vs. the standard fabric”
If the material is not advertised as fire or flame retardant, we suggest asking the company for information before purchase. Typically, a flame retardant certificate is provided with your product. This can also be requested prior to purchase for review to determine if it is in accordance with any trade show regulations. The certificate is provided by an independent testing lab as part of coding requirement. It is important to obtain this document as a fire marshal may require proof of fire retardancy at the venue.
HERE ARE SOME FLAME RETARDANCY RELATED TERMS
“FR” – Flame Retardant – Fabrics that are not inherently fire resistant (see below) are topically treated with a chemical after the fabric has been woven. Because of this, they will not STAY flame retardant forever. With repeat washing the water soluble chemicals will eventually wear off. It is a good idea to have drapes, table covers, and similar products tested over time.
“IFR” – Inherently Flame Retardant – This implies that the material is naturally resistant to flame versus being treated with a chemical to make it fire resistant. Our Banjo Cloth used for table skirts and drapes is an example of this. https://www.camelbackdisplays.com/Banjo-Cloth-About.html
“PFR” – Permanently Flame Retardant – Like IFR, PFR fabrics are woven with material that is noncombustible. Because these fabrics are naturally fire resistant, they will maintain their properties for the duration of the product and the effect will not dissipated after extensive use and washing. Some chemical treatments will eventually lose their qualities over time.
NFPA 701 Test– A flame retardancy test. Fabrics used in public environments such as trade shows, auditoriums, schools, churches, theatres, etc. is required by law in most areas of the country to use only flame retardant fabrics according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The standards vary depending on the use of the fabric. The NFPA701 test measures the flammability of a fabric when exposed to various sources of ignition. Certified flame retardant fabric has passed this test.