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Flame Retardant Fabrics: What’s the Difference between FR, IFR, DFR and NFR Fabrics?

Match Flame Test

An NFPA 705 match test being performed on a piece of fabric.

Fire safety is serious business and Rose Brand offers years of experience, dedicated support, and practical solutions to keep you and your audiences safe. While local fire codes may vary and local enforcement is open to interpretation and discretion, almost everyone has the same question in mind: Does the fabric self-extinguish if exposed to a small flame?

The goal is to keep accidents involving flame, heat and fabric from spreading rapidly. In the U.S., the most widely followed standard to determine fire resistance in curtain fabric is the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 701 standard. This standard specifies a lab test and the limits of allowable burning of curtain fabric. Since the lab test is impractical for spot checking fabrics outside of a formal lab, the NFPA has also established a field (match) test, NFPA 705.

As shown in the photo above, a vertical flame test is used to determine if a drapery fabric resists burning and is self-extinguishing. If a fabric is not sufficiently flame resistant to meet a standard, the fabric is labeled Non Flame Retardant (NFR). Fabrics that meet a self-extinguishing standard are categorized as Flame Retardant (FR), Inherently Flame Retardant (IFR), or Durably Flame Retardant (DFR). The method by which the fabric got to be sufficiently flame resistant determines the specific label.More...

How To Be Hassle-Free On Soft Goods Flame Retardancy Issues

Our industry has stringent fire safety regulations pertaining to soft goods flame retardancy. As a result of the good work of our stage technicians, fire officials and suppliers of flame retardant products, our industry also has an excellent record of fire safety. The following checklist describes best practices for implementing fire safety standards for your soft goods in your stage or event production.               

Rule #1: Get to know your local fire marshal
Discover and contact the authority that will have judgment over the acceptance of your scenery. This person may be the facility manager or house manager, an officer at the local firehouse, or a prevention officer from Fire Department Headquarters. Public Life Safety weighs heavily on their shoulders and they do not like surprises. Rather, they will be thrilled and most cooperative since you approached them in advance to discover the local requirements and to arrange pre-approvals.More...