Reducing Flammability in Home Furnishings
Fire safety is not the first consideration when consumers buy new home furnishings, but it can make the difference between life and death.
Fire safety testing as part of the product development process saves lives.
Increasing incomes and living standards mean consumers are investing more of their disposable income in new home furnishings and decorations. Not unexpectedly, consumers’ first thoughts are for design, color, style and price, compliance to relevant fire safety regulations is taken for granted.
Domestic house fires kill and injure thousands of people around every year, around the world. Ensuring home furnishing and decorative products, of every description, comply with locally applicable requirements is a must.
In recent years, development of new polymer materials has been fast and delivered many attractive options – attractive that is to manufacturers and consumers. Indeed, the vast majority of synthetic fibers, sponges, plastics and other polymer based materials now used in consumer products have been developed in this period. But with man-made materials come increased risks, of both flammability and the release of noxious gases during burning.
Three minutes – that’s all it takes for a domestic house fire to go from 0 to 1,110 degrees Celsius. The spread of fire is rapid, the temperature increase faster, and the devastation wrought unimaginable. Annually, it is estimated that there are some 700-800 million fire incidents globally, of which some 80% are domestic. Though global statistics are not available, in Europe, figures suggest that 12 people die every day and more than 120 are injured by fire. Don’t let your end-consumers fall victim by your error or omission.
Safer By Design
Alongside a multitude of non-compliant materials for furniture and household furnishings, there’s a plentiful supply of appropriately treated and certified materials that will be compliant in your destination market, from the Americas, through the EU and on to China and Australasia.
Improve fire safety of your products with a range of materials, components and fire safety testing:
Furniture – Flame retardant materials used in seats, upholstery, sofas and mattresses significantly reduce the possibility of ignition and, in the vent of ignition, limit the spread of any flames. Flame retardant materials on a sofa would ensure that even if a person should drop a cigarette butt into the upholstery, the sofa would not ignite, and the emission of any toxic gases would be minimal. To reduce the potential for harm from this hazard, the European Union and United States have implemented flame retardant regulations on the furniture industry. Manufacturers and retailers must ensure their products are tested against standards including:
- Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – in the UK
- EN 1021/EN 597 – in Europe
- 16CFR 1633 – in the United States, supplemented by TB117 in California
Decorative materials – Fire retardant materials can limit the spread of a fire, but also offer the benefits of reduced smoke and reduced releases of toxic gases – both of which enable the occupants of a building more time to escape/await rescue in safety. Good quality building materials should have good mechanical, environmental and flame retardant capabilities. Materials claiming flame retardancy, such as fireproof plasterboard, floor coverings, carpets and curtains, must be tested against the above-mentioned international standards.
Doors – Fire doors save lives. The doors and their hardware are designed to contain flames and smoke, allowing people time to escape or await rescue in safety. Testing will verify a door set’s fire resistance and qualify it’s rating. Regulations are in place across the USA and European Union, where standards have recently been harmonized with the publication of EN 16034 and the introduction in September 2016 of a common CE marking procedure.
Fire retardant coatings – Slow and limit the spread of fire. Fire retardant coatings are commonly applied to combustible substrate surfaces. They can reduce the surface flammability of a coated material, limit fires, slow the spread of flames, and improve the fire endurance of the protected materials.
Fire Safety: Testing & Evaluation Services
With professional technology, expertise and advanced equipment SGS has a global network of consumer product testing laboratories, many with expertise in fire safety testing, we can provide comprehensive testing and evaluation services.
Covering six product categories and fire safety requirements for most major markets around the world, our services have gained wide acceptance by client worldwide.
- Building materials and construction elements
- Wires and cables
- Electrical and electronic products
- Upholstered furniture
- Fabrics and textiles
For further information, please contact:
Consumer and Retail, Fire Technology Services
China/Hong Kong Regional Manager
t: +86 0572 5018828