There Is No Risk to Owners/Operators
When drapes are being used in any public space, whether it’s a theatre, lobby, school or any “public gathering place”, it is the responsibility of the owner/operator to take appropriate steps to ensure that the public is safe when frequenting the space. All fabric must meet the requirements for flame spread rating (flame resistance) as required by the Fire Codes.
Inherently Flame Retardant (IFR) Means Fabric Will Be Flame Retardant Forever
Not necessarily. While fabric that has been certified as inherently fire retardant (IFR) or permanently fire retardant (PFR) or durably fire retardant (DFR), is intended to remain fire retardant for the life of the fabric, environmental conditions can affect the “permanent “fire retardancy. A drape that has been hanging for a while without regular maintenance or cleaning may accumulate a heavy layer of dust on the drape. Dust is full of all kinds of flammable matter – so although the drape is technically “permanently” flame retardant, the drape may become flammable of dust accumulation.
A Flame Retardant Application Certificate Is Good Forever
A Certificate of Flame Retardancy is only valid for one year. The area in which the fabric is located and the usage of the fabric will have an impact on the fire retardancy of the fabric. It is the responsibility of the owner/operator to ensure that the fabric remain flame resistant at all times. Its recommended that fabric be tested and treated annually.
All Fabric in Public Areas Are Inherently Flame Resistant and Does Not Need Any Cleaning
Fabric needs to be cleaned regularly to remove all grime, dirt and dust and allow the non-flammable fibers to do its work in case of a fire. Clean fabric will ensure longevity of the materials.
No Re-testing Is Needed, Especially Not for the IFR Fabrics
We recommend and many fire marshals require, annual retesting of all fabric (including IFR, PFR, DFR) to ensure that all fabric remains fire retardant. A certified testing company should always be used, and assuming that drapery passed the test, a Certificate of Flame Retardancy should be provided
The cost to become and maintain compliance with the Fire Code will be far less than the cost of the risk of non-compliance. It should not even be considered by responsible owners and operators.