Fire outbreaks at home, work or in schools always leave devastating effects. Damages can be great especially if the fire has spreaded. It is always important to try to lessen the chances of fires by getting a curtain that is fire retardant.
Part of every school’s routine is to ensure that safety protocols are in place. Curtains are one of the quickest items to catch fire and there are literally no type of fabric that has innate fire resistance. You need to invest in fire retardant treated fabric to prevent spreading of fire quickly especially in public areas like school stages and performance venues.
Fire Retardant vs. Fire Resistant Fabrics
These terms are used interchangeably, but they are actually quite different. In general, both types of fabric can help lessen the spread of fire, but they can still burn.
Fire retardant fabrics are those that are chemically treated with curtain fire retardant chemicals. The end product is a curtain that can self-extinguish when exposed to fire as opposed to typical fabrics that burn to ashes. This makes your curtain less hazardous and may be used to put off the fire during emergencies.
Fire resistant fabrics are slightly different since they don’t really extinguish the fire by themselves. They burn more slowly than regular fabrics and don’t melt or drip. This lessens spreading of the fire since burn debris is localized. These fabrics are fire resistant by themselves and don’t need to undergo further treatment.
What to Know About the Levels of Fabric Fire Ratings
Fabrics or curtains are rated in line with their quality and flammability, and there are probably only two types that you need to worry about when it comes to stage curtains that are fire retardant:
NDFR: Simply means “Non-Durable Flame Retardant”. Fabrics rated NDFR have already been treated with flame retardant chemicals but can have its efficacy reduced or removed by wetting or washing the curtain fabric. Curtains or fabrics rated NDFR usually are dry cleaned, and it is best avoiding placing steam or water near them. There isn’t a defined time frame for the retardant to be effective. However, it is usually 4-8 years provided the fabric is dust free. If it is dry cleaned, it must be retreated with fire retardant.
IFR: The IFR means “Inherently Flame Retardant”. The fibres of the curtains rated IFR fights against the effects of fire instead of being flame retardant because of its chemical application. These curtains are the best solutions for areas where curtains will be exposed to a heat source nearby. IFR fabric will stay flame retardent all its life even after they are dry cleaned, as long as they are dust free.
Why Should You Ensure Your Curtains are Fire Retardant type?
It is law in Australia that all theatres, stages, public halls that use stage curtains must adhere with the latest Building Code Australia, also known as BCA – The AS 1530 Part 2 and 3. AS 1530 Part 2 is an index for “Flammability” that is conducted by testing authorities like the Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA). The building code AS 1530 Part 3 is an index of “Smoke Developed” and “Spread Flame”.
In NSW, it is required by law to have at each curtain rear a tag that states the fabric type, the manufacturer, its fire retardant treatment, cleaning instructions and test report.
Phantos supplies IFR wool, velvet and other fire retardant treated stage curtains an drapes for schools in Sydney. If you existing curtains are not fire treated type and needs to be replaced, we appreciate the opportunity to talk to you.