A flame retardant is a substance that reduces flammability of fuels or delays their combustion. This gives valuable time to a householder to either extinguish a fire before it takes hold or, allows valuable time to vacate a property.
Fire-retardant fabrics are normally treated to different British Standards normally this depends on the end usage of the fabrics. BS 476 is a fire treatment for fabrics that are normally for wall hanging, and must only be used as for that purpose, where as CRIB 5 is a fabric fire treatment for upholstery and must only be used for furnishing and upholstery purposes, even if both fabrics have been treated for fire-retardancy. The relevant standards for fire-retardant fabrics include:
BS 5852:2006 describes the best practice methods to assess the ignitability of single material combinations, such as covers and fillings used in upholstered seating, or complete items of seating. These tests determine the effects of a smouldering cigarette, or other flaming ignition sources such as burning matches or a four-sheet full-size newspaper. This standard can be used to establish the potential ignitability of components in conjunction with other specified materials. BS 5852:2006 first looks at the criteria of ignition, and the health and safety of operators. It then explains the various apparatus, before focussing on smouldering ignition sources – such as a cigarette, butane gas flames and flaming wooden cribs. It also looks at ways to test for the ignitability of upholstery composites and complete items of furniture. The standard concludes with a final examination and test report.BS 5852:2006 replaces the older certification standard, BS 5852 - 1990BS 5867 is for flame retardant fabrics. It relates to curtains, blinds and drapes for windows when tested by the methods specified in BS 5438:1976. Where appropriate, a cleansing or wetting procedure specified in BS 5651 may also be required.
Source 5 (Crib 5) is related to upholstery and furniture coverings, and is related to BS 5852. The crib test uses a plank made from wood that is glued together. The fabrics is attached over the lint, then at bottom and a propane-diol is added. The testing unit is then ignited with a match. To decide whether the test has been passed the fabric and the crib are assessed to see whether there is flaming or smoldering on both the outer cover and the interior material. Assuming it does not ignite or smolder, the material will pass the test as no ignition. Similar tests include Source 0 (smouldering cigarette) and Source 1 (simulated match).All standards are designed to protects the consumer. Appying a flame retardant solution to upholstery, carpets and curtains can be a vital life saving measure.