In the hospitality industry, nothing is more important that ensuring the safety of the guests, and that naturally includes fire safety. The goal is fire prevention, and if a fire breaks out anyway, conditions should be such that it can’t spread quickly. To accomplish this, hotels should understand what fire retardant products are available and as much as possible about how they perform in the service of fire prevention.
Fire Retardant Products: Furniture and Furnishings
Hotel furniture in both public and private areas must meet a number of standards revolving around issues like comfort and durability. Some of the most important standards involve the furniture’s resistance to ignition and general flame retardant properties.
Many pieces of furniture carry labels guaranteeing that the proper flame tests have been administered and passed. Flame tests can include a match flame test, a smoldering cigarette test (even if smoking isn’t permitted in the hotel), and a flame ignition source test and furniture and furnishings may need to meet different safety standards depending on the particular use and location for which they’re intended and local laws and regulations. When purchasing furniture, hotels should thus be mindful of local requirements and rules pertaining to fire safety.
When treating furniture and furnishings with fire retardant chemicals, it’s essential to understand how the various flame retardants used to promote fire safety can interact differently with different materials. If hypothetically, the wrong fire retardant was applied to the wrong specific product, it’s entirely possible that little in the way of fire prevention would be achieved.
Fire Retardant Upholstered Furniture
Today’s upholstery is often made of synthetic substances like polyester foam or polyurethane. These materials go into the three parts of the furniture: cover fabrics, upholstery, and more interline.
If untreated with a fire retardant, synthetic fibers and foams represent a considerable fire hazard. The former burn hot and are likely to drip burning residue that helps the fire spread. The latter ignites easily, sometimes after only the briefest contact with a flame.
Fire retardants minimize the risk by imposing a barrier between flame and fuel and limiting the oxygen supply.
Fire Retardant Products: Carpets and Drapes
Today’s carpets and drapes are also often made of synthetic fibers that offer durability, resistance to moths and mildew, and make them easier to clean. But if they’re not treated with the proper fire retardant chemicals, they too pose a fire risk. Hanging vertically, drapes pose a particular risk because fire can travel quickly up a vertical surface and then spread.
Fire Retardant Products: New Materials
Happily, modern technology is producing new materials that possess a high degree of fire resistance. One excellent example is Densicor® from Ecofixtures. This sustainable product is fire resistant, waterproof, and can be used in hotel bathroom vanities, desk furniture, tables, etc.
Fire Retardant Products: Less Obvious Items
Once an individual or hotel focuses on fire safety, it’s natural to ensure that items like furniture, carpets, and drapes, things that constitute the basic building blocks of a room and that one expects to stay in place more or less permanently, pass muster. It is, however, still possible to overlook features like pictures hanging on a wall or other paper decorations even though these too can represent a fire hazard.
These items likely won’t have been tested for fire resistance or had fire retardant applied at their point of origin. But commercial products are available that allow hotel staff to treat them with flame retardant themselves. In today’s marketplace, it’s relatively easy to find fire retardant applications that are eco-friendly, odorless, clear, won’t stain, and spray on easily.
The takeaway from all this is that every hotel must concern itself with fire safety. Fortunately, knowledge of essential standards and local rules and ordinances, product testing, treatment, and labeling, and the availability of new fire-resistant substances like Densicor® and DIY fire retardant spray-on applications are all helpful in this regard.
Flame spread ratings are available for all the EcoFixtures products we carry.