Flame retardant curtains are specially designed to protect households and buildings from smoke and heat on the event of a fire. A regular feature in commercial and public buildings, like schools and hospitals, flame retardant curtains are also gaining popularity in household use.
A fire is a worst-case scenario that everyone should take precautions against. At some public places, like care homes, hospitals, theatres, and schools, or any place where fire poses a serious risk to the general public, flame-retardant curtains are a necessity. Your home is no different. Fire retardant curtain can be used as a passive fire containment measure, that can buy precious time for the occupants in the event of a fire.
What is a Flame-Retardant Curtain?
Flame-retardant fabrics are made from materials that are resistant to fire and smoke and will halt the progress of an expanding fire to a large extent.
Different Types of Flame-Retardant Curtains
Flame-Retardant Curtains (FR): When the fabrics are woven, they are not flame-retardant. But later in the production process, these fabrics undergo chemical treatment which makes them flame retardant. These properties can become less effective after laundry treatment. Do read the description properly before settling on a choice. There are some dry-cleaners which are specialized in treating flame-retardant curtains.
Durably Flame Retardant (DFR):
These fabrics are treated with a chemical that is non-water soluble. That makes these fabrics more durable and can be washed up to 25 times without them losing their flame-retardant properties. Again, read the care instructions properly before selecting the material.
Inherently Flame Retardant (IFR)
These fabrics are woven in such a way that they have a fire-resistant core which remains unchanged even after repeated washing, provided washing guidelines are followed during the wash.
Factors Affecting the Flame-Retardant Properties
Other than laundry, there are other factors that can alter the effectiveness of the flame-retardant curtains. These include, but are not limited to, accumulation of dust, oil or debris on the fabric, or exposure to sunlight and humidity and other external factors. It is important to ensure that care guidelines are followed diligently while maintaining these curtains.
What are the Standards?
There are no single, over-arching flame-retardant standards at the federal level. However, at state and other regional levels, a different set of standards are followed to gauge the effectiveness of flame-retardant curtains. The national standard set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which goes by the name of NFPA 701, is the one, most flame-retardant fabrics are tested against.
What is NFPA 701 Test?
For testing the quality of the fabric, a small piece of the sample is burned to test the burning strength, flame produced and residue left and the findings are measured against the NFPA 701 guidelines. If the fabric meets the standards, it receives NFPA 701 certification.
How to Make Sure your Curtains are Flame Retardant?
As there are no set standards at the national level, it is very difficult for manufacturers to claim that the fabric meets flame retardant guidelines. Most manufacturers state the quality (FR, DFR, IFR) and mention if the fabric meets the NFPA 701 standard.
Here are some tips that will help you to make sure that your curtains meet the flame-retardancy standards you expect.
Ask the Local Fire Department
Your fire department might be in a position to tell you what standards are followed locally for flame-retardant curtains. They might even guide you about the process that should be followed to get flame-retardant certification for your curtains.
Ask Your Manufacturer
If you are in doubt, you can always contact your seller or manufacturer for more details regarding the quality and make of the flame-retardant curtains. If you have flame-retardant curtains on your priority list, do discuss the local requirements with the manufacturer to make sure you are getting what you are paying for. Also, they will be able to provide more options regarding which fabric is more suitable for your requirements.
Ask for a Certificate
Often, your vendor or supplier will give you test results instead of a certificate. It is important to request for a certificate at the time of placing the order. Most manufacturers or suppliers will not provide this certificate after or before the order.
Use of Flame-Retardant Fabric at Home
There has been a lot of talk about the benefits of using flame-retardant curtain in the commercial environment. But it is also an important aspect of home safety. Burning candles, cigarette butts, barbeque, or fireplaces, other than the usual cooking hob, all pose a significant fire risk. It is important to keep your loved ones protected.
Flame-retardant curtains can be a beautiful room divided, which can double as a passive fire deterrent. In the event of a fire, these curtains can act as a barrier, stopping smoke and fire to spread into the separated areas, giving you more time to get to safety.
You can pair other features will your flame-retardant curtains.
Flame-Retardant Blackout Curtains
Flame-retardant curtains are usually very thick. So, it is not difficult to pair blackout features along with the usual flame-retardant qualities. Flame-retardant blackout fabrics are extremely popular in hotels and theatres, as they comply with guidance and also provide protection from the light outside.
Flame-retardant blackout curtains will also be a useful addition to your home. It will provide relief from the sun, while you sit down to watch a movie or try to catch up on some sleep. Pair it with sheer curtains to get some flexibility in controlling how much light gets in the room.
Flame-Retardant Sheer Curtains
Many manufacturers make sheer, net, or voile curtains with flame-retardant properties. This gives you the flexibility of adding beautiful, flowy lines to your room, without having to worry about the potential fire hazard.
Flame-retardant curtains are a must for creating a safe and secure atmosphere for your loved ones. Their versatility and aesthetic appeal is an added bonus. Make your room elegant, as well as safe, with the use of these multi-functional flame-retardant curtains.