FLAME RETARDANT FABRICS AND STAGE DRAPES
It is very important for your event and stage drape rentals to be “flame retardant”. Fabrics used in most public assembly places (i.e. schools, churches, auditoriums, etc.) are required by law to adhere to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)’s guidelines. Compliance with these laws should be a top priority when choosing a vendor for your drapery rentals. All of our drapes at Rent What? are sewn from cloth that is either certified as flame retardant by the manufacturer (FR) or made from cloth woven of flame retardant fibers (IFR). With all event and stage drape rentals, flame certification to National FR standards is enclosed to ensure you are “up to speed” with your venue’s safety needs and your own peace of mind.
There is a huge spectrum with respect to flammability resistance amongst various natural and synthetic fibers. For example, highly resistant synthetic fibers (such as glass and modacrylic) vs. certain polyesters that are slow to ignite will behave differently when exposed to heat or flame. Some polyester fabrics are considered permanently flame retardant because the fabrics are manufactured utilizing fibers in which the flame retardant properties are built directly into the molecular structure of the fibers. Seem miraculous? It is! Fabrics utilizing Trevira™ and Avora™ polyester fibers are considered inherently or permanently fire retardant. All of these considerations are taken into account by our experienced staff when making drapery rental recommendations.
CERTIFIED IFR, PFR and NFR FABRIC
Inherently “IFR” Flame Retardant and “PFR” Permanently Flame Retardant fabric has been certified as “IFR or “PFR” because the fibers have been woven in such a way that makes them noncombustible for the life of the fabric…meaning they will last for life and not dissipate despite repeated cleaning. Our 15 oz. Encore Velour masking drapes for rent are PFR and a substantial portion of our specialty drapes are IFR textiles. As a matter of course we always provide a Certificate of Flame Retardancy to our customers with every order to ensure you have the same confidence in our drapery rentals as we do.
You should definitely be mindful not to install draperies or materials labeled “NFR” as this code stands for “not flame retardant”. Among the types of fabrics that cannot be made flame retardant are certain synthetic and/or metallic fabrics. Often very metallic or glittery materials can fall within this category. At Rent What? we don’t carry any “non-flame retardant” draperies in our rental stage drapery inventory.
CERTIFIED FLAME RETARDANT (FR) FABRIC
Fabric that is certified as “FR” Flame Retardant has been topically treated in an immersion process with a chemical flame retardant after the fabric has been woven. All cottons and other natural fibers certified as flame retardant are FR topically treated, and some synthetic fabrics are also topically treated. The advantage to topically treating a fabric with flame retardant to make it FR is that the flammability of fabric can be drastically reduced. Many natural fibers, including cotton, can be topically treated with a chemical that reduces the fabric’s flammability to the extent that it becomes nearly non-combustible, drastically slowing the fabric’s burning rate as well as your liability in the event of an unforeseen situation. Our stage scrims, cycloramas and seamless bleached white theatre backdrops are made from FR cotton muslin which is a staple in the entertainment drapery industry.
NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION (NFPA) GUIDELINES
As mentioned earlier, by law it is necessary to adhere to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)’s guidelines. The test that is associated with these guidelines, and apply to draperies and curtains, is the NFPA 701 Flame Test. At Rent What? Inc we always take the utmost care in testing for flame retardancy. Our stage drapes are tested at the time they are manufactured and that certification is maintained by way of annual, if not more frequent testing.
FLAME RETARDANCY CONCERNS & QUESTIONS?
Flame Retardancy in fabrics is a subject that we feel passionate about at Rent What? – So thanks for taking a moment to read through the short essay on the subject and feel free to call us at any time for more information. You can also find our downloadable Top Ten List of Flame Retardant FAQ's.
We know that you have enough to worry about when orchestrating your event, and that on the top of your list is the need for it to be seamless (excuse the pun) and safe. If you choose to rent your stage drapes or special event curtains from us, we will take care of all of the testing and always supply current certificates of flame retardancy and burn samples for those of you who are going on tour (don’t fret; burn samples are not typically needed for local events). While on-the-spot testing may still be required according to local rules and per the venue, we will always provide you with current documentation and timely assistance with your rental.
No matter which supplier you choose for your stage curtain rentals, or what your project, we are always happy to be a part of your “fabric treatments and textile discovery”. If you ever have any questions regarding flame retardancy, stage draperies, backdrops, cycs or scrim rentals we are always happy to help. Just contact us by email or telephone for more information.