By Candy Adams
Since all exhibit structures are regulated by the fire ordinances of the locale and enforced by the fire marshal having jurisdiction over the venue where the exhibit will be erected, it is imperative that fire retardancy standards meet or exceed local fire protection standards.
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has set the industry standard and test method for flame-resistant fabrics, known as NFPA 701 small scale. Fabric is treated with flame-retardant chemicals either as part of the fiber manufacturing process, at the mill, or as a post-production flameproofing process.
Many conditions affect the ongoing flame resistance of a fabric: how the fabric is used; what other fabric or non-fabric components are added to the base fabric; environmental conditions such as sunlight, dust and humidity; length of time in service; sewing, printing, painting, or any other added processing steps.
It’s ultimately the exhibitor’s responsibility to be able to verify that the completed design and fabric pass the appropriate federal, state, and local fire codes. A flame retardancy certificate should be supplied to the exhibitor to be kept with the exhibit properties in case any questions arise regarding the fabric’s flame resistance on show site.