How to Get a Fire Retardant Certificate?

Fire retardants offer an important protection layer by helping to avert and slow the spread of fire. These materials effectively stop and suppress combustion to reduce the heat released from fire and can help prevent it from spreading.

While fire retardants are manufactured commercially on a large scale, unfortunately, some materials available in the market can be misleading and are not what they claim to be. Fire retardant certificates can help individuals distinguish between authentic and falsified materials and make informed purchase decisions. This article provides an overview of what a fire retardant certificate is and how it can be obtained, with a particular focus on fire retardant certificates for fabric and protective wear.

What is a Fire Retardant Certificate, and why is it important?

Fire retardant is an essential safety standard for industrial wear and fabric, and manufacturers of these materials and garments are required to ensure that their products are made correctly to provide safety against the potential hazards of fire. However, the average consumer may be unaware of the characteristics of a fire retardant material and how to distinguish it.

For this purpose, fire retardant certificates are in place to verify that the specific material has been manufactured and tested according to the standards formed by a credible authority, in this case, the National Fire Protection Association. The body provides a series of standards, codes, and certifications to ensure the quality and safety of the product.

Having a fire retardant certificate gives the customer satisfaction and peace of mind that the product they are using is fire retardant and will perform as specified by the label.

This is particularly important in high-risk environments like industries where workers are exposed to the risk of burn injuries due to thermal exposure or flash fires. In these instances, authentic and certified fire retardant clothing can provide a certain degree of safety and protect them from the harmful effects of fire. Read below to learn about the NFPA 2112 certification required for industrial protective garments.

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Fire Retardant Certification for protective garments: NFPA 2112 

The NFPA 2112 (National Fire Protection Association), introduced in 1896, is the requisite standard for flame resistant clothing to protect personnel against fire in industrial settings. The standard is the leading benchmark for fire prevention and is regarded to be one of the highest authorities when it comes to public safety. 

The aim of setting the NFPA 2112 is to reduce the hazards of fire and its impact on quality of life by providing and endorsing codes and standards for fire safety. It also facilitates training, research, and education in this regard. It is hence provided to protect individuals from flash fires that are likely to occur where flammable vapors, gases, or combustible dust may be produced.

The NFPA 2112 standard specifies the minimum performance requirements for fire retardant clothing. It also outlines the testing methods required for fire retardant garments and fabric that can verify their compliance with the NFPA standard. 

The standard guidelines also outline quality control and labeling requirements that garment manufacturers must comply with. While it establishes the credibility of the fabric, it also satisfies the end users, who usually rely on labels for the requisite information before making a purchase decision.

How to get a Fire Retardant Certificate? Example of NFPA 2112

To obtain a fire retardant certificate, the product or garment manufactured to be fire retardant must pass the standard test specified by the standard guidelines. To explain it further, let’s consider the NFPA 2112 certification.

For a garment or fabric to be NFPA 2112 certified, it is required that it does not contribute to the burn injury and provides a certain degree of protection to the user, and also helps reduce the burn injuries severity that usually results from accidental exposure to a flash fire or short term thermal exposure.

To obtain the NFPA 2112 certification, the garment is tested per the specified guidelines. The garment is exposed to flash fire testing for three seconds with a fail/pass rate of 50 percent body burn under the ASTM F1930 testing procedure.

At this point, one may wonder why a three second rule is usually considered for tests conducted to assess fire resistant fabrics. In reality short, duration fires are an exception and are usually quite extensive, particularly when they occur in petroleum or chemical based industries or manufacturing sites. Therefore the three second rule is a performance specification used to establish the garment’s qualification to be fire retardant. It is not used to establish the correct level of PPE requirements in specific hazardous environments. 

In specific terms, a garment must exhibit 50 percent, or less predicated body burns via a standard burn injury model. In an instance where a garment generating a 50 percent projected body burn via a standardized model is not acceptable for the organization, it will need to look beyond the NFPA 2112 standard and assess the fabric or garment for their actual performance and not rely on the standard pass or fail criteria that are based on the 50 percent projected skin burns injury model.

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