The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently announced that its Standards Council has approved the development of a test for open-flame sources, such as candles, matches and lighters. This announcement is a step in the right direction. We have every reason to believe that the test will give furniture manufacturers a clear marker for determining fire resistance of upholstered furniture and will hopefully provide consumers with an important layer of fire protection.
In recent decades, the United States has made great strides in terms of fire safety. Through the use of smoke detectors, the implementation of fire safety education programs in schools, and the prevalence of other technologies, including flame retardants and modern fire extinguishers, the incidence of fire has decreased steadily since the 1970s. But, the dangers of fire still exist. In 2012 in the U.S., one fire was reported every 85 seconds, a civilian died in a fire every 3 hours, and $12.4 billion dollars in property was damaged or destroyed.
Combined with other safety measures, protecting against fires from open-flame sources can help save lives and property. It can also reduce the prevalence of flashovers, or the stage at which the nearest combustible objects ignite simultaneously, turning a small, contained fire into a deadly one.
With important developments like the NFPA’s forthcoming test for furniture, Americans concerned about fire protection continue to make progress in keeping families safe.