On request of a major international furniture producer (“first mover”), the Federation of European Union Fire Officer Associations (FEU) has carried out an expert assessment and published an opinion on test methods which the firefighters consider necessary to improve survivability of furniture fires.
The report is based on statistics from Italy, Finland, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the UK, but underlines the difficulties in comparing data. The firefighters underline that some 5 000 people die annually in home fires in the EU and suggests that this could be cut by one quarter by requiring furniture to be fire-safe. The FEU report covers upholstered furniture and mattresses, considers fire development, smoke, fire spread and survivability in practice, and recommends that resistance to ignition by both cigarette and match flame should be implemented rapidly, and resistance to a larger flame (crib 5) within a “realistic time frame”. A table of recommended test methods is specified (page 12) for furniture and for mattresses: EN 1021-1, EN 1021-2, EN 5852, EN 571-1, EN 571-2, BS 6807. FEU recommends the use of alternative flame retardants, noting the ENFIRO conclusions (see pinfa Newsletter n° 36) that some PIN FRs offer fire performance with lower risk for health and the environment. FEU “accepts the use of flame retardants to increase the fire safety of upholstered furniture if they meet the requirements of REACH”.
“Fire safety of upholstered furniture and mattresses in the domestic area, European fire services recommendations on test methods”, FEU, May 2017 https://www.ifv.nl/kennisplein/Documents/20170501-FEU-Fire-safety-of-upholstered-furniture-and-mattresses-in-the-domestic-area.pdf