Posted on 02/03/2021 in Furniture & Textiles 2021
Smoke propagation from furniture fires

Full-scale building tests by IFV Netherlands show dangers from upholstered furniture fires. IFV carried out 19 full-scale fire and smoke propagation tests in a 4-storey disused residential building dating from 1973, comparing fires involving only a standard 2-place sofa to fires burning only wood (set up give a similar heat release rate to the sofa) with a range of scenarios for doors open or closed, exterior ventilation, smoke resistant partitions, fire service deployment and mobile water mist. Smoke density, irritant and asphyxiant gases and heat were measured. The sofas used were all the same: the best-selling model in the Netherlands where upholstered furniture is not subject to fire safety requirements (non flame retardant). The tests conclude that the upholstered sofa fires generate considerably more smoke than fires burning only wood. The room containing the sofa (only) became unsurvivable 4 -7 minutes after igniting the sofa (using propane source). If the fire room door is opened, then the situation in the corridor becomes very rapidly life-threatening or lethal and residents in other flats can no longer escape. It is concluded that both reducing fire and smoke from upholstered furniture and actions to contain the fire and smoke (closed doors, fire breaks) are necessary to improve escape and survival for other flat occupants.

“Smoke propagation in residential buildings. The main report on the field experiments conducted in a residential building with internal corridors”, IFV Brandweer Brandweeracademie 2021 and annexes

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