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The Need for Flame-Retardant Curtains in School Auditorims

Every British school or university with a stage or theatre knows of the importance to invest in the safest materials and construction possible. That means the stage must be able to withstand the weight of numerous performers, and that the curtains and draperies must be fully fire-retardant.

Stage curtains made out of cotton and linen can ignite quickly resulting in rapidly spreading flames. Napped fabrics such as velvets and velours, which are common in stage curtains, can catch fire far more easily than other fabrics.

In a school or university, few things can be as paramount as safety. Theatres are well known for housing any number of fire hazards, and as such, you should never add fuel to the flames.

Is it required?

Any public place such as auditoriums, concert halls, cinemas, and theatres are all required to comply with local fire regulations. This is the only way to ensure the safety of the public. It doesn’t stop at the stage curtains. Any draperies and special event decors must be evaluated for their ability to withstand fire to a certain extent.

How do I know if the flame-retardant curtains are actually what they say?

Flame-retardant curtains undergo rigorous testing under the terms of the BS5867 pT2 standards. Products and fabrics that meet these standards are often marked with these certifications clearly.

Some of these tests include:

  • Applying a small flame to the face of a specimen
  • Lighting one end of the specimen to see if the flame reaches the other end
  • Visual examinations to see if flaming debris falls during the previous test
  • Measuring of the afterglow and after-flame time.

Why is it so important?

In a theatre or auditorium, there are plenty of fire hazards. In addition to the hazards brought about fabric, the hot lights and the dozens and dozens of necessary electrical systems can pose a danger.

Depending on the construction of the set, the fabric of the curtain can easily become a fire hazard. It is also not unheard of for theatres to store flammable chemicals, such as paint thinners, lacquers, and so on.

If any bit of the show involves even one or two pyrotechnic effects, fires will be a concern. With the sheer amount of people that can be present in a theatre at any given time, the risk of fire is absolutely something you want to reduce.

Remember: Flame-retardant does not always mean fireproof

Similar to the way that something “water-resistant” is not necessarily “waterproof,” flame-retardant does not mean fireproof. All it means is that the product is capable of resisting fires of a certain temperature. It might also mean that there is a lower probability of it catching fire and staying ablaze.

Just because the material is fire retardant does not mean that you can forego safety precautions. After all, the curtains might be flame-retardant, but humans are not.

Final thoughts

If you are renovating or constructing a stage or auditorium of some sort, it is important to think about safety first. Any deaths and tragedies that occur in a theatre must entirely be figurative. That is why investing in flame-retardant curtains is the best choice you could make.

If you’re looking for a supplier of flame-retardant curtains, send us at Direct Fabrics a message for a free and quick quote. All of our products comply with British and International Flame-Retardant Standards.