With more manufacturers and businesses becoming aware of the importance of fire safety, greater steps are being taken to ensure products are as fire retardant as possible. However, an item that is usually overlooked in this area is the humble doormat.
When purchasing a doormat most people look for something that is thick and durable to keep mud and dirt off their floor. Whilst these factors are necessary, looking for a doormat that is fire resistant is equally as important.
Even if a doormat is listed to have some fire-resistant properties, this is not enough to make it flame retardant.
A large majority of mats are flammable and if they catch on fire will burn and spread very quickly, potentially blocking off the only escape route. This is exactly the reason why most mats found in communal hallways have been banned – they are classed as a fire hazard that can prevent people from getting out in the event of an emergency.
Using a doormat with the correct fire classification, to stop it from becoming a potential fire hazard, is essential for the safety of other people who live in your building.
Fire testing classifications
Minimising the risk of a fire hazard means taking the right steps to prevent the start and spread of dangerous fires. The EU Construction Products Regulation 305/2011 has passed regulations and test standards to ensure the safety of people – one of which relates to fire testing.
Below you can find the information regarding EN 13501-1: ‘Fire classification of construction products and building elements’, which applies to doormats too.
- A1 fl: Only achieved by non-flammable floor coverings which do not present any risk in terms of smoke formation.
- A2 fl: Only achieved by non-flammable floor coverings with low levels of organic binding agents.
- B fl: Flame-retardant construction products passed the test with a radiation intensity of 8 kW/m2.
- C fl: Flame-retardant construction products passed the test with a radiation intensity of 4.5 kW/m2.
- D fl: Normally flammable construction products passed the heat intensity test at a radiation intensity of 3 kW/m2.
- F fl: Easily flammable construction products without any requirements or tests made.
The higher the classification alphabetically, the more flame retardant the construction product, i.e. the doormat, is. With that being said, classes A1 fl and B1 fl are impossible to satisfy with most doormat materials, including textiles and LVT.
Anything with a classification below C fl (or German B1) is considered a fire risk and therefore is not best suited to use in a housing development like flats or supported accommodation.
The fire testing standard above is taken a little further to test smoke production too. As with any item that burns, smoke is produced which is harmful to human health as well as the environment. Floor mats that produce very little smoke when on fire are labelled as ‘s1’. Mats that fail this smoke testing standard are given the label of ‘s2’.
The need to keep communal areas that serve as escape routes free from blockage and flammable materials is critical. Choosing a doormat with a B fl-s1 or a C fl-s1 classification means it is perfectly suitable and safe for commercial flooring applications, including use in blocks of flats. This means your residents can enjoy the benefits of a doormat outside their front door without creating a potentially dangerous fire hazard.
First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge.
For more information, please visit: www.firstmats.co.uk