Fire safety is a vital consideration within any business or home. That’s why it’s imperative to take all precautions that help to increase fire safety, not only to protect people and goods but also to enhance your company’s reputation.
Everyone knows that having a fire extinguisher on hand is one of the main safety steps you can take, but have you ever thought about the role that your doormat plays when it comes to fire safety? A doormat’s ability to resist fire is just as important as its ability to keep mud and dirt off the floor.
Even if a doormat is listed as having some fire-resistant properties, this is not enough to make it flame retardant. And if a non-retardant mat catches fire it can spread flames very quickly and potentially block off escape routes, creating a huge risk to life and property.
Keep reading our guide to find out exactly what the different fire classifications are, and which type of door mat to purchase for your space.
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 achievable by non-flammable floor coverings that do not present any risk in terms of smoke formation.
- A2 fl: only achievable by non-flammable floor coverings with low levels of organic binding agents.
- B fl: flame-retardant construction products with a radiation intensity of 8 kW/m2.
- C fl: flame-retardant construction products with a radiation intensity of 4.5 kW/m2.
- D fl: normally flammable construction products with 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 luxury vinyl tiles (LVT).
Anything with a classification below C fl (or German B1) is considered a fire risk and therefore is not suited to use in the majority of spaces including housing accommodation, office blocks and doorway entrances.
Smoke production can also be tested, which takes the fire testing standard a step forward and makes it more reliable.
If a lot of smoke is produced by a burning material, it can pose a danger to human health as well as to 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’.
A doormat with a B fl-s1 or a C fl-s1 classification is perfectly suitable for commercial flooring applications, including use in blocks of offices and flats. This means that everyone can enjoy the benefits of having a doormat without worrying about creating a potential fire hazard.