Got a Print Project? Do You Need to Worry About Fire Rating Classifications?

Choosing the right interior or exterior display is important. It’s the perfect opportunity to grab someone’s attention with the perfect colours and intricate designs that leave a lasting impact and make your large print products instantly recognisable with your brand. However, a commonly overlooked factor is the safety of those printed materials.

fire safety exit

Whether it’s a display in a high-traffic commercial area or an signage indoors, each product should have its minimum safety requirements – including fire safety.


Who’s Responsible for Meeting Fire Rating Classifications?

A professional, responsible print company will only ever use classified and safe materials. Not doing so is to put people’s lives in danger. It is their responsibility to provide you with certified print materials.

In case you have any doubt as to whether your current or potential supplier is using unsafe materials, here’s everything you need to get upto speed and challenge them on how they operate.

 

How Fire Rating Classifications are Determined

The most common way to measure fire safety is by using the Euroclass method. This is a standardised classification method which was developed in the late 1990s to determine which materials belong in which classification based on how combustible they are.

In regular-English: Materials are tested to see how easily they set on fire. The tests that are done for each fire rating classification aims to replicate how print products might perform in real-life situations.

For example, if a free-standing display unit, display stand or even a dump bin caught on fire, it reveals how the products in question would react to the fire. It could either worsen or restrict fire growth.

Once the tests are completed on the products and materials used in print projects – or anything else for that matter – it reveals which fire rating classification it belongs in.

 

Fire Rating Classifications to Consider

The Euroclass system determines a product’s performance by measuring a comprehensive set of characteristics. These tests include flame spread, ignitability, heat release, smoke production and propensity for producing flaming droplets.

It’s important that you’re familiar with the fire rating classifications before diving into your print projects. This way, you’ll be well aware of the tests that have been completed to determine the rating the products have been given, how hazardous they are or even if they’re products you know you’re going to avoid.

The classifications run from A1 to F and as you’ll be able to see below, each one is defined with several examples.

Euroclass A1

Definition: Materials and products in this fire rating classification are deemed non-combustible, meaning they are safe to use for your print projects if a fire does break out.

Example Materials: Stone Wool, Bricks, Concrete and Glass Wool.

Euroclass A2

Definition: Materials and products in this fire rating are deemed to have limited combustibility. However, they’re still safe to use.

Example Materials: Some A1 materials with organic facings.

Euroclass B

Definition: Materials and products in this fire rating are deemed to be combustible.

Example Materials: Some phenolic foams used in insulation.

Euroclass C

Definition: Materials and products in this fire rating are deemed to be combustible.

Example Materials: Phenolic and polyisocyanurate (PIR).

Euroclass D

Definition: Materials and products in this fire rating are deemed to be combustible.

Example Materials: PIR.

Euroclass E

Definition: Materials and products in this fire rating are deemed to be combustible.

Example Materials: Flame retardant expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and polyurethane (PUR).

Euroclass F

Definition: Materials and products in this fire rating are deemed to be combustible.

Example Materials: PUR.

Class 0

Some combustible products feature a ‘Class 0’ rating when discussing fire performance. However, this classification refers to only the spread of flame and not how combustible a product is. For materials to attain a Class 0 rating they need to have met a Class 1 rating.

  • Class 1 – if the spread of flame is no greater than 165mm.
  • Class 2 (or II) – if the spread of flame is no greater than 215mm in the first 90 seconds (one and a half minutes) and the overall spread is no more than 455mm.


To Sum Up…

  • Any print products you use which are classified as A1 are non-combustible.
  • A2 products have limited combustibility – meaning they have limited contribution to fire growth.
  • Classifications B and below are all combustible and can contribute to fire growth.

In your print project, you’d need to take all of the fire rating classifications into account. It primarily revolves around the materials that are used and while not every rating will matter to you, it’s important to have a better understanding of each one ahead of your project.

Knowing what materials are used in your print projects means you’ll be able to compare them to each rating to determine just how safe they really are to use in the case of a fire.

This includes everything involved in your project, from the frames and supports right through to the ink that’s used.


Fire Rating Considerations is Good Practice

Some people believe that a company’s sole focus should be on making a profit. Others, however, believe companies should approach their work in an ethical manner.

Although it’s a factor which is commonly overlooked by many, putting fire rating considerations into practice is ethical and has many benefits, including boosting your company’s reputation and the safety of others.

It shows that you take safety seriously and is a high priority. That can leave a lasting impression to make you stand out from the competition – who might not be as fire safety conscious. However, fire safety considerations are just one of the many ways in which you can remain sustainable and ethical in your ways of working.

Working ethically can improve employee happiness, as studies have shown that 36 percent of people would work harder if they knew their company helped society. When they find out that you’re putting safety first with the fire classifications, they’d be much more motivated knowing they or the public aren’t in danger.

If your print project has the aim of securing investors, then working ethically is a good step towards that. Fire safety is just one of many ways which shows you’re operating in an ethical manner and they’ll be pleased to know their money will be used responsibly. On the other hand, investors might not be as keen if they find out if you aren’t fire safety conscious or that you’re generally working unethically.

Overall, working ethically is better for society. So, by implementing the fire rating classifications into your print projects to demonstrate your prioritisation of safety and sourcing materials via sustainable means to show how you practice environmental friendliness , you’ll be proving that you’re a company that values good business ethics.


Get More Information About Ethical Business Printing

Ethical behaviour can be a significant benefit if it’s instilled in company values. While there might be slight drawbacks such as freedom and maximising profit, there are many ways in which ethical practices can be implemented.

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