What Are Fire Ratings, And What Do They Mean?
If a display board has been tested and complies to fire ratings, you will find it has codes of numbers and letters printed on its label or information sticker. Products sold in the UK must always comply with British fire rating standards - but the best quality products also comply with European standards, too.
British Fire Rating Standards
The main code you’re looking for in British standards is BS 2476. This test monitors the speed and coverage of fire spread; testing products that have been designed specifically so they do not contribute to the growth of a fire. This is the rating standard that gives us Class 0 notice boards. This test is done for noticeboards by first igniting a fire at the front of the board, and then directly igniting the bottom edge of the noticeboard itself. The results are then processed and certified; rating items from Class 0 to Class 4. Class 0 is the highest - therefore the safest - rating it’s possible to achieve.
There are two other fire rating codes you could look for under the British standards: BS 5897 Part 2 1980 and BS 476 Part 7. The first of these tests refers to the type of fabric, and whether this is certified as non-contributory to a fire. The second covers the lateral spread of a fire after 1.5-10 mins, indicating how effective the product materials are at slowing the spread of flame.
European Fire Rating Standards
The code you’ll see on your noticeboard that refers to the European fire safety certifications is BS EN 13501. This test monitors the direct burning of a noticeboard and examines if any harmful fumes or smoke is emitted from the burning board. The classification rates products from Class A to Class F. Class A is the highest (safest) rating it’s possible to achieve under the European standards, however, Class B is the highest rating currently achieved by any UK manufacturer.
Will I Find Any Other Fire Safety Codes on my Noticeboards?
Yes, you will find a number of different codes on your product, but only the codes mentioned above pertain to fire-retardancy. All other codes cover different tests; these might indicate the colour fastness of a product, the reaction to artificial light or natural sunlight in terms of fading, the reaction to water or condensation etc.
Where Are Fire Rated Noticeboards Required?
In locations where there are 25 people or more present at any one time, you are required by law to select fire-rated products for corridors, stairwells, escape routes and large unsupervised areas. This applies to offices, medical facilities, government buildings, town halls and community centres, schools, colleges, universities, nurseries, training centres and libraries, as well as hospitality and entertainment venues.
For more information on how to make your premises fire safe according to UK Gov regulations, you can review the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
What Are Flameshield Noticeboards And Why Are They So Important?
Our range of Fire Rated Notice Boards are certified to the highest standards possible to attain in the UK - British Class 0 and European Class B. These certifications mean that Flameshield noticeboards take almost 40 seconds longer than standard noticeboards to catch alight and contribute very little to the spread and growth of a blaze.
But why is this so important? Think about counting to 40seconds. Watch the second hand of a clock tick round. That’s a lot longer than you think, isn’t it? Now think about what that time means if you’re trying to evacuate a building where a fire has been reported. Think about how many more lives could be saved in those 40 seconds. In addition, as Flameshield noticeboards are designed not to contribute to a blaze, they are actively working to slow the spread of a fire, keeping exit routes fire and smoke-free for as long as possible. This is why, if you’re going to install noticeboards in an escape route, corridor or thoroughfare - or in a space where more than 25 people gather - Class 0 noticeboards are a legal requirement as a safety feature. This applies to schools, nurseries, hospitals, colleges, offices and other areas with a high level of unattended footfall.