Efectis has produced a new scientific article to separate truth from falsehood with respect to the fire safety of our living room sofas. The regulations for upholstered furniture are defined nationally and lead to very different safety levels across Europe.

Efectis studied the fire performance of sofas across Europe and demonstrates the differences in the fire safety of sofas in different countries. Firstly, the regulations were compared. Next, real sofas were purchased across Europe and tested, first on their own and then several of them in a same-room scenario.

The fire performance of such upholstered furniture is related to its constitution and possibly to the improvement of its performance by physical and/or chemical means such as flame retardant and fire barriers. Results are presented from a performance viewpoint and do not focus on the different technical solutions that can be envisaged. The results clearly show the effect of stricter regulations. Not necessarily on the maximum heat release, but mainly on the time available to escape, which is critical in many fire scenarios.

Regulations may have a positive effect, but they have to be performance-based, evaluated properly and implemented with due regard to market surveillance.

The article is accessible open access at the following link:
Guillaume E, de Feijter R, van Gelderen L. An overview and experimental analysis of furniture fire safety regulations in Europe. Fire and Materials. 2020;1–16. https://doi.org/10.1002/fam.2826

Contact: Eric Guillaume – eric.guillaume@efectis.com