James Parsegian, supervising deputy state fire marshal at CAL FIRE, the Office of the California State Fire Marshal, offers details on California’s codes and regulations.
How does the OSFM define FR?
Flame retardant, as it relates to the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM), refers to the statutorial requirements for flame retardant chemicals and fabrics. All tents and decorative materials for use in OSFM regulated occupancies are required to be flame retardant in accordance with California Health and Safety Code (HSC) 13115, 13116, 13119 and 13126 and California Code of Regulations, Title 19 (CCR, T-19) Division 1, Chapters 2 and 8.
What FR testing and/or certification is needed under the California codes?
The standard tests required by regulation are CCR, Title 19 Section 1237.1 (Small Scale), and/or 1237.2 (Large scale), dependent upon indoor, outdoor, or indoor/outdoor use of the material. Testing shall be completed only through OSFM-approved laboratories. Materials meeting the test standards are registered through the OSFM as flame retardant chemicals or fabrics in the Flame Retardant Program.
OSFM does not recognize NFPA 701 for the purposes of decorative materials. The 1237 test methods are detailed in CCR, T-19, Division 1, Chapter 8, Sections 1237-1237.2.
All tent (either CPAI 84 for camping tentage or T-19, 1237.2 for large tents) materials used in OSFM regulated occupancies and materials designated by local authorities having jurisdiction must meet CCR T-19.
What are fire marshals looking for when reviewing certifications?
When reviewing decorative fabrics or materials, and tents registered with OSFM, authorities review the laboratory test reports and look for indications, such as labeling or certificates issued by the manufacturer or applicator bearing the OSFM seal with the fabric or applicator number identified in the lower box of the seal.