What is NFPA 701?
The National Fire Protection Association 701 (NFPA 701) determines flammability for textile fabrics and films. The NFPA 701 standard is important for businesses renting or selling outdoor textiles that require materials such as draperies, curtains, and tents to be flame retardant.
NFPA 701 mandates a char length less than 6.5 inches, an after- flame time of two seconds or less, and self-extinguishing material drips. Most states require that those using outdoor event tenting have CPAI 84 and/or NFPA 701 certification. While both standards measure fire resistance, NFPA 701 also determines flame retardancy and is often required by fire marshals. Tenting certified under both signifies higher levels of fire safety.
There are two test methods for NFPA 701. NFPA 701-1 (test method 1) is a small-scale test for material less than or equal to 21 oz. per square yard. Examples of these materials are single-layer fabrics, multi-layer curtains and drapery fastened together by sewing or other means, table skirts, table linens, display booth separators, and textile wall hangings. NFPA 701 test method one uses ten samples and ten separate tests with results that are averaged together.
NFPA 701-2 (test method 2) is a large-scale test for fabrics weighing more than 21 oz. per square yard. Fabrics such as blackout linings, awnings, and heavier tents or tarps designed for outdoor use are tested with a much larger sample than test method one because of how hard it is to predict how the heavier fabric will react when exposed to fire. This large scale test method is similar to the CAN/ULC-S109 large flame test.