According to the FDNY, over 26,000 structural fires occurred in New York City in 2010 alone. Research has shown that flame-resistant or flameproofed materials can help stop these disastrous fires from starting and keep the flames from spreading.
The FDNY requires that all decorations, drapes, curtains, and other materials used for artistic enhancement in public buildings be flameproofed in order to reduce the number of structural fires and the numerous deaths that occur as a result.
The FDNY requires that curtains, drapes, hangings and decorations in public assembly areas within buildings be flameproofed. These public areas include: common areas in hotels (excludes guest rooms), theaters and public halls (except places of religious worship), department stores (excludes decorations displayed for sale), multiple dwellings, office buildings, institutional buildings, and educational buildings.
The building owner is responsible for making sure that the building meets Fire Department requirements. FDNY inspectors may make unannounced inspections of the premises in order to ascertain that all materials used for artistic enhancement are fire-resistant. If violations are observed, action will be taken against the owner, which may result in the owner being fined.
Flameproofing may be done in one of two ways: either soaking or coating the material in fire retardant. Once this has been done, Certified Flameproofing will issue a sworn Affidavit of Flame Resistance, which must then be filed by the building owner with the Fire Commissioner. The affidavit is valid for a maximum of one year. If the materials are washed, dry cleaned, or the flame-resistive properties are otherwise rendered ineffective, they must be fire proofed again.