The 411 on Flameproofing Scenery

We New Yorkers love a good Broadway show, don't we? As those who live and work in Manhattan, the theater is close to our hearts. While we are enjoying these incredible performances, it's highly unlikely that we are even thinking about how combustible some of these amazing sets and scenery could be if they weren't properly flameproofed. In the U.S., there have been several cases of devastating fires in theaters. Because sets and scenery are changed so often from performance to performance - and even within performances - it could be easy to lose track of what's been flameproofed and what needs to be flameproofed. However, fireproofing scenery is an FDNY safety regulation, and today we will be discussing all the details.

According to FDNY standards, if a building uses items that would be classified as scenery, these items must be treated with fire retardants.  Locations that would fall into this category are theaters, nightclubs, catering halls, and concert halls.  The criteria that apply to scenery are as follows: the materials used must have a Class-A flame spread rating, they must be sprayed with or soaked in flame repellents, or they must be already inherently non-combustible. This is the standard set forth by the FDNY; however, a fire commissioner is able to use his judgment and grant an exemption if, after a thorough inspection, he deems that an equal measure of protection from fire is already in place at the location in question.

There are various methods for flameproofing scenery, and the FDNY doesn't command or require any particular one. However, there are certain practices that they consider 'best practices.' Sets and scenery are most effectively protected when the fire retardants are applied prior to painting or sealing. If the fireproofing treatments take place after painting or sealing, the chemicals might not be fully absorbed into the set materials. However, if the items have already been sealed or painted, certain flame repellents are designed with clear acrylic, which can help with flame repellent absorption.

The rules for scenery not only apply to indoor theaters but also to outside events. The materials used for outdoor scenery must be coated with or soaked in fire retardants or they must be deemed already inherently non-combustible. Items that would fall into this category are umbrellas, fabric awnings, canopies, and other decorations. If you are in question as to whether your outdoor event would fall into this category and the scenery would need to be flameproofed, the basic guideline is that if your event requires a permit, the flameproofing regulations for scenery would apply. Also in this category would be special effect design sites as well as flameproofing tablecloths, clothing, and rigging materials.

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of a performance or event, but it's extremely important to public safety that scenery be properly flameproofed. As the entertainment industry is considered the bread and butter of NYC, it is vital that fire safety not be neglected here. At Manhattan Flameproofing, we are dedicated to keeping NYC's residents, tourists, employees, and patrons safe from the threat of fire. By using our expertise in flameproofing, we can help keep your entertainment site safe. Please call us today for a free, no-obligation estimate: 1-800-268-7993.