The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has established methods for testing fire propagation in hanging fabrics such as stage curtains. Article 701 defines procedures for two laboratory tests. “Method 1” applies to most stage fabrics weighing 21 oz per square yard or less (as actually weighed, not as manufacturer advertised). "Method 2" is for all vinyl backed fabrics and fabrics weighing over 21oz per square yard. 701 tests are very exacting laboratory tests that require strict adherence to precise laboratory procedures, special testing jigs, specific pre-test conditioning and a statistical analysis of the results. 701 tests yield the most accurate and most reliable results. New stage curtains should only be constructed from fabrics with acceptable NFPA 701 test results.

Theater curtains should be tested annually to verify they meet NFPA 705 standards. If any samples fail or produce questionable results, the curtains should be removed or a 701 test should be performed.

The 705 test procedure, in a nutshell, is:
1) Remove a suitable sample of the material to be tested, 1/2” X 4” or greater.
2) In a safe location with no draft, expose the sample to a flame from a common kitchen match, or other similar source, for 12 seconds.
3) Remove the flame. The sample should self extinguish within 2 seconds, less than 4” of sample should have been consumed, and drippy fireballs, if any, should self extinguish upon or before contact with the ground.

If you are unsure about the flame retardancy of any of your stage curtains, or it has been more than 12 months since they were last tested, call us and we will arrange for one of our professional local dealers to stop by. They can test and evaluate your curtains for you and update the labels to reflect the new test date. In most cases there is no charge for this service.

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