Fire Safety Tips: Avoiding Fire Hazards Associated with Upholstered Furniture

Fire Safety Status Check

To be safe, you should be able to answer “yes” to the following statements.   

  • Upholstered furniture fabrics made from vinyl, wool, or thermoplastic fibers are generally selected for safety reasons. 
  • I check thoroughly after parties for ashes or unextinguished cigarettes that may have fallen behind and between cushions and under furniture. 
Safety Tips 
  • Look for furniture designed to reduce the likelihood of furniture fire from cigarettes. Much of the furniture manufactured today has significantly greater resistance to catching fire by cigarettes than upholstered furniture manufactured 10 to 15 years ago. 

    This is particularly true of furniture manufactured to comply with the requirements of the Upholstered Furniture Action Council’s (UFAC) Voluntary Action Program. Such upholstered furniture may be identified by the gold colored tag on the furniture item. The legend on the front of the tag in red letters states -- “Important Consumer Safety Information from UFAC.” Look for fabrics made predominantly from thermoplastic fibers (nylon, polyester, acrylic, olefin) because they resist ignition by burning cigarettes better than cellulosic fabrics (rayon or cotton).

    In general, the higher the thermoplastic content, the greater the resistance to cigarette ignition. 

  • Always check the furniture where smokers have been sitting for improperly discarded smoking materials. Ashes and lighted cigarettes can fall unnoticed behind or between cushions or under furniture. 
  • Do not place or leave ashtrays on the arms of chairs where they can be knocked off.

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