“primary” furniture fires, that is fires which start or initially develop in the furniture (are in effect “caused” by the flammability of the furniture) and secondary fires (fires in which the furniture is destroyed, but which start and develop in other items)
of the primary fires: fires which are limited to the item of furniture, fires which spread to the whole room, and fires which spread outside the room (whole house)
B a s e d o n s t a t i s t i c s f r o m D T L R 6 a f i r e s t a t i s t i c s m o d e l w a s d e v e l o p e d a s s u m i n g t h a t t h e s o f a s h a d a 10 year life cycle and that changes in “confined to item” and “confined to room” since the introduction of the 1988 regulations depend solely on FR treatment of the sofas. The model is presented in the table below.
Fires starting in sofa
Fires confined to sofa
Fires starting in sofa confined to room
Fires starting in sofa confined to building
Fires/million sofas Primary fires
Secondary Fires Fires confined to living room not starting in sofa Fires confined to building
Replacement after fires
The Fire-LCA model takes into account replacement of furniture, house contents and the whole house after fires, as a function of the different gravity of fires and of the fire statistics (for frequency estimation). Replacement furniture is counted for 50% of the energy consumption, pollutant emission and resources consumption related to its manufacture, on the assumption that on average it will have served 50% of its useful life at the time of a fire. The same 50% rule is applied to house contents. For the house itself, LCA data for a standard Swedish prefabricated wooden frame house of 121 m2 were used.
Furniture fire tests
Full scale furniture fire tests were carried out using the three different sofas at SP Swedish National Testing and Research Institute, in Boras.
These tests involved three stages:
ignition tests on the three sofa models,
burn tests of each of the three sofa models,
burn tests of fully furnished rooms, each containing one of the three model sofas.
The results of the tests provided emission data as LCA-input to the fire modules in the Fire-LCA model.
The furniture Fire-LCA compared, for FR and non-FR furniture, the typical environmental impact indicators generally used in such studies. However, the specificity of this study was the assessment of a number of pollutants typically associated with fires and/or potentially with furniture manufacture, use or disposal. The most significant species studied included carbon monoxide (the killer gas in many accidental fires), NOx, hydrogen cyanide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), hydrogen chloride, chlorinated and brominated dioxins/furans (TCDD/F, TBDD/F).
Assessment of production of these pollutants over the furniture’s life cycle was carried out using available data for emissions during production, emissions related to energy consumption, emissions in disposal and emissions during accidental fires. The latter were estimated by multiplying real measured emissions from the fire tests carried out on FR and non-FR furniture