NFPA and ASFR-6- What do they have in common?
Let’s start with the NFPA
The National Fire Protection Association or NFPA is US-based non-profit organization committed to mitigate the impact of fire and other related hazards in order to enhance the quality of life for people all over the world. The NFPA is able to accomplish this objective by providing and campaigning for the importance of consensus codes, international standards, training, information-dissemination, and research-based findings on how to significantly reduce the risk and effects of fire.
The NFPA has promulgated at least 300 codes and standards to establish standardized criteria for residential and industrial buildings.One of the most important standard is the NFPA 701 because it provides test methods to for materials that are sold as protective cover for sensitive equipment and combustible materials.
Compliance to NFPA regulations compelled industrial manufacturers to develop a material that is moisture-proof, easy-to-handle, lightweight, with anti-static capabity, and at the same time fire retardant. The first thing that comes to mind is the use of plastic material that has fire-retardant qualities. However, the weakness of plastic materials is poor electrical conductivity and therefore prone to generate static charge. Manufacturers tried to develop the best product that addresses the said needs. ASFR-6 is an anti-static, fire retardant polyethylene plastic that is 6 mils thick.
Anti-Static and Flame Retardant Cover
In order to comply with NFPA regulations it is imperative to develop tough and flexible plastic material. The practical way is to use low-density polyethylene or LDPE because it is inexpensive to produce and has all the features needed to create a durable and flexible plastic cover. LDPE has been tested in products that have demanding performance requirements such as stretch wrap and food packaging application. It is easy to transform the raw material into a moisture-proof cover to protect combustible materials from the degrading effect of high water vapor content in the air as well as accidental splashes of hazardous chemicals or cleaning agents in the said storage area. LDPE is known to have high chemical resistance and high flex crack resistance.
The plastic tarp may be tough and waterproof but it is not fireproof. Plastics are combustible materials. If fire is introduced into the area, plastics easily catch fire. An added improvement into the design was to incorporate fire retardants. Flame retardants are defined as a type of chemical compound that reduces pyrolysis reaction and slows down the burn rate of fire.
The designers of the ASFR6 had another hurdle to overcome. The durable plastic sheath has one major flaw; it has the capacity to concentrate static charge on its surface due to poor electrical conductivity. It has been reported that static charge can cause electric shocks to employees and in some cases the spark can cause fire and explosions. The manufacturer solved this problem by integrating electrostatic-discharge-dissipating materials into the plastic cover. The ASFR6 is printed with anti-static material making it an ideal cover for electrical equipment and combustible materials. Since the ASFR6 passes the NFPA 701-99 Test it can be used as a protective cover or wall partition in construction sites and industrial facilities.