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ASTM E2280-21

Standard Guide for Fire Hazard Assessment of the Effect of Upholstered Seating Furniture Within Patient Rooms of Health Care Facilities

Standard Guide for Fire Hazard Assessment of the Effect of Upholstered Seating Furniture Within Patient Rooms of Health Care Facilities E2280-21 ASTM|E2280-21|en-US Standard Guide for Fire Hazard Assessment of the Effect of Upholstered Seating Furniture Within Patient Rooms of Health Care Facilities Standard new BOS Vol. 04.07 Committee E05
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Significance and Use

4.1 This guide is intended for use by those undertaking the development of fire hazard assessments for upholstered seating furniture in health care occupancies.

4.2 As a guide this document provides information on an approach to development of a fire hazard assessment, but fixed procedures are not established. Section 1.7 describes some cautions to be taken into account.

4.3 A fire hazard assessment developed following this guide should specify all steps required to determine fire hazard measures for which safety thresholds or pass/fail criteria can be meaningfully set by responsible officials using the standard.

4.4 A fire hazard assessment developed as a result of using this guide should be able to assess a new item of upholstered seating furniture being considered for use in a certain health care facility, and reach one of the conclusions in 4.4.1 – 4.4.4.

4.4.1 The new upholstered seating furniture item is safer, in terms of predicted fire performance, than the one in established use. Then, the new product would be desirable, from the point of view of fire safety.

4.4.2 There is no difference between the predicted fire safety of the new item and the one in established use. Then, there would be neither advantage nor disadvantage in using the new product, from the point of view of fire safety.

4.4.3 The new upholstered seating furniture item is predicted to be less safe, in terms of fire performance, than the one in established use. Then, the new item would be less desirable, from the point of view of fire safety than the one in established use. If the new upholstered furniture item is predicted to be less safe, in terms of fire performance, than the one in established use, a direct substitution of the products would provide a lower level of safety and the new product should not be used, without other compensatory changes being made. A new upholstered furniture product can, however, be made acceptable if, and only if, it is part of a complete, comprehensive, fire safety design for the patient room. Such a patient room redesign should include one or more of the following features: use of an alternative layout (albeit one that cannot be altered by the patient room users) or increased use of automatic fire protection systems or changes in other furnishings or contents. In such cases, a more in-depth fire hazard assessment should be conducted to ensure that all of the changes together have demonstrated a predicted level of fire safety for the new design which is at least equal to that for the design in established use, in order to permit the use of the new upholstered seating furniture item. Alternatively, the new design may still be acceptable if the predicted level of fire safety is commensurate with new stated fire safety objectives developed in advance.

4.4.4 The new upholstered seating furniture item offers some safety advantages and some safety disadvantages over the item in established use. An example of this outcome could be increased smoke obscuration with decreased heat release. Then, a more in depth fire hazard assessment would have to be conducted to balance the advantages and disadvantages.

4.5 If the patient room does not contain an upholstered seating furniture item, then the fire hazard assessment implications of the introduction of an upholstered seating furniture item should be analyzed in the same way as in 4.4. The fire safety should then be compared with that achieved in the room in established use (which has no upholstered seating furniture). The same analysis would also apply if an additional upholstered furniture item is being considered for introduction in a patient room: the fire hazard assessment should compare the fire safety implications of the addition.

4.5.1 An additional upholstered furniture item adds to the fuel load of a room. Thus, an analysis such as that in 4.4 would offer options 4.4.2 through 4.4.4 only.

4.6 Following the analysis described in 4.4, a fire hazard assessment developed following the procedures in this guide would reach a conclusion regarding the desirability of the furniture product studied.

4.7 An alternative to the analysis based on the anticipated fire performance of the materials or products contained in the patient room is the use of active fire protection measures, such as fire suppression sprinklers. Active fire protection involves measures such as automatic sprinklers and alarm systems, while passive fire protection involves using materials that are difficult to burn and give off low heat and smoke if they do burn. Traditional prescriptive requirements are based exclusively on passive fire protection, with the common approach being to describe the fire tests to be met for every property. The opposite extreme is based entirely on active fire protection, which assumes that active fire protection measures (mostly sprinklers) ensure fire safety. The fire safety record of sprinklers is excellent, but not flawless. Moreover, neither approach gives the type of flexibility that is the inherent advantage of fire hazard and fire risk assessments.

4.7.1 Note that the activation of automatic fire suppression sprinklers does not ensure a safe level of smoke obscuration.

4.8 This guide provides information on a different type of fire hazard assessment than Guide E2061. While Guide E2061 considers an entire occupancy, namely a rail transportation vehicle, this guide addresses a specific product, namely upholstered furniture.


1.1 This is a guide to developing fire hazard assessments for upholstered seating furniture, within patient rooms of health care occupancies. As such, it provides methods and contemporary fire safety engineering techniques to develop a fire hazard assessment for use in specifications for upholstered seating furniture in such occupancies.

1.2 Hazard assessment is an estimation of the potential severity of the fires that can develop with certain products in defined scenarios, once the incidents have occurred. Hazard assessment does not address the likelihood of a fire occurring, but is based on the premise that an ignition has occurred.

1.3 Because it is a guide, this document cannot be used for regulation, nor does it give definitive instructions on how to conduct a fire hazard assessment.

1.4 This guide is intended to provide assistance to those interested in mitigating the potential damage from fires associated with upholstered furniture in patient rooms in health care occupancies.

1.5 Thus, this guide can be used to help assess the fire hazard of materials, assemblies, or systems intended for use in upholstered furniture, by providing a standard basis for studying the level of fire safety associated with certain design choices. It can also aid those interested in designing features appropriate to health care occupancies. Finally, it may be useful to safety personnel in health care occupancies.

1.6 This guide is a focused application of Guide E1546, which offers help in reference to fire scenarios that are specific to upholstered furniture in health care occupancies, and includes an extensive bibliography. It differs from Guide E1546 in that it offers guidance that is specific to the issue of upholstered furniture in patient rooms of health care facilities, rather than general guidance. Appendix X11 includes some statistics on the magnitude of the potential problem in the U.S.

1.7 A fire hazard assessment conducted in accordance with this guide is strongly dependent on the limitations in the factors described in 1.7.1 – 1.7.4.

1.7.1 Input data (including their precision or accuracy).

1.7.2 Appropriate test procedures.

1.7.3 Fire models or calculation procedures that are simultaneously relevant, accurate and appropriate.

1.7.4 Advancement of scientific knowledge.

1.8 This guide addresses specific fire scenarios which begin inside or outside of the patient room. However, the upholstered furniture under consideration is inside the patient room.

1.9 The fire scenarios used for this hazard assessment guide are described in 9.2. They involve the upholstered furniture item within the patient room as the first or second item ignited, in terms of the room of fire origin. Additionally, consideration should be given to the effect of the patient room upholstered furniture item on the tenability of occupants of rooms other than the room of fire origin, and on that of potential rescuers.

1.10 This guide does not claim to address all fires that can occur in patient rooms in health care occupancies. In particular, fires with more severe initiating conditions than those assumed in the analysis may pose more severe fire hazard than that calculated using this guide (see also 9.5).

1.11 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.12 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.13 This fire standard cannot be used to provide quantitative measures.

1.14 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 04.07
Developed by Subcommittee: E05.15
Pages: 23
DOI: 10.1520/E2280-21
ICS Code: 11.140; 13.220.20