Flammability and fire testing services evaluate finished products or components through specialized environmental exposure tests. A number of industries take great interest and participate in costly implementations using flammability and fire testing services, including textiles and clothing, commercial building, bedding and furniture manufacturing, industrial machining, power and light, and semiconductor/electronics production. Flammability and fire testing services also test products to evaluate the spread of heat, smoke and flame in varying internal environmental conditions of houses, commercial kitchens (e.g., with particular focus on stove hoods), and automobiles. These flammability and fire testing services often use highly specialized equipment to determine the temperature limitations for specific, fire-resistant combustibles and statistics on flashover, flame-over, and back draft.
Common applications for flammability and fire testing services include industry-requirements testing; customized service testing for research and development needs; and testing to meet association standards. Many different types of fire service testing equipment and methodology are used to perform a wide range of fire testing services. Some fire service testing is performed in laboratories by small-series equipment or in large apparatus designed to perform a flammability test against an exterior surface. The governing standards for most flammability and fire testing services are the 200 and 700 series of the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), as well combustibles standards issued by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International, and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Lab-sized units can range from 45-degree flammability testers required for all apparel wear in the United States to critical radiant flux (CRF) panel testers for floors, carpets, and insulation. The NFPA 700 series regulations specify requirements for fire testing service on medium and large-area surfaces. Manufacturers and suppliers use intermediate scale multistory test apparatus (ISMA) and large scale flammability testers (LSFT) per NFPA 701 to test fire doors, floor-to-ceiling assemblies, hanging materials, interior and exterior walls, transportation materials, large tents, and even hot-air balloons.