Thursday, February 6, 2014

So You're Preparing For Your First National Stationery Show: Fire-retardant

I've received a collection of questions over the years regarding this Big Event. If you're like me, it can feel overwhelming, particularly if it's your first time, so I thought I'd share some ideas and experiences I've had over the years. I don't have all the answers and, obviously, these are just my opinions, not facts. I hope you'll find them helpful:

Question regarding flameproofing:
I was reading in the set-up manual that everything in the booth has to be flame-resistant - from the walls, etc. Does that mean that, for example, the table, chairs, lamps, FLOR carpet tiles, any sort of paper displays (I had been planning to make huge paper collage cut-outs of my designs, either from paper or foamboard) have to be treated with flame-retardants? The manual recommended some outside companies as well as their own flameproofing services in the Javits Center. I was wondering what your experience was with this - do you have a company you would recommend? 

I know your walls need to be flame-retardant. If you have fabric walls, you'll have to purchase some liquid flame-retardant and apply it to your materials yourself. There are some pre-treated materials out there as well but they can be expensive. If you plan on using foam core, you'll have to purchase a flame-retardant version. Wood walls don't need to be treated, however, they can be heavy which will add to your shipping expense.

Presently, I have fabric walls and have had to apply a liquid flame-retardant myself. Here's the contact information for the company I've used:

West Coast Fire Shield
Attention: John Cherry
1814 Elzworth Street
Bakersfield CA 93312
(661) 588-2183

These guys will also supply a certificate to certify that the fabric has been looked after with their product which is pretty useful.

You don't have to worry about chairs, tables, or lamps if they're made out of traditional materials. The fire marshal won't bother with these items.

I don't believe FLOR carpet tiles will need any flame-retardant treatment but I'm not 100% sure. I've never heard of anyone having an issue with this. There's a lot more that can be said about choosing not only an attractive, but COMFORTABLE type of flooring for your booth, but that's another topic for another time.

I'm not sure about big paper collage cut-outs. I don't think it's an issue and I don't know how you could treat any paper with flame-retardant. If you did, it would curl, thereby rendering it pretty tough to work with. I know of one booth that has had an amazing paper collage for the past two years. I don't know if they treated it or not, nor do I know if they ran into any problems with the Javits fire marshal. I doubt it.

I know of a manufacturer who ran into problems BIG TIME a couple of years ago when they tried to erect a booth made entirely out of corrugated cardboard. They were asked to take it down before the show began. They had to whip up a new booth at the last minute. YIKES! Again, you could treat the corrugated cardboard with flame-retardant, but it would warp and curl.

If you have any additional ideas or thoughts you'd like to add, please let me know. I'm happy to include them here so that we can all benefit from a collection of experiences.