What is a fire safety label?
Permanent fire safety labels are legally required on upholstered items and furnishing such as a sofa, with the intention of letting people know that the item complies with British Fire Safety Regulations. Many upholstered items contain foams, fillings and other materials, that could potentially be flammable and because of this, items must have set levels of fire resistance determined through a series of flammability tests.
The fire regulations state that:
Mattresses, divans and bed base fire regulations are covered under a separate British Standard, more information on it can be found in further information and advice at the end of this guide.
To be able to donate your upholstered item to a charity, the permanent fire safety label must be attached – otherwise they will not be able to take it from you. Please keep your fire safety labels attached to your items of furniture for this reason!
How to check if the fire label is legally compliant
Permanent labels can come in two formats and will typically look like the following examples provided by FIRA (Furniture Industry Research Association):
When furniture is sold as a collection of items (such as sofa and two armchairs) the permanent label must be present on each individual item. Permanent labels can also sometimes be incorporated with other labels, such as the care label.
Where to find the fire label
The labels can typically be found sewn in under a cushion, or on the edges of an item. Sometimes the labels can also be found underneath the item too.
Fire labels on mattresses, divans, and bed bases
The fire labels for mattresses, divans and bed bases are covered by a separate piece of legislation – BS 7177. They typically look like the following label:
The label on mattresses and bed bases are usually sewn in and located at the bottom of the item.
If your item does not have a fire label attached
Unfortunately you will not be able to donate your item to charity without the fire label attached. Charities would be breaking the law if they collected it from you and sold the item to another person without the assurance it is safe.