What Is an NFPA Class A Fire Rating?

By Adam Scarano

Forest fires may grab headlines but sometimes even taco Tuesday can lead to a kitchen fire or something just as devastating to a homeowner. Whether you're taking on a construction project or just clumsy in the kitchen it can be important to understand the fire ratings assigned to materials by the National Fire Protection Association.

...
Did somebody forget to turn off the stove?

Identification

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is responsible for instituting standards and codes for dealing with fire prevention. Their responsibilities range from building codes to what kind of gear firefighters need to suit up in when tackling an inferno.

Considerations

When taking on a construction project it's important to be aware of the flame spread rating (FSR) assigned to construction materials by the NFPA. The ASTM E 84 or "tunnel test" determines the FSR. The test measures how quickly flames spread across a surface using cement-asbestos board as 0 and red oak as 100 for the scale.

Features

The most stringent rating available for building materials is Class A. Class A materials have an FSR of 0 to 25. The classification system provided by the NFPA allows architects and engineers to select the best materials for fire safety when starting new projects.