Author Topic: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks  (Read 8101 times)

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chops

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Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« on: Jan 29, 2008, 07:39 pm »
So I've been pondering this one for a while and figured I would see if anyone has some advice.  I have the policy in my theatres that no lose items are allowed on the catwalks above the audience.  We have shelves and bins at all of the catwalk access points to put any items into which are not secured to your body.  i.e. cell phones, tools, pocket change ect.  However I also have fire extinguishers in the catwalks.  These are hanging from various locations.  Should there be some sort of lanyard to secure the fire extinguisher to a belt loop or possibly a shoulder strap if someone has to use the fire extinguisher on the catwalk while people are below?   Or would the lanyard pose a hindrance for response time when suppressing a fire?
Peace,

Chops

KMC

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #1 on: Jan 29, 2008, 07:47 pm »
I think you're on the right direction that any kind of restraint would hinder an effort to put out the fire.  If you're in a situation where the extinguisher needs to be used, people will hear it and look up and see someone above them. 


Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

avkid

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #2 on: Jan 29, 2008, 11:48 pm »
Make sure they are in their proper brackets or approved cabinets.
http://www.ameraproducts.com/store/p/1122-Surface-Mounted-Fire-Extinguisher-Cabinet-Model-100.aspx
Type ABC Multi Chemical dry powder is what you should have.(inform someone if you see something else)
Check the gauge as frequently as you can remember.
Impeding the use of an extinguishing device will get you fined!
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

sailor_sam

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #3 on: Jan 30, 2008, 04:08 am »
In the area of North Carolina that I am in, it is against fire code to "tamer, alter, limit or block access/use,  or other wise change a fire extinguisher,pull, control panel or announcer."   

Fund out the hard way when building maintenance changed the color of the fire extinguishers from red to white "to fit in better", they coved all warning/info labels with the paint. Fire inspector came and inspected 24 hours prior to opening night and long story short, no one was aloud back in the building until new fire extinguishers were installed, inspected and the building re-inspected. 


jmc

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #4 on: Jan 30, 2008, 06:04 am »
Fire extinguishers on catwalks would be as ussless as boobs on a bull anyway & have the potential to cause more problems, than they could ever solve. I have never ever seen any installed here on catwalks. Only at the entrance of acess ways or enclosed areas, as they are only purely a first aid appliance of limited application.
However in saying that I have seen them mounted in the weirdest of places in my time. Where by if they were ever needed to be used, the operator would surely would be over come by smoke, attempting to go into a fire to grab one.
So much so there is a fire policy here in school class rooms, of no extingushers. Because teachers are not fire fighters & thier first priority is to follow fire drill procedures. Ensuring that everyone is evacuted to designated muster areas.
In our game these days, it is a safe bet that the cause of smoke is perpetued by electricty, shuting off the power & containg it will curtail more fires, than any gungho techie armed with  an extingusher ever will.
Personaly I ensure that all catwalks are kept clear of any objects that can likely become a missile aimed at one below, including pencils & especial ball piont pens.
Which reminds me of an incident many eaons ago at a theatre here.  A Dome operator droped a ball piont pen, from a Limes pulpit over the audiance, The pen ended up stuck in the soft spot of a punters head. It was a show stopper at the time & luckly enough he was restrained by a quick thinking punter behind, stopping him from attempting to remove it. He was aparently not badly hurt & I believe he had the pen mounted in a picture frame, after it was removed in hospital later. Which for him added another meaning to having a 'hole in the head'. I can't remember what the outcome was, but I would imagine that a quite a few Quid changed hands because of it.
The practice of Domes being operated over the audiance ceased after that!
  


 
Tio Tio Chookas
{May you always play to a full house}
'Hear the light & see the sound'

KMC

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #5 on: Jan 30, 2008, 10:26 am »
Fire extinguishers on catwalks would be as ussless as boobs on a bull anyway & have the potential to cause more problems, than they could ever solve. I have never ever seen any installed here on catwalks. Only at the entrance of acess ways or enclosed areas, as they are only purely a first aid appliance of limited application.


How do you figure?  CO2 extinguishers are perfect for this type of application where you're likely to encounter an electrical fire if anything.  Be careful when using CO2 extinguishers though as they put out the fire by suffocating it of oxygen; as such they take the oxygen away from you as well. 
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

Scott

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #6 on: Jan 30, 2008, 11:00 am »
A Dome operator droped a ball piont pen, from a Limes pulpit over the audiance

What's a Dome operator (assuming not the person who operates the dome on an enclosed stadium such as the Superdome) and what's a Limes pulpit (assuming not where margarita devotees go to preach)?

jmc

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #7 on: Jan 30, 2008, 12:07 pm »
Fire extinguishers on catwalks would be as ussless as boobs on a bull anyway & have the potential to cause more problems, than they could ever solve. I have never ever seen any installed here on catwalks. Only at the entrance of acess ways or enclosed areas, as they are only purely a first aid appliance of limited application.


How do you figure?  CO2 extinguishers are perfect for this type of application where you're likely to encounter an electrical fire if anything.  Be careful when using CO2 extinguishers though as they put out the fire by suffocating it of oxygen; as such they take the oxygen away from you as well. 
I agrea KMC with electrical switch gear especialy in enclosed areas.
However it is not very effective in large open areas, unless you can use it directly over a short distance, to evelope the seat of the fire. Such as fires in switchboards, ducting & the like. On catwalks in most regards, after the CO2 unit is spent. It is also handy to crash thru any obstructions restricting you, as you take long strides to the neatest exit.
Copping a gob full of it, wiil leave you crook [ill] for some time.
Dry Powder units will knacker any switch gear & equipment. The old BCF was very effective in that regard, even for small oil fires, but it was withdrawn a few years ago. 
Tio Tio Chookas
{May you always play to a full house}
'Hear the light & see the sound'

jmc

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #8 on: Jan 30, 2008, 12:28 pm »
A Dome operator droped a ball piont pen, from a Limes pulpit over the audiance

What's a Dome operator (assuming not the person who operates the dome on an enclosed stadium such as the Superdome) and what's a Limes pulpit (assuming not where margarita devotees go to preach)?
;DThat's a bewdy ScoTT!
I forgot to put the terms your use in brackets to clarify.
Followspot = 'Dome', 'Lime' or 'Drummond'. The pulpit is a platform usually swung off the Gods or the Balcony. Where the followspot is operated from, especialy in the Ewardain style theatres. Although when I did 'Disney on Parade' in a Big Top. The Limes were operated from the same arangements, of a Pulpit slung off the main poles. With a net under the spot, only to catch large falling objects, not the opertator.
« Last Edit: Jan 30, 2008, 03:27 pm by jmc »
Tio Tio Chookas
{May you always play to a full house}
'Hear the light & see the sound'

KMC

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #9 on: Jan 30, 2008, 12:32 pm »
Copping a gob full of it, wiil leave you crook [ill] for some time.

Yes indeed!  Fortunately most of the newer ones have a nice big cone towards the nozzle that can prevent the extinguisher from getting frozen to your person.  

An anecdote about that - during fire training we were being taught about CO2 extinguishers and how to properly use them, we were told a story of a very petite person who was trying to put out an electrical fire.  The person wasn't big enough to handle the extinguisher with both hands so they squeezed the extinguisher between their legs and used their hands to operate the hose and trigger.  They put out the fire but the extinguisher was frozen to their body - had to be taken to the hospital to have it removed, pretty serious damage as I recall.
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

jmc

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #10 on: Jan 30, 2008, 04:07 pm »
 [/quote]

  so they squeezed the extinguisher between their legs and used their hands to operate the hose and trigger.[/quote]
That makes ones eyes perspire! 
A blast of CO2 will also help! When an aloy metal exspandable watch band, is melted on to the wrist. This was after the band came in contact with a Live Buzz  Bar. The freezing saved molting metal burning the skin & it was relativly easy to pick out all the segments, using needle nose plyers. There was hardly a blumish & only a frozen wrist which hurt a lot more!
However I'm sure this does not help Chops one little bit - back on topic.
It may be best to find out from your local Fire Marshal as the Model Fire Code in your area. Also if the extinguishers are indeed the correct type, requirement &/or they have been installed in the correct location.   
« Last Edit: Jan 30, 2008, 04:08 pm by jmc »
Tio Tio Chookas
{May you always play to a full house}
'Hear the light & see the sound'

chops

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #11 on: Jan 30, 2008, 09:08 pm »
I do have to have fire extinguishers in the catwalks and they are on proper mounting brackets.  We even have a company who checks the pressure and condition of them about once per month.  Vegas does have fairly high standards when it comes to fire codes.  Monte Carlo excluded  :-[  I'm just torn between the policy of no lose items in the catwalk and the possibility of causing a hindrance in an emergency situation.  The fire marshal said that it was a good question and that he would get back to me.  The insurance company said the same thing.  I think that this whole thing comes down to my OCD about lose items overhead.  Being a former rigger I've seen a couple of close calls. 

Another anecdote about the CO2 extinguishers.  I was on the road at a fairly shabby theatre which I won't name.  Everything was up and running during sound check and I noticed a stagehand on stage left using a CO2 extinguisher on an electrical panel.  After inquiring why he was spraying down the panel he told me that this was how they cooled it off during shows so that it wouldn't melt or trip a breaker or something.  I would have been concerned but he was so casual about the whole thing that it seemed like just part of his daily duties.  The show went off great but there were a couple of times where you could hear a short burst of the fire extinguisher. 

Oh and some interesting news in the world of cirque.

http://thestrippodcast.blogspot.com/2008/01/breaking-mysteres-days-are-numbered.html
Peace,

Chops

jmc

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #12 on: Jan 31, 2008, 02:37 am »
It never fails to amaze me what some of these yoyo's get up to & thier electrix. They cobviously cobbled the fuses & /or Mains Breakers, in order to overload the current rate of the mains conductors. I guess the techie got his electrical licence out of a Wheet Bix packet.
I predict they won't need to upgrade the mains curent capacity & the wiring any time soon, after the venue burns down.
I came across something similar, at a Regional Venue a few years ago. They rigged up a heap of parcans on the stage, as lighting for a about a 10 table cafe set up. This was for thier annual centre open weekend celagration event, where they invite the public to view the centre & run a type of community fair ther.
The head Tech had these parcans working thru the dimmers for about 15 hours per day. He believed having the dimmers running them on about 50%, that  he could twice the amount of lights on one dimmer rack.
So realising the pack was starting to over heat & smoking a bit, he did the same CO2 quick fix. Even set up a number of portable fans in the patch bay, to keep the racks cool.
He was amazed when the dimmer racks sprung a major leak & all the smoke came pouring out of the dimmer packs & the 3 phase mains cables, started to burn back & leak smoke in the same manner.
Before he apparently used up the 4th CO2 extinguisher, The trusty Fire Brigade arrived to finish the dimmer racks off completely,
It wasn't his fault, because it must have been a fault with the dimmers that caused it!
Not being qualified or under standing the principles of Ohms Law, he was at a complete disadvantaged, in understanding that the dimmers are designed for short & variable duty. Not continuios at 50% of it's load capacity, which creates overheating & smoke starts a leaking.
If he had have been a licenced electrician, he would have understood the principle theory of Spectral Manifestation Of Known Emf [volts] or S.M.O.KE. for short.
Electricity is just that, it is generated with smoke
This was proved out by 'Bell Labs & can be checked easily when smoke is leaking out of equipment, it will eventualy run out of smoke - thus the equipment stops working!
Further Q&A can be found in articles on this site, which will help with understanding this theory;-
http://www.peizhang.com/forfun/forfun_writings_smoke.htm
Tio Tio Chookas
{May you always play to a full house}
'Hear the light & see the sound'

Mac Calder

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #13 on: Jan 31, 2008, 07:02 am »
The head Tech had these parcans working thru the dimmers for about 15 hours per day. He believed having the dimmers running them on about 50%, that  he could twice the amount of lights on one dimmer rack.

That theory is not exactly flawed - using an appropriate dimmer curve, you can easily run twice as many fixtures on the one dimmer channel. Provided your total draw is not above the rated capacity of any of your mains incomers. The problem is that dimmers are not 100% efficient.

Admittedly, duty cycle is not 100%, however most decent dimmers will easily cope with 15 hour days when loaded at close to capacity (even at 50%) - in fact in architectural dimming, it is quite common to have circuits which are at capacity at 25% with no problems.
« Last Edit: Jan 31, 2008, 07:07 am by Mac Calder »

jmc

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Re: Fire extinguishers on the catwalks
« Reply #14 on: Jan 31, 2008, 09:10 am »
That's true but the only hicup was the belief in being able to set each dim chanel at 50%, that in doing so, he would halve the output voltage [normally 254VAC ] on each channel.  Thus he could increase the wattage loading, without any effect on the amperage?
Not being privy to the aftermath of the actual fire, I'm unsure the units had not been bodgied &/or circuit breakers by passed, which would mot have suprised me!
15 hours/day for 5 days [T,F,S,S & M], while the venue was open to the public, may in fact have been upto 120 hours, straight through the long weekend. Aparently this was took up with the products Service Agent. Upon thier investigation of the situation. It was aledgedly found that the fault, was leaving the units in duty for an extended period of time under load, causing heat damage.
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall!
« Last Edit: Jan 31, 2008, 09:34 am by jmc »
Tio Tio Chookas
{May you always play to a full house}
'Hear the light & see the sound'

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