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Fire Marshall.........oops!

Discussion in 'Safety' started by stantonsound, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    Let me start by saying that everyone involved should have known better, me included. We were doing a production of adapted Edgar Allan Poe short stories for the stage at a local high school. I was hired to bring in special effects and lighting to make it very cool. The set was designed by one of the better known set designers that works in pretty much every theatre in town and has a great reputation and the Director (a teacher at the school) is a director for professional shows as well.

    Anyway, the set design incorporated large sheets of plastic hung in big waves where the cyc would be. I back lit it with lekos outfitted with rotating gobos and scrollers, which gave the effect of a change from fire to water (Cask on Amontillado - from the canal to the dungeon). The plastic was rated for indoor construction use and it can be found on almost any job site, and it was listed as flame retardant on the packaging.

    Well, at 3pm I walked into the school to give the student crew a little pep talk before they were to go through their checklists that I had made for them to get ready for the show (check focus, plug everything in, etc.....). As I walked in the building, the principal and the director are meeting with the fire Marshall. Never a good thing, so I went straight to the theatre. The Fire Marshall would not allow the plastic sheeting, and said that EVERYTHING on the stage should be flame retardant and the production was cancelled! This included the wood flats and platforms!

    We asked him if we could fix it and he reinspect before the show, and he agreed (really, he was a nice guy, just doing what he thought was best). We removed the plastic, hung 20 year old scrim in its place that had a fire retardant tag (although we are pretty sure it no longer is), and bought fire retardant paint and painted the entire set and the deck as quickly as we could.

    We got done, the house opened at 7pm and the show started at 7:30. The house smelled of fresh paint, and it was a little "tacky" still, but we did it.
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Well at least the smell of fresh paint is better than the smell of rotten paint. Did you show the fire marshall the packaging from the plastic that said it was flame retardant? Also, are you talking like plastic sheeting that you might use to cover things when you paint or plexi?
     
  3. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I believe that fire retardent stays on drapes for 5 years before it has to be recertified, could be 10 years though. That being said, most places usually just do the "every piece of bare wood has to be painted", unless of course there is any pyro or open flame, then the flame coat has to come out. Did they ever do a flame test on anything on stage? Most places will light something on fire (a sample of the piece, not the entire thing) and if it self extinguishes, you are good to go.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    The convention/trade show business couldn't survive without a material we call "Show Plastic." Almost identical to what you're describing, except comes in like 50 colors, and IFR. I thought it was a RoseBrand product, but can't find it on their site. Anyone?
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I'm starting a new thread in the General section on various fire retardant issues... come visit it soon!
     
  6. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    Location:
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    We did show the Fire Marshall the packaging. He tested it, and it did what plastic does, it melted a little bit and then curled a little and went out.

    There were no open flames, just low fog (Aquafog 3300), 8 movers (coemar prospots and Mac 550's), a dozen scrollers (only Apollo!), and a few rotators. Nothing out of the ordinary.

    I am not familiar with the RoseBrand product, but I would like to be. I'll have to see if they are at LDI tomorrow and report back!
     

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