Hi all. I am a sound and light techie for Lafayette High School in St. Louis. Its not really a theatre, it is more of an auditoruim but its wat we got and we just deal with it. Well i guess thats all, c ya around
welcome to CB!
most of us dont have a "theatre" really, we have auditoriums, but they are the same thing as far as the technical end, schools just call them auditoriums instead of theatres. and we perform shows in them, and it sounds better to be a theatre tech than an auditorum tech ;-)
wow, im gunna mix u up with AVkid all the time! ... no more just lookin at the avatar.
true, my teacher just is always saying that it is autitorium and she gets pissed iat you if you call it a theatre, like all the other schools have in the district. Well, after reading the other forums i realized i didnt say much about me. Im a senior in h.s. and have mainly done high school performances, although i have had nemours other weekend jobs at the shakespearian theatre in st louis and also have set up the sound system in the middle school because the district "techie" only knows how to make things. Well that is all about me, but what has kept me busey lately in my school is that the theatre cought fire. a par 64 was "too close to a curtian that had too much dust on it" and cought fire. I put it in quotes because that is the official word on the street. Our school has flame retardant curtians but in order for them to remain flame retardant, they have to be respraied every five years, and they wernt. Well, anyways when the fire chief came in the theatre he noticed that it was not up to code and has shut it down, till me n dave, the district techie, fix it. It sucks and is putting out show way behind schedule. Anyways i guess wat im trying to say is make sure your curtians have been sprayed witin he last 5 years
welcome! of course im relatively new so im not exactly the greatest person to welcome you, but regardless welcome! and yes, fire codes can be a nightmare at times, we had the same thing happen at a theater i was working in last year, it took forever to fix, but it's well worth it, better than having a fire in the midst of a show i suppose. well anyways, welcome to the board, have a good day!
Our school has a fire curtain, but the teacher tech person doesnt want to test it monthly like we were told we are supposto because he thinks it's the janators job, but they never do it eather. I think i am just going to go ahead and test it sometime, the only thing that kinda worries me is i am not sure if it is tied into the fire alarm system, and i dont want to set that off. Anyways, Dusty curtains are not safe!
Fire curtains while they can be linked to the fire alarm don't have to be. Often they are run by what's called a fire link. Basaically it's a link in a wire rope that heats up and melts in breaking given a specific temperature given someone does not pull the panic "fire" in my experience cable for it first.
These links have varing operating temperatures for what heat they will take before breaking. Forget where but I once saw such a system also in use for fire doors as something that will release the door that otherwise always needs to be closed. This given a properly trained staff that only uses it during times when they otherwise would need to block open the door in making it other than safe.
All fire links that operate the flame curtain, like flame treating on the drapes that is seperate from a flame curtain, need to be replaced every five years in the case of the link as opposed to the drapes that need to be re-treated every five years. Depending upon your local code, flame curtains can be required to be tested and used once a year down to in a past theater I was a part of, that flame curtain/wall was required to be down at all times other than when in rehearsal or during a show. Even during intermission if long enough, I think we had to lower the flame curtain a few minutes after the main drape came down.
Given a fire link that automatically closes the flame drape if nobody is around, it's like the stagesmoke vent in a theater proper that vents if not even has a large fan in doing so to vent the smoke out of the stagehouse - something that lets you get out safely before the smoke effects you but will tend to also make a small fire worse.
Fire links control emergency devices such as the fire curtain or smoke vent, fire curtains seperate the stage from the audience, and flame treated drapes just ensure the thing won't do more than smolder in otherwise catching fire. It is not a heat threating. Materials such as zenotex (sp) are heat shields. In the case of why the beyond spec. for treatment, this drape went up in flame, it was both the flame treatment and most especially fixtures too close to the drape. No matter if the drape were brand new, fixtures too close to the drape will destroy drapes. Flame treatment does not mean heat resistant drape.
In other words, in part it's the school for not preventing the spread of the fire, but most especially the tech people that hung the lights too close to the drape that initiated the problem as it's key source.
Sorry, you lighitng tech people caused the problem.
Our fire curtain has several of those melting links in its cable so it will drop. It also has two handles like you said, one on each side of the stage, that can be manually fliped to drop it. (all techs have been informed that our school still has not gotten enough sense about it to create a fire procedure for the auditorium (they did the rest of the school, but forgot about the room with the most flamable stuff!) but they know to flip the swich, one person steps out and calmly asks the audience to exit the others help everyone out of backstage and gets out themselves)
the one thing that kinda weirds me, there is a box that the cable runs through, it has a magneticly held arm that will release the cable if you push a button on it (kinda like another handle), but it has wires running into it and I am not sure if those just release it if the rest of the fire alarm is going off (doubtful, b/c the fire alarm has gone off without it droping, but then it might not have been an alarm over the stage that was going off). Those wires might also cary a signal back the fire alarm though...
while we're talking about fire stuff... my stage also has two trap door type things that are counterweighted to open and vent smoke out. the not very reassureing thing was when small puddles started forming on the stage, and I asked them to look into why, the guy went up on the roof (unknown to us) and all of a sudden, as we were working on the lights, we heard a bang and then 2 nuts and 2 bolts slamed down on to the stage, and the lighting looked really different.... and we here "oops, that wasnt installed right!" lol the doors had opened when they wernt supposto and almost hit us in the head with the bolts that wernt put in right, (and we couldnt test the lighting b/c we were fighting the sun).
If you want more scary storys, about safety equipment not properly installed.... (nothing in my auditorium was installed properly!) we have special batery powered emergency lights that flip down out of the ceiling (so they are flush when the power is on). except some of our wernt installed right, so they never stop trying to open and close when the power is off (and sometimes after it is on again). the effect is really odd, kinda like all of a sudden our auditorum has a half dozen moving lights all swinging back and forth in different directions at different speeds!
oh ya, and the emergency lights over the stage (battery backups right inside the flourecent work lights) insist on beeping 3 times every 5 seconds until you push the reset button on them each time after the power goes out, the only problem, they are a story up, above all the chains and cables of our fly system, where the Giene lift wont fit without 3 extra people to pull all the wires to eather side out of the way!!! talk about annoying!!! lol
ok, enough of me ranting!!! Fire and safety equipment is important and everyone should make sure it is installed and working properly for everyone safety! (yes, maybe you are superman, but remember, actors and audience members work in the same areas you do!!)
“my stage also has two trap door type things that are counter weighted to open and vent smoke out.” - Peter
See above smoke vent often even with a fan to help it escape more efficiently. Defiantly also fire links on this also if not electronically activated when you pull the fire curtain - see your note about the box.
“oh ya, and the emergency lights over the stage (battery backups right inside the flourecent work lights) insist on beeping 3 times every 5 seconds until you push the reset button on them each time after the power goes out,” - Peter
Fascinating, never heard of such a thing, first the fluorescent work lights, hope they have the right color rendering index for proper scenic painting, much less safety guards over the tubes. Who makes them?
“the only problem, they are a story up, above all the chains and cables of our fly system, where the Giene lift wont fit without 3 extra people to pull all the wires to eather side out of the way!” - Peter
Sounds like some architect had a really great idea, but had a wee bit of a brain fart in the application of it.
Flip down emergency strobes above this all, also never heard of a flip down unit. Send me a manufacturer name. As for the why’s of such things having problems and what that box is linked to.... don’t know. Fairly easy to figure out, much less it probably will have been a good idea to label the wires in this box or the box as to where they go, but it sounds like your school has quite the system going for it. Possible that if you hit this panic switch, it also alerts the fire department. Even if it does not, it’s still probably a good idea when doing the once a year test I assume is necessary to have the TD and or tech staff chief, Maintenance head and fire marshal on hand during the test. This way all involved are assured of proper training and no alarms are going to go off by accident during the test. You might recommend to the school such a test or training into emergency systems plus the yearly inspection. While this is going on, either re-produce your problems with the power going out circuit problems or expect they will become fix it notes during the test. In any case, given all three parties are on hand, it’s probable that circuit problems will be solved, and it can be addressed your work light/emergency light problems at this time due to a waver on the practibility part of your work light reset.
Just a thought, sounds like quite the place for new and proper safety gear. Just a question of everyone involved being on the same page as to it’s use, what it does and what it needs to do.
I have written several memos to the building committee about all of this, some of which has been adressed (they told the custodial staff to turn off the beeping the last time the power went off lol -and by the way, not all 3 are in genie, one is on the giene, the others are on floor, on the fly-mezanine) other things havent been adressed (well, ok, just about everything else)
the work lights are REALLY nothing fancy, just two long fluorescent blubs, with a small batery pack next to the balance. The batery only probably lasts 20 minutes at most, but they figure it isnt going to take you more then 20 minutes to get yourself out or find a flashlight.
Color balanced! HAHAHA ya right! lol they are just normal fluorescent lights (most of our panting gets done outside in the parking lot anyway, or at least in the school's loading bay) They do have "safety" covers over the bulbs, it bascly looks like big square chicken wire, but the holes are big enough i could fairly easily reach my hand through, basicly they would cacth the bulb if it fell in one piece, but not many more pieces then that!
In general, the archetect had many great ideas in our building, but couldnt acutally pull almost any of it off! lol and that goes for EVERYTHING (it's ALL as messed up as this safety stuff) The one thing he got right is acustics, (not the equipment, just the shape of the room) it is great, we have been able to many events without any mics, which is great b/c the building is in use at least 4 or 5 times a day, mostly with assemblies or meetings where one person is speaking up front, and that means that if know the person has a good voice, we dont have to bother being there ALL the time to run a single mic.
The flip down emergency lights arnt too strange of a thing arround here. I have seen them other places too. they are defanatly not a theatrical thing, just a general thing, but i guess the archetect thought they would look good (they do, you can harldly see them unless you are really looking for them) and they help the acustics abit, b/c they dont make more things stick out from the cealing. I can look at the brand for you next time get a chance (probably wont be until tues next week, I am too busy until then) there is one right at the back of the auditorium right outside of the booth, where i can reach it by standing on an OSHA aproved chair.
I think the problem with them involves the switch that tells them they are opened or close not being installed so it properly engages and disingages. I have gotten that one light that is within reach to stop by banging it arround abit with the lid closed, the only problem is i can do that, (or even try to ajust the others in a civil way) b/c they are utterly inaccessable over the seats 2 stories up. The custodians had to rent (and wouldnt let me near) a 40 foot super articulated boom lift to replace the house light bulbs that were out, and 1/.2 through figured out that it wouldnt reach them all (so they left one lamp holder dangleing out of the hole in the cealing and called it day, (and then the company came and took the lift back, so it's still hanging today) the rental company said they dont have anything that will reach the other lights and will still fit through the door (and arround the corner to get to the door) we are kinda stuck.... how do you guys do it (not to get off topic) maybe your ideas will also help give me an idea how to fix these emergency lights.
Ok, there goes another long post! l have gotten good at those it seems.... (AHHH ship, your rubbing off on me!! :-O, ah, dont worry, it's a good thing )
well, just today i realized that out district theatre guy has removed the fire shield the protects the teasers from the lights in the electricts. It is very strange but i guess he had nothing better else to do. Well the bright side of having a fire in the theatre was that it is now very clean and smells very nice, almost like marshmellows. it makes me very hingry
yes, I'm around. I'll keep that in mind. Unfortunately, next time I'm there is July, and instead of the normal Saturday load in, Sunday show, I'm driving down Sunday, programming, doing the show, then out at 2AM. Fortunately, nothing to rush back for and the casino gives us free rooms and food. But I'm just more than a little tired of the buffet at the casino. And Charlie Gitto's isn't much better. And so far below my wife's eggplant parmiagan it's not even worth discussing.
BTW, thinking of changing my sig to "honor" Ryan Seacrest. What do you think of
Three, really, I only know of the one under the John Hancok tower. Anyway, If you're looking for a burger, try PJ's tavern in Kirkwood, or Mike Duffy's, across from PJ's. I know the Duffys, and their food is really good. Also, in Old Webster (where I live) there's a place called The Crossings. Never been there, but it looks good. Those are all I can think of off the top of my head.