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In the event of run away

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by hillbillyfunk, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    recent events caused me to write this, it does not apply to every situation but is a basic guide.

    #1 Set down any material you may be holding, do not drop it as you may injure your crew members, yell “down on 3, one two three”.

    #2 Get to a safe location, off stage, in the house or in the pit are usually safe places.

    #3 Once in a safe area duck and cover, wait until all crashing has ceased. At this time the Technical Director or Lead Carpenter should call emergency personnel, local personnel first, then 911. If you are not a first responder immediately exit the theater via marked emergency exits and rendezvous outside at the loading dock.

    #4 If you are a first responder take precautions to avoid fall hazards when administering first aid, if the victim(s) are mobile and no spinal or neck injury is evident clear them from the stage even if there is not the possibility of chain reaction falls.

    #6 Do not move spinal or neck injury victims, crush victims may require a crew to lift weight off of them, discretion should be used in rescue attempts and trained rescue personnel should be utilized if available.

    #7 As soon as medical personnel have evacuated the injured the Lead Carpenter should oversee the evacuation of any remaining personnel and chain lock all stage doors in accordance with OSHA's lock out tag out procedures

    #7 Equip the rigging crew with hard hats and have Lead Rigger lead a safety inspection starting from the attic/grid and progressing down, ensure all damaged equipment is secure, look for damage in corresponding line sets. Document all damage and do not allow the crew to return to stage until all equipment has been secured.

    #8 Once the Lead Rigger has declared that all fall hazards have been secured then the Lead Carpenter may unlock the doors and call “all clear
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Run like hell?
     
  3. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    Not to distract from the seriousness of this situation, but it's pretty simple at our school.

    Step #1: Don't install a fly system.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    That practice may be wiser than you think, Cliff. As technology progresses, counterweight fly systems are SLOWLY being phased out in favor of 1) all dead hung, or 2) a limited number of automated battens. ALL have various safety concerns, but I could argue that the traditional counterweight system, particularly a double purchase system, is less safe than the others with high school personnel.
     
  5. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    We have motorized battens, but we don't really use them. The lift is easier, and a lot safer. Something happened with the panel that controls the battens, so I you want to operate them you have to stick a pencil into the resets on the fuses (apparently someone used a paperclip once). That isn't cool, and I'm not an electrician, so I'm not going to try to fix it.
     
  6. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    As much as I disagree with that statement I have to lend a lot of merit to it for safety's sake, perhaps it should read "Don't install a traditional fly system."
    It seems to me that a much safer fly system could be built, especially for educational environments. They recently built a 1200 seat HS theater near me that has an 18" gap between the loading bridge and the arbor (73').

    Instead of balancing the arbor with blocks of iron a water reservoir on the roof coupled with an automatic balance sensor and some basic plumbing could make a very efficient and safe fly line. Water is heavy and cheap, a 250 gal container is not that big, make the arbor clearance deeper and one could build 500 gal tanks for a ton of arbor weight.

    I like electric arbors for hoisting the deck electrics, but on the Main Rag as well as the other assorted pipes the electrics aren't flexible enough in their speed control. I'm sure in 5 years they'll be better.
     
  7. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    I'm confused. Did they do the thing with the water, or is that your idea. If it's your idea and it hasn't been done you should patent that. I like that idea... no more lugging weights upstairs then trying to balence them on an arbor that is too low through various bars.
     
  8. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    don't know that anyone is doing it, but it can't be my idea, it's too simple and the theater profession is too old.

    the only reason I imagine Broadway didn't do it is that water does take up more space than steel.
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I believe they have tried it in the past, water is simply not dense enough.... now mercury... thats the ticket....

    Counterweight systems are starting to be phased out. With new products such as the vortek system out there, we are going to start seeing these things go away.

    Also, you don't hear about rigging accidents that often in high school environments because frankly, they don't put the systems through their paces as much. Its the larger houses that run 30-70 lineset shows with every lineset filled that pose the biggest risk. These are the places that it simply becomes to expensive to install winches.

    The big seller of winches to me though, besides safety, is labor. The amount of time that is saved by not have to attach bull lines, through weight at the mid rail, and haveing to marry linesets is HUGE to me. Not to mention cable pick weight.

    I will be walking into a TD position at a performing arts high school this fall (more on that as it progresses), and they perform in 3 spaces, one blackbox on campus, one proscenium on campus that is dead hung, and a nearby civic center theatre that has a full fly. I am very happy that I don't have to deal with a fly system with students, (though I am looking for a way to get the electrics flown on motors). I am happy that the students will get to deal with a fly system, but I am glad that all the maintenance will not fall on me.
     
  10. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Someone pointed out the above on another thread: Which "lock out tag out" regulations are you referring to? My understanding of "lockout/tagout" applies electrical work, valves, and specific pieces of equipment, and is typically part of maintenance. "Lockout" positively disables a device until the lock is removed; "tagout" posts a warning not to activate the device at the control point. (From 29 CFR 1910.147 - The control of hazardous energy [lockout/tagout]).

    A door that normally opens as an exit must not be chained or blocked. If you want to prevent entry, you'll need a guard. A sign (Do Not Enter, for example) will deter entrance.

    Joe
     
  11. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Yep, your are exactly right on that one. Lock out/tag outs are meant to be put in place to stop a piece of equipment or power from moving/flowing while you are working on that piece of equipment. A theatre can not be locked out, ever. A flysystem can be, and many systems have locks on the rail for exactly this reason. You should NEVER EVER EVER chain any door shut, period. Please refer to the huge number of fires that have caused death because of padlocked doors. It is impossible to know if everyone is out of the building, especially after an emergency.

    And really, my feeling is that before you go into a huge discussion and time in what to do AFTER a run-away, you might want to invest about 10x that time to make sure that this never happens again.
     
  12. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    Good insight is always appreciated and both posts provided very good insight. I wish runaways never happened but there is (on average) one per week in the US alone. We do about 45 shows a season that use the fly system, and the variables in employee's skill levels vary from "temp agency tool" to "union master".

    To make certain that this does not happen to us again we are updating our training and running drills as well as getting all of the dept heads and crew leaders EMT certified. We are installing a full alpine rescue rig in the grid and getting all the riggers certified in that too.

    Regarding the safe evacuation and keeping that area safe: I agree that locks are not the best solution, human guards at doors with the inspection crew's ID tags hung on the grid stairs (to indicate who is on the steel) is much safer. Thanks for pointing out the fire hazard increase after any equipment damaging accident.

    Keeping track of who is in the facility has been a problem in the past. Since we have such a fluctuating demand for over hires we often have a crew of 40 people in one day and a small crew of ten in another. Each crew member must sign out/in and display their ID badge at all times. The crew call board has the ID tags hung for that call only, at a glance a department head can tell who is in the building (in theory). This is supposed to help us keep track of everyone's location, unfortunately this doesn't always work.
     
  13. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    You sure you are not doing theatre in a coal mine?
     
  14. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    coal mines are safer, fewer actors and better training
     
  15. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    A few other observations/suggestions:

    It appears that #1 conflicts with #2 (and #3). If one is “down” already (#1), they are not going to be able to go to a safe place (#2 and #3).


    At the “rallying point” at the loading dock, I think you need to designate someone to be “in charge” there (I can’t think of a better term). Do you want someone to take a head count? Maybe all that person can do is say – you all wait here, while I check with _____ about what to next. But I think you need to identify someone to take that role. It may be just for 5 to 15 minutes while the other Leads assess the situation.


    Another consideration is human nature: Although the instinct to run and get out of the way is strong, many people will not leave someone who is hurt.

    They may be running toward the exit, but if they don’t make it there by the time all of the crashing has apparently stopped, if they see someone hurt, they will go back.


    Joe
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Just a couple of notes for our High School friends reading this.

    -Never let your battens get THAT far out of weight. In a college/professional theater you may have to load a 500+ pound scenic element. That's probably never going to happen in a H.S. Your biggest load changes will be hanging a curtain or lighting instruments. If you are removing 20 lights from a batten. Remove 5, adjust the weight, repeat. If you are taking 10 off and putting 10 on the same electric... swap them one at a time. Establish a procedure that prevents the possibility of runaway situations from happening in the first place.

    -Get people off stage when you are loading weight... at least move them to the other side of the house. If you are in a funky house that requires you to put things out of weight for a while. Clear the deck when moving battens in and out for the first time. In a big pro house they have lots of trained crew and very little time. They have to take measured risks to get the job done. You don't have the trained professionals or the limited time. So take it one step at a time and clear the deck as often as possible.

    -ALWAYS call when lines are moving (except in performance). Shout it! "Line set 22 coming in mid stage!" Train your crew to respond "thank you 22". Secondly train your crew to look for actors or others on stage who are not part of the crew. Help those people by pointing out where the moving lineset is at.

    -If there is a runaway always run up/down stage. Flying Bricks are likely to travel Left/Right. Get on the other side of the Proscenium if at all possible.

    -Finally someone made a comment about a lift being safer than using a motorized electrics. Any time you leave the ground it's dangerous... even with the outriggers. It's always safer to make the work come down to you. Now can you effectively focus on the ground? That's another problem. But if you can do the work on the ground that's always safer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2013
    Amishplumber, HasTy, chausman and 3 others like this.
  17. hillbillyfunk

    hillbillyfunk Member

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    good idea, that seems like a good job for the call steward, after all the they are the ones that set up the crew.

    This is a problem we had at the most recent accident site, people who were not rendering first aid standing around say stupid things. It doesn't help the victim to hear people saying "wow look at all the blood"... "dude you're really hurt".. ectera.

    Then again it was a crew of all newbies.
     
  18. lighttech11

    lighttech11 Member

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    This definitely sounds like the best course of action for all people on the deck...

    But what about the fly operator and weight loaders? (specifically a double-purchase system where the rail is above the deck) I would think it might be even more crucial for the flyman and weight loaders to find safe shelter since they are closer to the weights. Obviously they should get as far away from the runaway as possible, but is there anything else they can do, since they don't have a lot of space to run to? And what do they do afterwards? Should they come down? Should they stay put? What if the initial crash causes more failures elsewhere in the rigging system? I'm just curious about what the safest things are for the flyman and weight loaders to do, since they are quite close to the arbor, and in the case of the weight loaders, also very close to the grid.
     
  19. Morydd

    Morydd Member

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    NO! Do not move them even if injury is not "evident" unless there is significant possibility of additional danger. You cannot tell if there is a spinal injury by looking. The first rule of first aid is that you don't move someone if you don't absolutely have to. Wait for the trained personnel with the proper equipment. This also includes the "crush victims". Sometimes what crushed them is also the thing holding the artery closed.
     
  20. HasTy

    HasTy Member

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    Thank you very much for these suggestions I am currently working at a small high school in California and we have had a lot of problems with flies being improperly run and also WAY out of weight. I have been trying to find a common ground between the drama teacher and myself to keep things safe. Our next show will be using a lot of line sets and I think some of your suggestions will be put into place regarding that.
    This is true. I started working as an EMT before I regained my interest in Technical Theatre. One of the biggest mistakes we would see was someone improperly moving a victim.
     

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