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No more halogens

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Sayen, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    A recent memo on fire safety, distributed to our entire district, stated among other things that we are not allowed to have any electrical cords, multi-plug adapters, or halogen lamps on campus. I laughed, figured it was common sense that the rules did not apply to theater, and threw out the memo...until I was hauled into a very serious meeting today to inform me that there were multiple citations against my space for several lights (the name of which, oddly, wasn't familiar, and I have no idea which fixtures they meant) that must be removed immediately because they use halogen lamps.

    At some point someone is going to notice the rest of my inventory - cables and two-fers included. The box of halogen lamps by my office door should make for an interesting conversation.

    It couldn't have been much of an inspection, since they missed the other safety violations in the area, oddly enough.

    Are there any codes or standards I can show to the AHJ/Fire Martial to demonstrate that this is safe, standard, and somewhat necessary for what we do? I hate to sound lazy, but if I don't demonstrate this soon I'm worried that this will snowball among those who are in charge, but don't know better.
     
  2. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Sit down with them IN the theatre physically and ask them what exactly is wrong. Have them point it out and then write it down. I would suggest being completely honest and rational with them...explaining to them that it is a theatre and that all of the theatrical fixtures are Halogen's and that there is no NON-Halogen types of fixtures being produced for theatres due to the wattage, light output and need for dimming. Explain to the Fire Marshall that all theatres in the world use these fixtures, connectors and cables and are all UL Listed and Approved for use in a space like yours. Honestly...any rational person should be able to understand this and if not then I would start making a ruckus with the town and local newspapers since obviously if the Fire Marshall doesn't understand this...then he doesn't truly know how to do his job properly.

    There are Building Codes in place that do specify the standards for theatrical buildings. They are in the NFPA 70E I forget what section, but it's all in there.
     
  3. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I would go to the NFPA 70E. That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. Like Sony said, go through the theater with them and have a rational conversation. If there are other theaters in the area ask them if they are getting the same hassel. Seek to educate rather than confront at first. If, after a lengthy conversation they persist, then go up the ladder, because this person obviously has no idea how to do their job.

    Mike
     
  4. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Somebody probably burned down a building because the idiot plugged too many halogen lamps into one socket. Which means the lawyers got all nervous.

    As has been said before educate them because if you just go behind their backs they'll go even crazier on you when they find out what's going on.
     
  5. Malabaristo

    Malabaristo Active Member

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    The applicabble part of the NEC is Article 520 (Theatres, performance areas, etc). Reading through it and becoming familiar with the specific rules goes a long way towards convincing people that you know what you're talking about. Offer to work with them to establish a policy that is more appropriate to the theatre. That should help show that you're not just looking to shirk the rules, and are really interested in establishing safe practices.

    It's also worth pointing out the significant differences between a cheap, open halogen fixture, and a piece of UL listed equipment that was carefully designed to meet the very special requirements of theatrical use. Yeah, they get hot, but in a very controllable and safe way.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    You are in a big city. Call the TD at the biggest theater in town and ask them what they have been told on the topic. I like the idea of sitting down with the Fire Marshall, but as my own experience has shown, you need to be careful. The Marshall has a lot of power to interpret things his own way. We ran into all kinds of problems with our new building where the Marshall was interpreting things dramatically different from the way the code is typically interpreted. Get as much information as you can before you have that meeting or you risk having all your fixtures taken away.
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Also, go through and check all your cable and fixtures. Make sure nothing is frayed and everything has proper strain relief. If you have any home made two-fers, junk them and buy molded ones. You might also want to check to see last time your soft good were fireproofed. Don't let anything stupid pull your under. Firemarshals can make your day very bad very quickly.
     
  8. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    If I am reading this correctly it is a school district wide thing and not a fire martial thing... I bet they don't even know most of the theatrical lights are halogen and they are probably talking about a work light left out or something stupid like that.
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Wait... they also want everyone to get rid of their power strips and extension cords?

    Well, if you want to take a gamble you could tell them everything you have is halogen, but they could replace all those fixtures with 100 movers that take HMI lamps. If it doesn't guess you have to light your shows with your ghost light.
     
  10. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I think I'd remove every halogen fixture and put them in storage. The next time something is scheduled for the auditorium let them do it in the dark.

    Or, you could design a new lighting system of LEDs and discharge movers and show them the quote. Maybe they'll see the light!
     
  11. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I forgot to say always have your ducks in line and make sure that you are VERY polite to him. He can make your life a living hell for things that are interpreted commonly, much less his random interpretations of code and he has your nuts in his hand.

    Mike
     
  12. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    I have heard of these rules before. When i was in college, all extension cords and power strips were banned from offices and residences. That being said, it sounds like a similar rule has been enforced in your district. It also sounds like the rule was intended for offices and classrooms. You should point out to whomever does the inspections that the performance space is a very different type of place than an office or classroom and must therefore be held to different standards. You should support this statement with the fact that objects that are ordinarily flammable in offices are, by law, fireproofed in a theatre (i.e. softgoods, scenery). Do a little research and find out the origin of said rule. Was it concocted by the school district or the local fire code? Ig you know why it was enforced, you can better argue your way around it.

    I guess you'll be moving your desk and computer closer to the wall outlet and risking power surges?
     
  13. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Oh and with the power strip thing remind them just how much they will be spending replacing computer equiptment, TVs, plus all the lighting and sound control and processing if there is a lighting strike <EVIL LAUGHTER>
     
  14. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I find it interesting that people jump right to cynicism with an issue like this. I am sure that any of our members who are currently in college and living in a dorm room will tell you that they are not allowed to have extension cords or more than one power strip/surge suppressor plugged into any outlet in their room. They are probably also not allowed to have halogen lamps either.

    This is not an odd request by a school or district, in fact it is fairly standard. Many people, students especially, tend not to pay attention to how they plug things in. Many people just don't know any better. You run down to the local hardware store, pick up a cheap orange extension cord, or worse, one of those brown zip cords, and proceed to plug in your entire home theatre system and a couple lamps. Before you know it, you exceed the rating of the extension cord, but not the circuit and what do you get? A nice electrical fire.

    Yes, I do think that you should talk to the administration or whoever is putting together this proposal and explain how theatrical lighting works. Walk them through the safety features, and get yourself a copy of NFPA 70E to substantiate what you are telling them. Chances are they aren't really telling you that you need to get rid of theatrical fixtures, you just need to make sure that everyone is one the same page.
     
  15. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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  16. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Thanks for the direction to the code. I've already been cited, so they're serious, and I guess I should stop joking around with them. I had the same thought about stashing all of my lights, and taking it easy for the rest of the year since I won't have to rig anything. Likewise, the LED thought crossed my mind.

    I also had to share the absurdity of the rule...no halogens in a theater...oh my!
     
  17. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I guess if you have no luck with an honest meeting, stash all your equipment, hang 5 clip lights, and go from there.
     
  18. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Did they mean bulbs? or fixtures such as these?
    [​IMG]
    Newer ones have wire guards, and auto shut-off if tipped, but can still pose a fire hazard, because the 300W RSC T-3 burns so hot.

    All who have cited NPFA 70E, please see the glossary entry.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2009
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yeah Derek that's exactly what I was wondering about either those or these:
    [​IMG]

    Tell them you don't have any "Halogen Light Bulbs" you have "Quartz Halogen Lamps" ;)
     
  20. mrb

    mrb Active Member

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    this is fairly simple to resolve, i went through a similar thing with my school years ago over extension cords.

    Orange = extension cord, we got rid of a few to make it look like we were doing something. We explained we needed to keep a couple for power tools but they would be locked up in the tool room and would never be used for lighting.

    Black = lighting cable and not applicable to the no extension cord rule.

    With regard to the halogen lamp issue, any non theater person isnt going to know that the theatrical lights are halogen. They are using halogen as a generic term for the worklights and torch lights posted previously.

    Throw away a work light, show them the new flourescent work light you bought, and completely ignore the potential issue of your theatrical lights.
     

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