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Pray...

Discussion in 'Safety' started by StageSweetheart, Jun 11, 2004.

  1. StageSweetheart

    StageSweetheart Member

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    This was one of my favorites...I was the light board operator for Nunsense II at the community theatre near my house. One night, the spotlight guy noticed a foul smell, and a little bit of smoke coming from the light. He couldn't figure out what it was but the light was still working, so he let it slide. A few minutes later, the director (who was sitting in the booth with me) and I heard a thumping from above out heads (the spotlight is above the booth). Sure enough, it was a our spotlight techie, who sent down a note, saying "I need a new one of these gray thingies!!!". Don, the director (also master electrician) immediately realized what was needed. The bad thing was, we didn't have any replacement "gray thingies". Somehow, we rigged the light so that an extention cord, running through the glass panels in front of the booth, could be plugged into an outlet strip every time the spot was needed. Sparks were flying, and I disticntly remember the director say, "Every time we need the spotlight, I'll plug this in. Pray the sparks don't catch this place on fire."
    Ahhhhhhh. Good times in the booth! :D
     
  2. bdesmond

    bdesmond Active Member

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    I don't know what a gray thingy is, but, I know that risking an electrical fire and injury at the expense of a high school play is not a smart move.
     
  3. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Did the "grey thing" begin its life as a whit thing and then ended its life as a charred and crispy black thing?

    bdesmond is quite right and I am surprised a Master Electrician would allow something dangerous to happen. Especially if (from reading your post) he was aware of the problem before it occurred. I also assume that because you have said the sparks were evident that his little saying was not just that – a saying – but it was an actual response.

    It would seem evident that there was a real and preventable hazard that was neglected by someone, not only in a position of leadership, but also one who should have known better”.

    Unfortunately, your post didn’t give us a full picture of what the problem was or how it was caused. Any chance you can enlighten us to this?

    By the way – welcome to the booth!
     
  4. Vanessa

    Vanessa Member

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    Hey StageSweetheart, I happened to notice your location. Did you do 'HONK!'? Fun show, isn't it? We made bullrushes for weeks!
     
  5. bdesmond

    bdesmond Active Member

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    After reading this again, I'm guessing this "gray thingy" was some type of standalone dimmer unit or dimmer hookup for the followspot.
     
  6. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    There is certainly an interesting power source/draw pthway in there somewhere - but with minimal info I didn't want to open that one up any further.

    Let's see if StageSweetheart can give us a bit more of an understanding as to what was going on.
     
  7. bdesmond

    bdesmond Active Member

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    People are going to be alot mroe pissed off when there's smoke in the room, sprinkler heads goign off, people running from fire, etc.

    If there's an issue endangering the safety of anyone in the room (e.g. fire), it should not be dealt with via prayer.
     
  8. Radman

    Radman Well-Known Member

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    I am always worried that if I test the fog machine while working alone after school that either it will set off the sprinklers and all the lights will be soaked, or a teacher will think I hotboxed the stage!
     
  9. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Probably not much to worry about here in the way of the sprinklers with the little red bubble in the centre of them. These are designed to work when the fluid in the bubble heats up and causing it to burst. Also, they only go off individually, unlike in Hollywood pictures where you set off one and the whole lot go off.

    However, if your theatre is fitted with a smoke alarm, you should notify someone so that if it does alarm the cause can be investigated before taking any action.

    Although, I am not sure if there are systems designed to set off sprinklers in the event of a smoke alarm being set off. Especially given that they can be set off by aerosol spray and in some cases dust.

    Your other alternative is to use some large flexible hose and a fan to ‘pipe’ the smoke out of the theatre when testing. I have one set up in my workshop so I don’t fog myself!

    Here, I have to notify all venues that I intend to use smoke/haze in and ensure that they disable the detectors. There is a very heavy fine if the fire department gets called out to a false alarm.
     
  10. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Hmm ...
    Would that be similar to the way elevator doors open when the cab with the door motor on it's top is nowhere to be found
    OR
    the key news story reporting the death of "our hero" always comes out of the ancient vacuum tube radio the moment
    "our heroine" turns it on and without so much as a moment's warm up time
    OR
    the open reel, or cassette, tape recorder always replays precisely the desired phrase upon request even when visibly being fast forwarded by the hapless actorine?

    (Every one of these silly posts is getting me closer to leaving "Actor" behind!)

    Actor? ? ? Excuse me! ! ! I couldn't if I tried!

    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  11. bdesmond

    bdesmond Active Member

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    Haven't seen one myself. It would be illogical because smoke detectors cover large zones, where as sprinklers are localized.

    --

    If you're in a larger open space (like an atrium), there may be what are called beam detectors. They're basically large scale smoke dectors which are mounted high up, often, and bounce light acorss the space, tripping if the beam is obstructed. A fogger will set one of these off no doubt (been around for the occasion).
     
  12. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    That is what I thought but as I wasn't 100% sure, I decided not to commit myself to it :)
     
  13. StageSweetheart

    StageSweetheart Member

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    I'm doing lights for The Music Man jr., starting July 8th. You better believe everything will be checked. Like you all said, too much danger involved.
     

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