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"Won't that be safe enough?"

Discussion in 'Safety' started by willbb123, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    So we have this co-pro show at our theater, called Alley Cabaret. It takes place entirely on stage. We have platforms set up stage left and the audience sits stage right. I posted pics in the Pics Thread

    We can only fit 80 people on stage. The director wants to move the platforms upstage left so people can sit in the balcony. Well the problem is that the stage exit is upstage right. So if the fire curtain were to come in, the 80 audience members would be trapped on stage, with the only way out being that one door. Yes we do have loading doors, but it would take 2-3 mins to open it, not to mention the time it takes one of the production crew to get down there and open it.

    So we were talking to the director and he thinks that it will be fine to move the platforms in front of the doors... We explained why we couldn't do this, and he dropped it until after the show. He came up to us after the show, and said that he thought that, if we kept the platforms 2 feet away from the walls the audience would have plenty of room to exit, and that it would be safe enough. Yea I lost interest at this point. I said, It is a fire code issue, we will have to check before we can do any moving.

    Ok I had to rant about that...
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    36 to 48 inches for any escape path is standard, but it varies place to place. 2', no way.
     
  3. ScottT

    ScottT Eos Programmer

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    Sounds like a lawsuit could have been coming your way. Better safe then sorry, especially when the fire code is involved
     
  4. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    I am with these guys. Just like you MUST keep at least 3' clear in front of electrical panels and never, never, never store anything in the electrical room (a huge pet peeve of mine).

    Mike
     
  5. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    They shoved a bunch of stuff in the dimmer room that was lying around in the work room that it's attached to. Should I be removing it? Is it fire code that stuff not be in that room?
     
  6. MSLD

    MSLD Active Member

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    im just lucky that our TD is a retired fireman for 27 years. nobody argues with him
     
  7. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    The Fire Marshall will shut you down in a second. But I have never seen a Fire Marshall show up at a theater show. But that is a fire code issue here and may vary from city to city.

    As far as the NEC is concerned you must have 36 inches free from obstruction in front of every panel and a clear path to the door of the room. In most electrical rooms this rules out the entire room (and if not the local fire code usually does).

    Mike
     
  8. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Our Dept. of Theater has 2 spaces, a black box for in-the-round or thrust, flexible seating, 6 exit doors with lit exit signs as well as emerg. floods off the generator. The 500 seat Prosc. house also has lit exit signs and floods - in the audience chamber only, not on stage. Not sure of the legal issues with that, it's also not my expertise and there is both a health and safety officer on campus (Human Resources Office), as well as a member of the public safety office that deals with fire alarms, emergency systems, code compliance, etc...

    For whatever reasons, the Dept. (I'm not a Dept. employee) chooses to do the 2 yearly mainstage productions in the 500 seat Prosc. theater, with audience on risers on stage in a thrust configuration. Seems they NEVER sell enough tickets to come even close to filling a 500 seat theater, so on to the stage goes the audience.

    I sent a memo to all concerned, that there were no lighted exit lights backstage, no emergency lighting of any kind, and effectively only one exit door for the 125 or so audience members needing to get off the stage. The USL loading door has a fused-linked fire door that will shut automatically, as does the mid-stage left door. Another DSR door exits into the theater, thus the DSR is the only door exiting to an exit to the exterior.

    The best I can do is send the memo and print it for future reference (when I'm called as witness). The GM for the building as well as the PM for the Dept. are then responsible.

    Idiots.

    SB
     
  9. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    I am not 100% sure on this issue, but I think that emergency lighting backstage is supposed to be the stage/work lights in their "emergency" cue (which was controlled by a button at the SM console at the PAC).

    Mike
     
  10. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    There is a clear path from the door to the panel, the stuff is pushed up against the wall. There's no obstruction to opening the door. Also, the fire marshall just recently came by and evaluated the entire school, but I think that was before they put everything in the dimmer room.
     
  11. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    So the room that stores the dimmer racks should be empty of everything else? At my school, our dimmer racks (Sensor) are located in a room right off SR. This room is also the "lighting storage room", so it holds all our unused instruments, cable, gel, lamps, gobos, and also lots of other stuff like large speakers, mic cable, old microphones, and boxes that someone put in there. It is actually difficult to move through this room since it's small and has so much stuff crowded into it. Are you saying that this is unsafe?

    At another school I work at, the dimmer rack (also Sensor) is located in the custodian's storage area, which is a large room which holds all their stuff, plus the large HVAC system (or whatever it's called). And at another school, the dimmer rack (Strand) is actually located right on the inside of the SL proscenium. Both of these were installed by the same installer. Is this unsafe or something?
     
  12. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    Yeah, our dimmer 'room' is literally, a cage, so we hang all our spare fixtures on the walls of the cage, and have our gobos and gels and everything along the ground under them, it doesn't obstruct access to the panel too much, but it's there.
    And our cage happens to be raised about 5 feet off the ground, so we have a separate locked tool shed right under.
     
  13. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Do most folk here have a dedicated closed room with a door for their dimmers or am I lucky for once? I would think that it's rather important to have it in a closed room so that all sorts of dust doesn't gunk it up. I figure that this is a nice place to ask, do you also have a company disconnect directly adjacent to your rack? I don't...
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  14. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    Well like I just said, we have a 'cage' made out of standard wire diamond-ish shaped fencing material. So it keeps people out*, but dust and gunk still get in.



    *Sorta, if the door's locked and we need in, we climb the fence to the top, where there's a hole for the ladder to get to the cats
     
  15. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

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    Our blackbox and mainstage spaces have their dimmer racks locked up inside of the same, climate controlled room. The only other thing inside of the space is the network switches.

    Our dance space however has a Sensor Rack inside of the booth.
     
  16. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Isn't it loud and obnoxious though?

    @TheDonkey

    I see what you're talking about. We have a few similar cages at our school except that also have a top on them. We stuck a little block of wood in the jam so it doesn't close all the way so if something bad happens, we can get in.
     
  17. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Nope! In the amphitheatre the dimmer racks are in an alcove down stage left. in our smaller theatre they're mounted to the wall down stage right. In both spaces the dimmer racks are within ten feet of and have unobstructed line of sight to their disconnects.
     
  18. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    Location:
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    Our dimmer room is stage left. To get to it you have to climb up a 6foot ladder, then halfway up another ladder, then go into the door. We have 3 sensor+ dimmer racks, they have there own room. On the wall opposite them there is the panel box that controls them, so if I needed to disconnect them I could. There is another room past the dimmer vault, which is called the "light maintenance room", basically where we keep all our 3-pin jumpers, and DMX cables. One of the two ladders to the catwalk is also in that room.

    When they designed the room they made it to contain a fire. For that to happen both doors have to be closed. But if both doors are closed, no air can enter/exit the room. So if we close both doors the dimmers are going to overheat.

    Im not sure what you mean by company switch. I'm thinking your talking about CamLocks. Our Cams are up on the SL Gallery (bout 6 feet off the ground). The disconnect switch is down in the basement in the electrical. (stairs are basically directly underneath the Cams, so when they tie in their cable runs right over the outside door and the stairwell..). In the room is the biggest panel I have ever seen. It has breakers for all the sub panels around the backside of the theater (Offices and FOH are in the front basement). There is a cage in front of the panel, I'm not sure how big it is but it may be larger then my room in my apartment. We try not to store stuff inside the cage but right now our podium lives in there. There is also a full sized bass, and a small electric piano, which should be gone sometime this week.

    Well, I didnt mean to make this post so long... now you know more about the electrical in my theater then you ever wanted to.
     
  19. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    As long as there is a clear 3 foot circle in front of the rack (put a tape on the floor and draw out a circle from the center point of the panel with a radius of 3') and a clear path to the door, with nothing stored under or on top of the panel/rack that is all the NEC requires.

    Local fire codes on the other hand may be a different subject entirely. Around here your electrical room can not be used a storage room. Period, end of story. The Fire Marshal will fine you and eventually pull your CO.

    As far as it being safe, anything in the electrical room is a safety hazard. You need to be able to access your dimmers and panels quickly and easily, asses any situation and respond accordingly.

    By the way dimmer rooms should always be air conditioned.

    A company switch is is a larage on/off throw switch that cuts power to an entire panel. In the NEC you must be able to kill power to a panel/rack with 3 throws or less (main breaker/company switch). This differs from a disconnect which is (usually a large) power supply source (100-400A) that can be tapped into with bare wire or CAM locks or some other large connector. Disconnects often have a company switch attached.

    The Main Breaker/Company switch for the dimmers should be located in a panel in the same room as the rack. The panel should have a proper lock on it.

    The point is that you should be able to access your panels/racks quickly and with your eyes closed, and you should also be able to secure them when performing maintenance work.

    There is a difference between the NEC code, local fire codes, and what is safe. But as a Master Electrician with over 30 years in the industry (15 as head electrician for a multi-million dollar company with buildings ranging from small shops to 12 floor office buildings), take my dad's advice and never, ever, ever, ever store anything at all in an electrical room.

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  20. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Seperate dimmer room (including patchbay), yes. It's off the technicians' office, which is on a mezzanine level above the scene dock - you can get there in ten seconds from the control room if you have to! No company switch though, each dimmer pack has its own individually switched 3-phase supply. It's also not air conditioned, but it's big enough that we've never had a problem with overheating.
     

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