Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fire Code Shenanigans

Patrick over at Backstagejobs has a great article on how effing difficult it is to find information on theatre fire codes.


I've run into this problem myself on more than one occasion- in New York City, one would presumably go to the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting website to find out, for example, how many chairs can legally be put together in a row before an aisle interrupts them, or how many and what type of fire extinguishers should be on hand. One might also think that the FDNY site could be a good resource. Now, I know I've found *some* info online before, but I remember digging around for hours before finding out that every audience member must be no more than 7 seats away from an aisle (or was it 6?).

A logical stagehand might think that the city would put this information out there for fire-prevention at the many theaters here. Use a phone, you might say? I've tried that, too. The best I usually get as a response is "the dude who knows all that stuff is out today" or "call so-and-so and such-and-such-a-theater, he's great with all that".

The theater I work at is blessed with many a visit from the fire department, as standard procedure. They send an army of four or five men decked out in full fire gear, five minutes before a show to scare the bejeezus out of anyone waiting in the lobby. Then I have the dubious pleasure of showing them around, making sure to point out exit signs and fire extinguishers.

On one such visit, dude came with a clipboard and a list of questions. One question on his form was "thrust stage, proscenium, other?"
Dude turned to me and asked what a thrust stage was.

I'm not saying that your average fireman has to know what a thrust stage is, but one would hope that the team that is inspecting theatres for public safety might have to know.

Anywho. That's my rant of the day.

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About Me

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New York, New York, United States
Tired. Caffeinated. Quietly evil.

I'm a theatre technician, living and working in NYC. Also an aspiring costumer, makeup artist, playwright and dilettante.
I like to rant about things, I swear like a person who swears a lot, and I work too much. Other than that, my time is spent at home with the puppy or in Chelsea bars with friends and co-workers.