Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Allright Bugsy, it's curtains for you."

Drapes and other soft goods used on the stage must be treated with a chemical fire retardant or be fabricated from an inherently flame proof material. When the manufacturer creates the product they should tag it so that there is a record of the date of manufacture / treatment, and retreatment, if any. The label shown above is a good example of that type of marking.

So, what's wrong with this picture? The date of manufacture is 9-15-76. This picture was taken in March of 2009, and the curtain was still in use! 33 years later!

The chemical fire retardant treatment applied to theatrical fabrics is typically only good for 2-5 years, depending upon the heat and humidity that the fabrics have endured over their service life. Soooo, this curtain was, shall we say, waaay past it's useful working life.

Check your curtains, see that each one has a serial number or unique ID marker, has a tag showing date of manufacture (not date of installation or first use), and lists the name of the chemical treatment that was applied.

Keep separate records that corrispond to each soft good so that you can schedule and budget for periodic cleaning and service. This is a great use for any computer based appointment or calander system (like MS Outlook). Enter the date of manufacture as an 'appointment', and then set the recurrance for every "X" years (as recommended by the manufacturer). The computer will remind you of your appointment when it rolls around, just like a birthday or a dentist appointment.

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