Friday, November 30, 2012

Event Live Expo 2013 Plans Full Day Of Safety Workshops

The Event Live Expo and Summit this February 5 thru 7, 2013 in Los Angeles, California looks to be a tremendous resource for Event Safety information.  The organizers have planned six Summit sessions to fill the second day of the expo (February 6th) and numerous elements of event planning and execution will be addressed.  A run-down of the day can be found at: Click on the DAY 2 tab.

General information and registration for the conference can be found at:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

infoComm Posts Article About Event Safety Progress

November 29, 2012 - infoComm International published an article by Dan Daley that provides an update on the Event Safety Alliance's efforts to get an Event Safety Guide written for use in US venues.  The article can be read here:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Killer Show - Not your normal night out.

Author and Lawyer John Barylic has summarized the events that led up-to and resulted in the 2003 fire that killed 100 people at The Station Nightclub in East Warwick, Rhode Island.  His book summarizes the mounds of documents researched on behalf of the families of those injured and killed that fateful night.

The story of the fire, its causes, and its legal and human-tragedy aftermath, is one of human lives put at risk by petty economic decisions – by a band, club owners, promoters, building inspectors and product manufacturers. Any one of those decisions could have potentially avoided the tragedy. Together, however, they formed a fatal critical mass.

Information about his book can be found at

The site include reviews of the book, photos from the event, and links to interviews.
Photo Credit:  Daniel Davidson (Copyright holder)
Other interesting links about this event:

NIST Disaster and Failure Studies:

NFPA Case Study: Nightclub Fires:

Fire Engineering Magazine:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Don't Get Carried-Away - Grab This

While touring the Mesa Arizona Arts Center (which is a fantastic set of four venues: the Technical Director, Robby Elliot, showed me a simple rig that they use to prevent unexpected run-aways in the fly system.  Robby explained that due to the short time constraints imposed during some show strike operations, sometimes the stage crew gets ahead of the fly crew when unloading the battens.  This leaves the counterweight arbors heavy and prone to accidents while the weight loading crew plays catch-up.

To make the system safer, they install a Ultra-Safe rope grab ( on the hauling lines and anchor it to the locking rail with a SpanSet type roundsling ( and an Omega Pacific HMS Jake 3-Stage Lock-action Carabiner (  They chose the Ultra-Safe US-5000 rope grab because it is designed to fit over the hauling line ropes (it will fit up to 3/4" diameter ropes).

When a rope lock is released (or slips!) the rope grab will hold the line until the line set is restored to a balanced condition.  Flexible, easy to move around, and simple to train the users on.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Reminder about Facility Preparedness

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has posted resource links for preparedness information on their web site (,  Aside from the safety implications for severe weather, earthquakes, fire, and floods, it is socially responsible to protect our historic architecture from the ravages of arson, time, insects, and natural disasters.  "They don't build 'em like they used to" may be a common phrase, however, it it is not just the structures that are at risk, it is the contents of the buildings, too.

Finding safe and secure off-site storage for historical documents and records should be a priority for any organization that owns or manages a facility.  Storing fragile wood and paper items in basements is an invitation to destruction in the event of a fire or flood, and insect infestations can also erode and damage goods.  Water damage can be significant when even a small fire erupts, as fire fighters work vigorously to see that a fire won't spread throughout a building by dousing it liberally with thousands of gallons of water.  Water runs down hill, so anything in lower levels can be flooded by fire suppression water as it drains down through cracks and crevices.
How is your fuel supply?

Another good reason to use off-site storage for scenery, props, and costumes is in the cause of fire reduction.  What is not present as fuel cannot contribute to the fire.  Other benefits are the reduction of clutter allowing more efficient use of the available spaces.

Friday, November 23, 2012

70th Anniversary of Cocoanut Grove Nightclub Fire

QUINCY, MA -- The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has teamed up with a number of public and private organizations to form The Cocoanut Grove Coalition to preserve the history of the monumental nightclub fire that took the lives of 492 people 70 years ago.

The deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history occurred in Boston on November 28, 1942. The coalition includes the Boston Fire Department, the Boston Fire Historical Society, Boston Fire Museum, City of Boston Archives, Boston Public Library, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

According to Sue Marsh, the NFPA’s librarian, time was of the essence as all agreed that it was vital not to let more time pass before gathering additional resources, especially personal accounts from those impacted by the fire, “knowing that if we didn’t, things would be lost.”

Three videos in which Cocoanut Grove fire victims tell their stories exemplify the rich content that has come from these collections and this project.

All of the organizations represented in the coalition have material related to the fire. The intent of the project, according to Marsh, is to provide a single way to access all of the information as well as attract additional information that is out there but has not surfaced.

The NFPA library receives more requests related to Cocoanut Grove than any other incident.

“Unlike some earlier landmark fires, like the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. fire in New York in 1911, the Cocoanut Grove fire did not result in significant changes to NFPA codes,” writes Fred Durso, Jr. in the November / December 2012 issue of the NFPA Journal.

However, Boston and municipalities throughout the country underwent sweeping changes, including the reclassification of nightclubs and restaurants as places of public assembly, which is how they were already regarded in the Building Exits Code. The change introduced more stringent requirements for exits, emergency lighting, occupancy capacities, and other safety features.”
For more information, visit The Cocoanut Grove Fire website,

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Reports on 2011 Ottawa BluesFest Staging Collapse

More than a year after the incident (, a report assessing the damage, probable causes of the damage, and outlining recommendations to prevent a repeat of the day has been published.  Writer Chris Cobb of the Ottawa Citizen newspaper has obtained a copy of the report and summarized it in an article published on November 19, 2012 (

The previous day he also published a summary of first-hand accounts by people present during the incident. The article 'Stage fright' can be found here:

Photo by: Sandra Luty

One of the key causes of the collapse was determined to be that the stage crew could not remove the stage canopy fabric walls in time to unload the structure from the winds.  The panel ties had been previously removed due to a storm a week earlier, and when the fabric wall panels were reattached, they were re-secured with plastic zip-ties that were too tough to cut with a knife.

SchoolDude & Facility Masters Team-up with Theatre Safety Blog for Free Webinar

Facility Masters Webcast Series
Register Now – Free Webcast – Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:00pm EST
Improving Auditorium and Theatre Safety: Tips for Reducing Risk

More than 250 of your peers have already signed up for this can’t miss seminar!  Register today to join them, and please forward this invitation to colleagues who might be interested.
If you’re not able to attend, register anyway – we’ll email you a link to the recorded webcast to view at your convenience!

Properly maintaining and inspecting auditoriums / theatres is a critical component of a proactive safety plan that minimizes potential hazards, reduces risk and safeguards event participants.

Join a FREE, interactive 75-minute webcast to hear industry experts discuss how preventive inspections and regular maintenance of auditorium / theatre facilities and equipment protect you from liability issues while also providing a safe environment that protects students, teachers, staff and the community from injury.

Improving Auditorium and Theatre Safety: Tips for Reducing Risk
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
12:00pm-1:15pm Eastern Standard Time (11:00AM CST, 10:00AM MST, 9:00AM PST)

Register Now!

You will learn safety tips and PM checks for auditoriums and theatres that will help you: 
  • Protect occupant safety, reduce risk and liability
  • Develop a regular theatre and auditorium inspection process
  • Document inspections, maintenance and repairs
  • Establish policies for facility access, supervision and use
  • Develop a method for reporting problems with these facilities
  • Train staff and students on proper use of these facilities
  • Achieve a safe and well maintained environment
Register now for this free webcast:
Presenters are:
  • Tom Watkins:  Fine Arts Director        Van Buren School District, AR
  • Erich Friend:   Theatre Consultant       Teqniqal Systems
  • Roger Young: Executive Director         Facility Masters 
  • Justin Turner:  Applications Specialist –
Click or copy and paste the below link into your internet browser to register:

This Facility Masters webcast is sponsored by your friends at SchoolDude!

For additional resources on improving safety, PM and the learning environment, visit the Facility Masters Resource Library and the SchoolDude Resource Library. Young
Facility Masters
roger (at) facilitymastersonline (dot) com

Visit my Blog:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

OSHA Urges Black Friday Crowd Management

WASHINGTON -- OSHA is encouraging retail employers to take precautions to prevent worker injuries during Black Friday and other major sales events during the holiday season.

In 2008, a worker was trampled to death while a mob of shoppers rushed through the doors of a large store to take advantage of an after-Thanksgiving Day Black Friday sales event. OSHA recommends that retailers follow certain safeguards against this type of tragedy.

"Crowd control [management] and proper planning are critical to preventing injuries and deaths," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "OSHA urges retailers to adopt a crowd management plan during the holiday shopping season that includes a few simple guidelines."

Crowd Management plans should include:

• On-site trained security personnel or police officers.
• Barricades or rope lines for pedestrians that do not start right in front of the venue's entrance.
• Implementing crowd management measures well in advance of customers arriving at the event.
• Emergency procedures in place to address potential dangers.
• Explaining approach and entrance procedures to the arriving public.
• Not allowing additional customers to enter the venue when it reaches its Maximum Occupancy level (NO SRO for spaces with fixed seating).
• Not blocking or locking of exit doors.

A fact sheet outlining these and other safety measures is available at

A letter that OSHA has sent to major retailers about preventing crowd-related injuries can be viewed at

Comments on this subject from Dr. Michaels are available for radio stations to rebroadcast.  To download the audio file, or view a transcript, visit

A crowd management guide can be downloaded from:

The National Retail Federation has also published an Effective Crowd Management Guide that can be found at:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Theatre Safety Blog Passes Another Milestone

2012-11-13 - Sometime in the past week this blog passed a milestone of 170,000 views.  The hit counter is rolling regularly now, and I want to let the readers know that I really enjoy doing this.  It has been quite rewarding to read the comments and questions that are posed both publicly and privately.

Again:  Thanks!  As a reward to you loyal readers, the first five people that send me an e-mail with a 50 word (give or take - I'm not too picky) note about how the Theatre Safety Blog has helped you be a better theatre person, you'll get a free Theatre Safety Blog Teq-Shirt.  How cool is that?  Just send your note to: safety (at) teqniqal (dot) com [insert legal crud here . . no, just joking - but we'll be fair].

The TSB shirts are custom built to be reversed so you can be a  theatre ninja  during the show, and keep your butt from getting  run-over  during that chaotic time before and after a show.  Just turn it inside-out -- and you'll be ready to go.


2012-10-03 - Theatre Technical Director Lyle Henning at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia recently got shirt all over himself by responding:
"Theatre Safety Blog has helped me not only understand my own safety, but how my actions affect the safety of the people around me. I recently found myself in a leadership position of an aging venue, and I have been commended for the amount of maintenance and repair I have done in a short amount of time. Your Blog was part of the inspiration for getting a widely used and very worn venue back into a safe and efficient workplace.  Thank you, and keep up the safe work!"

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Welding Spark Causes Fire at Bronx Theater

Nov 5, 2012 - Bronx, New York.  FDNY rolled multiple fire-fighting units on Monday in response to smoke and fire at the historic landmark Paradise Theater.  The fire resulted from welding sparks that entered an air duct as work was being done to restore the 1929 venue.  Fire crews remained on the scene for several hours to ensure that the fire did not restart due to overlooked pockets that might be hidden in walls or other building voids.  Most of the damage to the building is thought to be smoke related, with some water damage.

Bronx Paradise Theater - Photo Credit: Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times

The 4000 seat Paradise Theater is one of the last Atmospheric theaters that employed a dark blue ceiling to create the effect of an open night sky above the audience.  Originally designed and used for both Vaudeville shows and cinema, the interior of both the lobby and the audience chamber is ornate.  The elaborate wall murals that portray Italian Baroque buildings extend across the painted fire curtain.  More history of the building can be found at:

The auditorium is the second largest in New York, only smaller than Radio City Music Hall, and the 23rd largest auditorium ever built in the country.  It was designed by John Eberson, who was one of the most prominent theater designers in the United States and inventor of the Atmospheric style, the theater sought to transport visitors to an outdoor Baroque Italian garden of marble pillars, cypress trees, plaster replications of Michelangelo sculptures, vines, stuffed birds, and even a goldfish pond.  With a painted ceiling of stars bearing the constellation of Marcus Loews' birth sign and a smoke machine producing simulated clouds, viewers felt they were sitting under an evening sky. The result was a multi-sensory movie experience, an escape.  According to Eberson, the auditorium was "a magnificent amphitheatre under a glorious moonlit sky where friendly stars twinkled and wisps of cloud drifted."  Additional descriptions of the theater can be found at: and:,_New_York%29