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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 533 (507)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 533
Page 533

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 533

Fire-Protection Equipment

Fire-protection equipment includes automatic sprinklers, fire doors, asbestos proscenium curtains, emergency closing devices, hand fire extinguishers, wheeled extinguishers, fire hose, a fire-alarm system, and other fire-control equipment. Fortunately, many types of fire protection equipment can be installed after a structure is completed, so that deficiencies can be remedied at any time. The minimum quantity of such equipment is often specified in local codes. Where there is no such provision, the National Fire Codes* will serve as a guide. But again, it should be recognized that such provisions are minimum. Greater protection is an investment in greater safety.

To be effective when a fire emergency arises, fire protection equipment must be

*Among the volumes of National Fire Codes published by the NFPA, the following have particular application to theatres: Volume I, Flammable Liquids, Gases, Chemicals and Explosives (motion picture film, oil-burning equipment, paint storage, etc.): Volume 111, Building Construction and Equipment (exists, air conditioning, fire doors, etc.); Volume IV, Extinguishing and Alarm Equipment (extinguishers, hose, automatic sprinklers, etc).

DEATH CAME TO 78 PERSONS, and iniury to 30 more - only one of whom was over 16 years old v when fire destroyed the Laurier Palace Theatre, Montreal, on January 9, 1927. The brick front gave an appearance of good construction not borne out by the interior, which was of wood with a finish of plaster on Wood



in good working order and it must operate or be operated properly. This means that the equipment must be inspected regularly, kept ready for instant use and handled in practice drills. The theatre manager can take care of these details with his own staff members, although cooperation from the municipal fire chief, or some other local authority equally concerned with fire defense, may not only enable him to do so more easily but may also lend authority to his direction. In case of a fire which gets beyond the control of the theatre staff, the municipal department can fight it more effectively if the chief is thoroughly acquainted with the threatened building.

lnadequately Trained Personnel

Inadequately trained personnel is often excused because of labor conditions. It is understandable that employment of people with no previous experience is necessary, but failure to give them any special training in fire safety measures is a different story. Employes in any organization need a great deal of competent

safety training and supervision. This is particularly true if they are boys under draft age, who approach a job with no lack of self-confidence and the natural impetuosity of youth, or older persons who have never worked in a theatre before.

Proof of the value of good employe training is a typical example which occurred in Schenectady, New York, one evening in April, 1945, when some film caught fire in the projection booth of the Cameo Theatre. Employes immediately closed the fire-proof shutters, turned on the house lights, called the fire department, and attacked the fire with fire extinguishers. The fire chief said his their stood on end' when the call came through, as a theatre fire is- most dreaded by those who are aware of its tragic possibilities. The chief rushed to the theatre, found it emptied of its audience with little excitement, and the fire under control. After the first was out, he remarked, ffIt was an indication that constant training of fwhat to do in case of firei has taken hold in Schenectady . . J,

lath. Fire originated in the center of the balcony, in the concealed space under the balcony floor. Some of the children were rescued, and some corpses removed, through the windows opening on the marquee. The medical report said that 52 died from smoke asphyxiation, 25 were crushed to death, and one died from burns.
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 533