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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 286 (250)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 286
Page 286

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 286

Projection Room Safety Requirements*

Proper Safety Procedures For Theatre Projection Rooms Are Necessary to Keep the Danger of Fire to a Minimum

Since the first thickelodeon" opened its doors to the public for presentation of motion pictures, the greatest safety hazard, as is Well known, has been the fire and panic danger inherent in the ever-present possibility of accidental ignition of the thousands of feet of cellulose nitrate film located in the pros jection room. This continuing hazardous condition over the years has changed recently to a considerable degree, due to the gradual replacement of nitrate film by so-called itsafety" cellulose acetate film. However, as long as 35mm film remains standard for the projection

BRIEF: Nitrate film has imposed special requirements on projection room design for many years . . . The advent of 35mm safety film may change some of these . . . and this possibility is fully explored in this article . . . However, as long as nitrate film is in use . . . projection rooms must be constructed and equipped in such a manner as to hold the probability of fire breaking out to a bare minimum . . . It is commonly known that even the hint of fire in a theatre may cause a panic which may result in disaster . . and weaken the publicis

faith in the safety of motion picture theatres.

A new problem in safety for projection rooms has arisen with the use of large screen theatre television equipment . . . Each of the two types of theatre TV equipment now in use . . . direct projection and the film method of projection . . . entail safety problems peculiar to themselves . . . and are given individual attention.

of motion pictures in theatres, most safety authorities, many theatre owners, and those theatre designers who are intimately conversant with the numerous details involved in the proper design and construction of modern projection rooms for maximum safety and best operating features, feel that any changes in the specifications now considered as standard are both unwarranted and undesirable. If We assume, and it is a fair supposition, that a fireproof type of construction for theatres will continue to be demanded by local governmental authorities, it seems hardly possible that non-fireproof type of construction for projection rooms would be advocated.

*Rr/U'iuf of a [WI/UT fin'xz'nfnf May 3, 1951 n! {Ix-r Smirlv of Motion Pirmrv mm] Trlcr-isiun Enyim'rrx (alteration in New York, and ['ubhxhcd in the Journal of STALKTJL, Scrum/liar, 1952.



Let us consider, item by item, some of the real reasons for the present type of enclosure for the projection, sound, and accessory equipment in the modern theatre projection room. To isolate from the auditorium unavoidable noises such as those due to the operation of the equipment, and due to conversation necessary from time to time, a substantial enclosure is certainly needed,

The physical strength alone required to safely support the weight of the necessary equipment, and to allow for additional weight of four, or more, persons who may be in the room at one time, calls for the specification of a heavy -reinforced concrete fioor constructed according to the recommendations of a qualified structural engineer. Also, and for more similar reasons, the four walls of the room should be designed to assure structural security and adequate fire protection, as well as the physical strength required to support electrical raceways and heavy equipment items which may be mounted on these walls.

From long experience in projection room design, it seems advisable to call for a ceiling not less than nine feet above the projection room floor level, and of structurally strong and fireproof construction. Costly films, sound and projection systems need protection from theft and from fire hazard elsewhere in the theatre, as well as vice-versa. Solid, fireproof enclosures with approved fireproof doors equipped with trustworthy locks, are thus well justified, whether or not the films used introduce any special fire hazard.

Fire in the Projection Room

In the event a fire does occur in the projection room, it is instantly and imperatively necessary to completely isolate the room from the auditorium, in order to prevent possible panic. Panic kills more people in theatres than actual fires. Projection and observation port openings must be equipped with gravityoperated, automatically controlled, ap proved steel fire shutters actuated by a master control cord and by 160 degree fusible links, located immediately above and within six-inches of the upper magazine of each projection machine. In the event of a projection room fire, it is necessary to exhaust promptly all smoke

FIRE AND THE FEAR of fire are among the greatest perils that face a motion picture thouno. Tho terrible scene pictured offers mule testimony to the horror that can strike a theatre if proper safety measures are not taken. Projection booths offer one of the greatest sources of danger from fire. and to ignore taking the necessary precautions. and supplying the proper equipment can be a proludo to disc-tor.

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 286