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1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 381 (343)

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition
1954-55 Theatre Catalog
1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 381
Page 381

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 381

A Thorough Pro-closing Inspection

A ' leading movie theatre operator reports that one of the most vital parts of his fire-safety routine is a complete inspection of every part of the theatre prior to locking up for the night. Over a period of almost twenty years, these checks have revealed several small fires which were extinguished promptly. Further, these checks frequently disclosed potentially dangerous situations. This operator states that "while it is anyone's guess just what the fire damage would have been had they not been discovered prior to closing, the pre-closing inspection policy has saved me thousands of dollars in property damage and, perhaps even more important, kept my boxofiices open for business."

The Proiection Booth

Fire protection for the projection booth has been a matter for debate for years. Becasue some film burns fiercely and almost defies measures to put it out, one leading movie chain requires booth personnel to vacate the space immediately in case of fire. They count on the fire resistant construction of the booth to prevent the spread of fire while it burns itself out. They also feel that with present day film storage and modern projectors, the chances of a large volume of film flashing is most unlikely.

This theory also is employed by one of the country's largest passenger steamship companies. In several of their new ships, similar instructions are issued to theatre projection booth personnel. However, the operating coinpany installed a manually-operated, built-in carbon-dioxide fire extinguisher for each booth. In case of fire, the operator immediately leaves the space. The exit door closes automatically behind him; and by means of a pull box mounted on a bulkhead next to the exit, he trips cylinders of pressurized carbon dioxide. The released liquid rushes from its cylinders, through piping, and is discharged into the booth as a gas from Multijet nozzles. By reducing oxygen in the room to a point which will not support combustion (except for the most violent film fires), the flame is smothered. In this installation, passage of the extinguishing agent through the piping throws switches which shut off ventilation for the space, secure all electrical equipment within the booth, and cause alarms to sound in a central fire station(s).

No matter what your projection booth fire policy may be, equip your booth with carbon dioxide portables. Remember, they can be used on electrical equipment or machinery fires equally well and will not damage the valuable equipment.

Electrical Control

Board Protection

Another thought for large theatre owners comes from a well-known steel company. It uses built-in carbon dioxide systems to safeguard its vital electrical control boards. These systems are automatically set-off (they also have pull


boxes for manual release) and could be used for similar vital and costly switch boards in theatres. Except for the addition of the automatic feature, they function in the same manner as the carbon dioxide systems installed in the ships' projection booths. In the case of a theatre, the installation could be made so that the alarm would be flashed to municipal fire headquarters as well.

Fire Detection

Nearly every theatre has at least one space which is unattended and infrequently entered containing valuable equipment or supplies. Such spaces might be the air conditioning apparatus room, boiler room, dressing rooms, or storage spaces. For example, a fire breaking out in the electrically-powered and controlled air conditioning equipment could rage unnoticed for some time and do extensive damage to the equipment before being detected.

Kidde has installed scores of fire detection systems to protect this type of space. Some of them work in conjunction with automatic extinguishing systems. They comprise heat sensitive elements placed throughout the hazard space. Some react to a continuing rateof-temperature rise while others actuate only when a fixed temperature has been reached. If fire dashes, the elements cause alarms to'sound in one or more



locations, and switches can be included in the systems to secure machinery, lights, ventilation, etc.

The Fire Trap Next Door

You may have the best fire safety program in movie theatre operation, but if your theatre is surrounded by poorlyprotected, highly-flammable buildings, your building is jeopardized. Consider cooperating with the owners of adjoining structures in a joint fire safety campaign. You may find the owners of these buildings unaware of their buildings, shortcomings and most anxious to work with you in improving the general situation.

If this proves unsatisfactory, some theatre owners have found it economical to install roof-top water sprinklers, water curtain equipment for side walls, and fire walls.

No matter what your situation is, donlt feel secure because your own building is adequately protected. Your good neighbor may prove to be bad.


Great strides have been made in theatre fire safety over the years. In the long run, however, safety codes can do only so much. The big job lies with the individual owner taking steps to provide his own theatre with procedures, equipment, and fire extinguishing apparatus that feature th0 Fire Today."


1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 381