All interior solid ceiling sets over 600 square feet (55.7 sq m) in area, and platforms over 600 square feet (55.7 sq m) in area and which exceed 3 feet (1 m) in height should be protected by one of the following in accordance with Chapter 48 of the California Fire Code, Section 4805.3:
- An approved and listed heat detector system. Heat detectors shall be spaced 30 feet (9.1 m) on center or as required by the manufacturer’s installation instructions. Detectors shall be connected to an approved and listed central, proprietary or remote station service or a local alarm, which will give an audible signal at a constantly attended location.
- The ceiling shall be positioned to allow for the operation of the building’s automatic fire sprinkler system after rehearsal, videotaping, filming, or broadcasting of programs has been completed for the day.
- An approved fire watch.
- Special hazards shall be reviewed by the local fire code official.
Detectors are generally not required beneath raised platforms where there are no ignition sources below, including electrical, and are provided with chicken wire along the entire perimeter to prevent accumulation of storage.
Heat detectors may be removed during actual shooting but must be installed after daily shooting is finished. Large areas of horizontally flown or suspended material, such as Duvetyne, that is flame retardant, may necessitate heat detection below the material, due to the nature of the material and the blockage of the stage sprinkler system. The local fire authority will typically address these issues on a case-by-case basis.
PLASTIC AND FOAM USE IN SET CONSTRUCTION
- In accordance with Chapter 48 of the California Fire Code, Section 4811.5, foam plastics and all materials containing foam plastics used in set construction shall conform to the following:
- Decorative objects, including but not limited to mannequins, murals and signs, shall have a maximum heat release of 150 kilowatts when tested in accordance with UL 1975.
- Theater, motion picture and television stage settings with or without horizontal projections and simulated caves or caverns shall have a maximum heat-release rate of 100 kilowatts when tested in accordance with UL 1975.
- Before any foam plastics are used in set construction, the Production should verify the flame spread rating of the foam through the product's Technical Data Sheet. This data sheet should be forwarded to the Production Safety Consultant.
- Plastic materials other than foam plastics shall be flame resistant or shall be rendered flame resistant by treating with a flame retardant coating. Treatments used to render materials flame resistant shall be renewed as often as necessary to maintain the materials flame resistance. Records of treatment shall be made available upon request.
- All foam cutting/sculpting operations involving heat or hot wire should require a Hot Work Permit issued by the local fire authority.
HOT WORK (CUTTING, WELDING, BRAZING)
- Hot work refers to cutting, welding, brazing, grinding, or any other operation using an open flame or that generates heat or sparks.
- Whenever possible, hot work should be conducted outdoors at a safe distance away from any building or flammable / combustible storage.
- A Hot Work Permit should be obtained from the local fire authority prior to starting any hot work.
- Please refer to the sample Hot Work Permit. All necessary requirements outlined on the permit shall be strictly followed.
- In the event a permit is not available, the following minimum precautions should be required:
- All available fire sprinklers, hose streams, and fire extinguishers are in service and operable.
- All hot work equipment is in good repair.
- Within 35 feet (10.7 m) of hot work area, all flammable liquids, gases, dust, lint, and oily deposits shall be removed. In addition, every attempt should be made to eliminate any combustible material. If combustibles cannot be removed, other methods such as shielding or covering combustibles with fire resistive materials are acceptable.
- Within 35 feet (10.7 m) of the work area, all openings in walls, floor, and ceilings are covered. This includes all vents, pipe chases, cracks, windows, doors, etc.
- A dedicated fire watch is required during and for a minimum of 1 hour after all hot work operations are completed. Certain situations may require a dedicated fire watch of longer duration. The fire watch duties can be assigned to anyone who understands the hazards of hot work and is properly trained in the use of portable fire extinguishers and emergency notification procedures. The fire watch has the responsibility to make certain the hot work area is maintained in a fire safe condition throughout the performance of hot work and has the authority to stop hot work is unsafe conditions are observed.
- Please refer to the Fire Watch article for instructions and sample fire watch documentation form.
- All oxygen acetylene and other fuel gas cylinders and tanks shall be capped and secured, or removed from stages when not in use.
- Fully charged fire extinguishers with a current service tags must be at the hot work site at all times.
- No building materials are allowed to be stored within the 4foot (1.2 m) perimeter fire lane.
- No building materials are allowed to be stored in front of any stage doors (elephant doors) or exit doors.
- No storage is allowed on top of hard sets or any open room with a wire mesh ceiling.
- There is no storage allowed under audience seating unless it is protected by a sprinkler, heat, or smoke detection system, or approved by the local fire authority.
- Construction of audience seating must be in accordance with the California Fire Code, NFPA and ANSI Standards.
- Other than the standard stage exiting signage, additional signage may be required depending on set arrangement. Exit signage and illumination shall be in accordance with the California Fire Code and/or local building codes.
- Full or partially full trash dumpsters must be removed from the stage at the end of the day.
- All practical fireplaces, whether built on stage or acquired elsewhere shall meet local fire authority requirements. Refer to an example of practical fireplace construction here.