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Author Topic: Hazer set off nightclub fire alarm  (Read 1539 times)

Paul Johnson

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Re: Hazer set off nightclub fire alarm
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2021, 04:08:28 AM »

Keep in mind advice here is territory dependent. In the UK, it would take a brave person to turn off the fire alarm and replace them with a fire 'official'. We used to do this with theatres, but this was before the advent of modern systems. The current practice here is determined by the changes to premises licences and the switch to self-certification of the premises for being safe. The Fire Officers who used to visit and try to set fire to your drapes have been replaced by the owners taking FULL responsibility - great, after the fire. What it means is a risk based fire system zoning. So the place where the haze will be is able to be isolated and removed from monitoring, on the responsible person's authority. The offices, dressing rooms, meeting rooms and importantly every area where there is flammable material will still be active. It does still mean the occasional false alarm when somebody props open a door from stage side to dressing rooms and the haze trickles in and activates an alarm. You then get the warning to investigate and silence the alarm before it goes off, and you evacuate.

Here, the fireman system was shown to be lacking, because with the alarm off, real fires could get missed, because they sit in the corner and watch the show - or more usually, watch TV or play with their phone. Some venues now also have heat source activation and not just looking for particulates in the air stream.

Here, it is all down to risk assessment to get the right system, then keep it working. Personal responsibility has proven to be more effective than spot checks and then no risk assessment till the next visit - which was what happened before. The Fire Officers could count emergency exits, look for evidence of blockages and poorly stored materials impeding escape routes, but frankly, the new system actually works better. In my venue we have a fully functional and tested safety curtain. It is no longer detailed on the premises licence, so we do not have to do what many venues do - have to lower and raise it in public view. We keep it maintained because we think it important - BUT - only for some shows. I look at the stuff on the stage, and if the visiting people ask if they can put their PA under the iron, disabling it - I take the responsibility. If the show used flames, as many do now, and had scenery that looked to me like it might well be a risk, 'd insist the iron be kept clear, but for a rock and roll show? Even pyros might not prevent me saying it's OK. We don't have a fireman, haven't had one for 30 years, because the crew are all part of the safety team aren't they? If they were the sort to say "hey - that fire over there isn't my responsibility" they'd not be working for me.

Haze is a pain, but can be controlled. My venue has entrances on all 4 compass points, it is also on the end of a pier - the previous theatres having burnt down, as they often do. Opening a door means ALL the haze suddenly heads in that direction, and two of them will set the alarms off. We deal with it.
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Russell Ault

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Re: Hazer set off nightclub fire alarm
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2021, 01:46:37 PM »

Keep in mind advice here is territory dependent.
{...}
So the place where the haze will be is able to be isolated and removed from monitoring, on the responsible person's authority. The offices, dressing rooms, meeting rooms and importantly every area where there is flammable material will still be active. It does still mean the occasional false alarm when somebody props open a door from stage side to dressing rooms and the haze trickles in and activates an alarm. You then get the warning to investigate and silence the alarm before it goes off, and you evacuate.
{...}

This is basically what's done here as well. A lot of venues around here have fire detection systems that allow for specific sensors to be temporarily disabled (and procedures in place, often requiring both a key and a phone call, to ensure that the disabling only happens under the appropriate authority and for the shortest time possible). In a stage environment, venue employees are already responsible for fire monitoring, so temporarily disabling sensors while those employees are present isn't seen as significantly increasing the fire risk (although the sensors must be re-enabled during meal breaks). In a lot of cases, any heat sensors will continue to function and only particulate sensors will be disabled (although at least one venue also regularly disables the heat sensors to deal with pyro).

And, as Paul mentioned, sometimes a door gets left open and the alarm goes off, but that just means the system is working...

-Russ
« Last Edit: October 17, 2021, 06:58:43 PM by Russell Ault »
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Hazer set off nightclub fire alarm
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2021, 03:40:11 PM »

In my experience it has been the photo-optical particulate sensors in the air handling systems are the most sensitive to haze.  Ionization detectors don't recognize most haze or fog as a combustion product.

In my fair city, when pyro is used a fire watch is required and coordinated with pyro crew, a promoter/producer-side licensed (state/local) pyro supervisor, and local fire marshal.  This because the ionization detectors must be bypassed.

At our downtown PAC I recall some changes to the smoke detection system for at least 1 auditorium because a 3 or 4 week tour run of a popular Broadway show used LOTS of atmospherics.

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Paul Johnson

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Re: Hazer set off nightclub fire alarm
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2021, 03:40:30 PM »

Just before covid hit I was on a Ferry for 8 hours - Belfast to Liverpool, and they were being refitted at sea - big sections shut off behind plastic sheets while they painted and did things - and all the sensors in this section of the ship - that had plenty of passengers, were isolated by rubber gloves stretched over the sensor main face. I don't mind admitting being on a ship, in the middle of the Irish Sea with non-working fire systems made me wonder .........
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Hazer set off nightclub fire alarm
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2021, 04:06:48 PM »

Just before covid hit I was on a Ferry for 8 hours - Belfast to Liverpool, and they were being refitted at sea - big sections shut off behind plastic sheets while they painted and did things - and all the sensors in this section of the ship - that had plenty of passengers, were isolated by rubber gloves stretched over the sensor main face. I don't mind admitting being on a ship, in the middle of the Irish Sea with non-working fire systems made me wonder .........

Yeah, what could possibly go wrong?  :o
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Alec Spence

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Re: Hazer set off nightclub fire alarm
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2021, 11:18:41 AM »

Just before covid hit I was on a Ferry for 8 hours - Belfast to Liverpool, and they were being refitted at sea - big sections shut off behind plastic sheets while they painted and did things - and all the sensors in this section of the ship - that had plenty of passengers, were isolated by rubber gloves stretched over the sensor main face. I don't mind admitting being on a ship, in the middle of the Irish Sea with non-working fire systems made me wonder .........
You know that your responsibility on that ship was to notify and escalate it among the ship's crew at the time.  And then to report it as soon as you could afterwards.

Yes, you'd have been a pain in the ass, but for all the right reasons.  It's pains in the ass who end up saving lives...
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Bill Hornibrook

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Re: Hazer set off nightclub fire alarm
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2021, 10:46:10 AM »

I was surprised that a water based hazer set off a nightclubs fire alarm. Are there are any tips or tricks to mitigate this?

This is strictly at the lounge level, but I've had good results using low wattage foggers (500-700 watts) always on with extremely diluted fog juice - like one cup of Swamp Juice per gallon of distilled water. You don't see anything coming out of the machine, but eventually the stage takes on just enough haze to make the lights stand out. I've done this in well over a dozen venues, and haven't set anything off yet.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Hazer set off nightclub fire alarm
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2021, 12:43:25 PM »

I was doing some consulting with church that would have visiting musical groups come in. They told them that they couldn’t use haze because it would set off the smoke detectors. But some of them tried it and they would get away with it for a little while and then the detectors would go off and it was tied into the alarm system and would call out the fire department.


What concerns me about this issue is people being lulled into thinking the alarm system is crying wolf.  A few years ago we had an issue with setting off rate of rise sensors in a production area.  One day the fire alarm was triggered, the employee who took the alarm company's called waved them off-without knowing what was happening.  We still had employees loitering in a building with the alarms sounding and my boss at the time first concern was turning off the alarm.  My concern was finding the source of the alarm-which, while there was no fire, had been triggered by an HVAC contractor leaving a unit running at high fire when he left the building-so a legitimate alarm.  Not catching it could have caused a fire-if we just ignored and silenced the alarm.

False alarms can be dangerous when they become routine.
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Steve Swaffer

Kevin Maxwell

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Re: Hazer set off nightclub fire alarm
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2021, 01:32:27 PM »

What concerns me about this issue is people being lulled into thinking the alarm system is crying wolf.  A few years ago we had an issue with setting off rate of rise sensors in a production area.  One day the fire alarm was triggered, the employee who took the alarm company's called waved them off-without knowing what was happening.  We still had employees loitering in a building with the alarms sounding and my boss at the time first concern was turning off the alarm.  My concern was finding the source of the alarm-which, while there was no fire, had been triggered by an HVAC contractor leaving a unit running at high fire when he left the building-so a legitimate alarm.  Not catching it could have caused a fire-if we just ignored and silenced the alarm.

False alarms can be dangerous when they become routine.

It wouldn't have mattered if it was a real alarm on not, the fire department shows up with multiple trucks. And the place gets evacuated before they show up. And once the alarm goes off the fire department is on their way there is no way to tell them not to come.

They haven't had any problems that I know of since the system was changed to one that a hazer wouldn't set off the alarm.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2021, 01:34:47 PM by Kevin Maxwell »
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Re: Hazer set off nightclub fire alarm
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2021, 01:32:27 PM »


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