ESTA and PLASA have announce the release of an International Code of Practice for Entertainment Rigging (ICOPER). The document, which is an outline of actions to be taken at each stage of rigging, from pre-design through removal from the venue, is available as a free download at www.esta.org/icoper or www.plasa.org/icoper. ICOPER was created to promote awareness and safety worldwide by providing a model sequence of considerations and actions. The focus is on arena rigging, however it is applicable to all event production rigging disciplines. Regulations and standards differ around the world, so ICOPER is not prescriptive. However, it provides a series of guidelines that, if followed, are expected to produce predictable results and enhance safe practice.
Throughout the south there are schools, universities and professional theatres with electrical equipment that has been submerged in flood waters from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They’re biggest question is, “What can I dry out and use, and what do I have to replace?” NEMA (the National Electrical Manufacturers Association) has a guide for this (NEMA GD 1-2016 Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment) that you can download here.
Some larger pieces of equipment can be reconditioned, but that doesn’t mean simply drying them out. It includes using appropriate cleaning agents, and the success of reconditioning depends on the “nature of the electrical function, the degree of flooding, the age of the equipment, and the length of time the equipment was exposed to water.” The problem is that equipment submerged during a flood isn’t just wet, it’s now contaminated with whatever was in the water.
What does that mean for a theatre? Here are some key items that should be replaced.
- Fuses, switches, circuit breakers
- Components containing semiconductors and transistors. That means lighting and sound control consoles, dimmer rack control and power modules, and all LED fixtures.
- Transformers. If the transformer feeding your dimmer racks was submerged, it has to be replaced.
- Outlets and switches
- Wiring in conduit
- Stage cables
- Uninterruptible power supplies
- Communications systems
What might be successfully reconditioned? Not much.
- Conduit and tubing, if it can be completely dried out
- Motors. Consult the manufacturers of your stage and pit lifts.
Yes, it’s a lot. But, it’s better to replace damaged equipment than to risk failure, or worse, of equipment with hidden damage.
Here’s the plug for Studio T+L: Give us a call. We can help you to determine what needs to be replaced, write a specification for the replacement equipment, bid the replacement, and check up on the contractors as they’re doing the work. And, we’re nice!
For the second year in a row, USITT is promoting rigging safety on social media by asking people to use the hashtag #RigSafe on April 29th. USITT will be promoting their Rigging Safety Initiative providing free rigging inspections and safety training for high school stages. USITT is also producing the Jay O. Glerum Rigging Masterclass in Denver this June.
The importance of knowledgeable, safety conscious riggers is obvious when we consider that there are literally tons of equipment hanging over the heads of the audience and performers in many of our theaters. USITT does a good job of offering training to high school and college students. ESTA and their Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP) take the next step by administering an industry-wide program of rigorous assessments for professional technicians in the categories of Rigger-Arena, Rigger-Theatre, and Entertainment Electrician.
These exams are a voluntary test of certain abilities, skills and knowledge in each category. Individuals who have passed the exam have demonstrated proficiency in their respective field. Studio T+L supports increased professionalism for entertainment technicians, and requires that an ETCP certified technician lead the rigging installation team on all of our projects. We also encourage theatre owners and producers to support their technicians in attaining ETCP certified status. ESTA offers ETCP exam guidance and information to organizations and individuals here.