ENGLISH FIREMEN ON HOW TO MAKE THEATRES SAFE.
At a meeting of the Council of the Fire Brigades Association, it was unanimously resolved that a copy of the following suggestions, as to protection against accident by fire in theatres and public buildings, should be forwarded to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, the Members of the House of Commons, and the Press.
1. That all theatres and public buildings of entertainment in Great Britain and Ireland capable of holding 500 or more persons be registered, and by Act of Parliament placed under official supervision, and visited by duly appointed inspectors, in whom should be vested sufficient authority to compel strict adherence to the following regulations:
2. That an adequate water service for fire extinction should exist in all registered buildings, with a special service hydrant fitted at one side of the stage, and with an ample supply of hose, etc.
3. That in all registered buildings gas pipes should be made of iron, composition piping being prohibited. That having zpecial regard to theatres, etc., as places entailing the greatest liability and risk to life, the following should specially apply :
4. One or more duly qualified Firemen shall be in charge of the fire appliances on the stage during every performance, with an ample supply of hose, etc.
5. All doors to open outwardly and to be lightly constructed of wood and glass, and conspicuously marked “ Exit.”
6. Electrical communication to be maintained between all theatres and music halls, etc., and the nearest fire station.
7. That in all theatres and music halls the gas service should be derived from two distinct and separate main services, with separate meters; the lighting of the “ House,” being effected in such manner that each alternate tier of lights should derive its supply of gas from one or other meter, thereby insuring immunity from total darkness in the event of explosion affecting one meter; and the better to avoid total darkness, each theatre, etc., shall be compelled to keep oil lamps burning nightly in addition to gas.
8. The inspecting officer should see the servants ia all theatres, etc., properly instructed howto act in case of fire; and in every building a signal should be known to convey to the servants of the building the presence of fire in any part thereof without giving the alarm to the public.
That in all future buildings intended for theatres or music halls, a water curtain should be made to separate stage and auditory, such curtain to consist of a perforated iron pipe connected with the water main and running from side to side of the stage, level with the top of the proscenium, capable, when charged, to cause a perfect sheet of water to divide the auditorium and stage.
1. That an iron veranda outside the house, with a balcony for every floor, should be so constructed outside the building as to hold the people on each tier, with iron doors shut oft from the main building—thus enabling ready saving of life in event of fire.
2. That all staircases should be constructed of concrete, with banisters of iron.
1. That efficient and adequate protection should be” afforded in all registered buildings by the appointment of a person or persons to look alter appliances kept for fire prevention and extinction, and that such person or persons should be examined by the visiting inspector, and approved by him on their appointment.
2. The footlights or floats to be protected by a wire guard. The first ground line to be always without gas, and unconnected with gas whether at the wings or elsewhere. Sufficient space to be left between each ground line, so as to lessen risk from accident to all persons standing or moving among such lines.
3. The rows or lines of gas burners at wings to commence four feet at least from the level of the stage, unless properly protected.
4. Fire places and stoves to be guarded with wire screens.
5. It is recommended that the use of some non-combustible solution, such as tungstate of soda, be enforced in connection with inflammable material used on the stage, and highly inflammable wearing apparel to be rendered non-combustible by being dipped in a solution of alum, or by any approved process.
Resolved—(1.) ” That the totally unprotected state of numerous public buildings throughout the kingdom in the event of fire, andffhe serious risk to life thereby entailed, renders it necessary, in the opinion of this association, that definite regulations, based on the above suggestions, should forthwith be issued under the authority of Parliament, and enforced by visiting inspectors specially appointed for the purpose.”
(2.) “That the appointment of inspectors, duly empowered by Parliament with necessary au’hority to enforce such precautions against fires as are necessary, appears to the council to be urgently imperative.”