Friday, September 30, 2011

Fire Prevention Day in Technical Theatre Class

When I took Technical Theatre in college, they didn't talk about safety.  When I was in grad school, I was the proctor for the Technical Theatre Lab and they didn't talk about safety there either.  Over the years I have been hurt and injured many times while practicing my craft.  I decided a long time ago that if I ever became the Technical Theatre teacher, I would talk about safety, and that is what I do.

I spend about three weeks at the beginning of the semester each year talking about different aspects of safety, such as personal safety, chemical safety, public safety and fire safety.  The last few years I have had the campus fire chief come and talk to my class for a couple of days.  On the first day, he talks about fire, it's causes and prevention and how to determine whether or not to fight it.  On the second day, he brings his training equipment to the shop and we go out and learn in a practical way about fighting a fire with a fire extinguisher.  It's alot of fun and the students really enjoy it.

He teaches us the acronym, PASS which stands for, Pull the pin, Aim the nozzle at the base of the flames, Squeeze the handle, Sweep side to side.  He also teaches us that you should never fight a fire unless you have cleared the area of people, called 911 or pulled the fire alarm or both, determined if the fire was still able to be fought with an extinguisher, and then never to fight a fire unless you have a clear means of egress to your back.

On fire extinguisher day, the fire chief lights the fire and the students each take a turn attempting to put it out.  They usually have the extinguisher right in front of the fire, the fire starts and the student calmly walks up to the extinguisher, pulls the pin and puts the fire out.  I decided that I needed to show them how it really was, so I always put the extinguisher away from the fire because they are never convenient to the fire in real life, then I attempt to disperse the crowd before I attempt to put out the fire.  One of my students filmed me today.

What can I say?  It's a theatre class.

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