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Mar 28 2013

“What’s good about it?”

Category: EgressLori @ 10:34 pm Comments (19)

I couldn’t wait until another Wordless Wednesday rolled around to post this one.

Me (immediately after taking the photo): “That’s a good one.”
My 11YO daughter: “What’s good about it?”
Me: “Well, the two firemen are standing directly in front of the blocked exit.”
11YO: “So by ‘good’, you really mean ‘bad’.”
Me: “Yes, Captain Obvious!”  😀

I’m sure their emergency protocol includes having them run directly to the exit to remove the velvet rope.

Fire Department

Here’s the lobby during intermission.  The doors are way down on the right.  The velvet rope is still in place.


In case you’re wondering how many occupants there were in this venue…A LOT.

Occupant Load

My aim here is not to embarrass any facility or in this case, the firefighters.  I love and respect firefighters and I have been going to this event for over 15 years.  Everything that I post here is posted in the spirit of education and hopefully it is perceived that way.  If you see something, say something.  I have contacted the main office for this production and I’m sure they will correct the problem.

19 Responses to ““What’s good about it?””

  1. Nolan Thrope says:

    I hope you said something to them

  2. Cda says:

    Those are mannequins

  3. Cda says:

    Hay it’s Boston come on

  4. Jeff Tock says:

    You are going to be banned from all public venues, all hotels, and shipped off to Mars….you and your two heads.

    • Lori says:

      I do worry about that. Next year when I go to buy my tickets to this event, Ticketmaster will tell me that all seats are sold out for every performance.

  5. James says:

    Even the fire dept can be spineless at times. The principal of Vista Middle School in Los Angeles complained about an unannounced brief informal inspection, and now that inspector is forbidden to go to that school until further notice. So much for trusting the LAFD to be the watchdog!

    I have seen many occasions the LAFD has allowed the use of padlocks during school hours on gates (gates which have panic hardware due to being part of an egress pathway, that is, they are between classroom buildings and the area of refuge for those buildings). Go figure.

  6. Brad Keyes says:


    We can’t take you anywhere. I suggest you give a camera to your 11YO so she can take pictures of you getting kicked out of public venues.

    [Just proves the point that many AHJs don’t know the codes. May not be these guy’s fault…Perhaps they are not trained in code compliance, but hey… they’re wearing the uniform.]

  7. Curtis Meskus says:

    keep the photos in a safe secure place, when the investigators come after the tragedy you will be able to easily provide them to the team

  8. Safecrackin Sammy says:


    Just yesterday I was at a small local store that I freqent. They have narrow stile glass store fronts with mag locks for security.

    When I went to leave the door would not open. The RTE PIR had apparently failed and the RTE palm button was also inoperative since it was wired to the panel versus a direct disconnect.
    [They have mulitple locations and install thier own stuff]
    This was the only exit on the front side of the store.

    After pointing out the exit sign above the door to the store clerk and mentioning the possibilites of hazard she was on the phone with her boss to get it repaired.

    Good Friday and Happy Easter to all!

    • Lori says:

      This happened to me in an architect’s office. I was with one of my coworkers and on the way out we passed the ceiling-mounted motion sensor that unlocked the door, but then we stopped to look at the stair door right next to the exit. By the time we got to the exterior door, which had an electric strike and a double-cylinder lock, the electric strike keeper was locked. There was no button to press. We had to backtrack far enough for the motion sensor to pick us up again and unlock the door. If we were “normal” people we probably would have had no idea what to do.

  9. Gerald Austin says:

    This brought to mind an incident in my experience. It was a Saturday morning and the downtown civic center of a large midwestern city had the annual craft fair. The building was about 2 City blocks square as I recall. As my wife, childern and I entered the main entrance which was reduced in width by a row of hay bales without fire retardant application. This was my first disturbance. This level is basically underground but it daylights to grade at the west end. There are numerous ramps down from the main level where vehicles can be driven for various purposes. These ramps all had substancial metal grates across them on this day, locked firmly in place. Getting a bit more concerned, I noted that there were no visible exits to the walking stair enclosures that went up to the main level. As we proceded, I noted that the aisles were often less than three feet wide because of the displays of made mostly of burlap, cardboard, etc. that served as dividers between the various displayers. We had a stroller as did many people in the space and found it very hard to make much progress. There were cords plugged into cords, some across where people were walking. There were people doing glass blowing so there were active sources of ignition. There were lighted candles, mostly in presumably safe containers but some were home made so one cannot be sure. My wife noticed my concern and asked me about it. I told her if I tell you to move towards the exit we came in, grab the baby, I’ll take my son and we will just head in that direction as fast as possible, this is a serious deficient setup.

    The final straw was what I saw as we approached the furthest point from the exit. There was a stage upon which an individual was twirling a batton – that had flaming ends. The stage was decorated with bales of hay (untreated). As I watched for a second, the batton hit the support structure for the floor above and came crashing down. The batton twirler caught it to the crowd’s delight. I told my wife, head towards the exit, we will take the stroller with us at this time. When we approached the only visible exit where we had come in, I saw a man from Fire Prevention. I rushed up to him and said: “Kenny, do you have any idea what a dangerous setup this is down here?” I related the factors above as well as my estimate that there were more than 10,000 people milling around in the displays. He took off without another word. We left.

    The following moring, I received a call from the Assistant Chief who thanked me profusely. He said he saw the setup and fully agreed we were only a small accident away from a mass casualty fire. He said that he could assure me that the people in charge of the civic center would never allow something to occur such as this again. He said we descended on them enmass that Saturday until they were satisfied things were safe for the crowd.

    I can bet this will seem like an amplified version of the events but it really does not convey the full potential that was there, flaming batton and all. Everyone must always be vigilant for their own safety whenever they go into areas where the normal common sense is lost because people

    • Lori says:

      Wow – that is unbelievable. Whenever I go anywhere with the kids I quiz them on the closest exit. Last night we were sitting in the first row at the circus. The closest paths of egress were into the circus ring and to either side of the bandstand. The next was behind us, up through a bunch of seats. The kids pointed to the door we had come in – one of the two main entrance doors that everyone else would also be heading for if there was an emergency. Those 2 entrances fed into the lobby with the blocked doors. It wasn’t intuitive to them that we would go into the circus ring, because that’s not typically allowed, but that’s exactly where we would have headed if there was an emergency and I made sure they knew that.

  10. Gerald Austin says:

    THe last sentence got unfinished. What I wanted to say was that everyone must always be vigilant for their own safety where ever they go into areas where the normal common sense is lost because people who often know nothing about safety and fire codes will not be aware of the danger of their actions. At the risk of taking too much of your bandwidth, there was another situation where I had to call the authorities and this one happens all to frequently in many communities.

    Around Halloween, one sees fraternal or charitable organizations sponsor haunted houses for the kids and sometimes to raise funds. My experience with these is that the desire to support these good organizations ends up again in the supension of common sense. For example:

    One of the clubs that do much good, decided to create a haunted house out of a brick two story duplex apartment. The building was a wreck to begin with so they were allowed to do whatever they wanted to it. There was one stairs up for each duplex, located along the outside wall. The duplexes were normally separated by a middle fire wall. They set up a haunted house where kids would travel through a labyrinth set up in the west first floor apartment from the entrance door, then go up the west stairs to another labyrinth in the west second floor duplex, across through a hole broken through the wall separating the two duplexes then through another labyrinth on the east second floor, down the stairs along the east wall, through a labyrinth on the first floor of the east duplex and finally out the door of the east duplex. I would guess the total path length was about 500 feet. All along the path they had various displays and temporary electical and lighting using extension cords. Some lighting was located in fluffed up cotton. They designed ramps along the path that ended with one stepping downward unexpectedly onto a thick foam rubber surface to avoid injury. There were people periodically jumping out to startle you and it was very effective on me for sure. Again, I began regretting taking my kids into this because the temporary nature of things had led those responsibile to not consider the danger and risk of the layout. I began moving my youngsters through as fast as possible. When I got outside, I made contact with a person for the organization and told him I thought the layout was singularly dangerous. He assured me they had some people in there along the path. Any fire on the first floor would have rapidly prevented use of both stairwells I told him and besides there are probably 10 to 20 kids for every adult I encountered. He was rather unhappy that I was pointing the risks out. Another call the the Fire Department who sent an inspector immediately and they did close it. However, this type of situation of the charitable organization, setting up a high risk environment out of ignorance still occurs. In my opinion, every city should require permits for haunted houses and inspect them before turning them loose. Imagine the horror that would have occured in the situation I relate.

    • Lori says:

      I completely agree that this sort of temporary special amusement occupancy should be inspected and issued a permit if appropriate. I worry that reduced budgets and funding problems result in less stringent supervision.

  11. Lisa says:

    I attended the Big Apple Circus at Boston’s City Hall Plaza yesterday. You’ll be pleased to know that the only red velvet ropes were protecting us from a stampede of unmanned strollers. The fire doors were clear and clearly marked; I checked for you. We did not see firefighters in attendance, but the plaza was full of city police, state troopers, military police in riot gear, and assorted military personnel with a humvee. Of course, the Circus itself was legendary! It was good to be downtown.

    • Lori says:

      Woohoo!! I’m so happy to hear that they removed them as promised! It must have been a little surreal with all the police presence, but it’s been that kind of week. Thanks for the update!

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