Theater and Fire: Fire Captain and LD Brent Stainer Looks at Important Safety Considerations

Brent Stainer

Few words frighten a house manager or house electrician more than hearing of an imminent fire inspection. Fire officials are often seen as insensitive to the needs of our artistic expressions. The truth is, most fire officials are ignorant of the inner workings of theaters. I am in a very unique position. I have the two best jobs in the world. As a lighting designer, I enjoy the creative process with the director and other designers to create the magic that we can present to our audience. My other full-time occupation is as a fire captain in a city of 100,000. Everett, WA, hosts a dozen or so theaters, and I have received questions from both sides of the table—each trying to understand why the other is so unyielding. I would like to share some thoughts that might shed some light on the topic.

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InCord Pit Net in place
InCord Pit Net in place

Safety: First, Last and Always A look at safety nets from InCord

Stage Directions

Safety should be top of mind for everyone in theater. No matter your role—designer, technician, artisan, technical director, production manager, orchestra conductor, etc.—safety is something that touches us all. Maintaining the safety of crew, cast, musicians, and audience members is the most basic and primary requirement of any theater. However, one area that doesn’t always get the urgent attention required is the large hole at the front of many stages—the orchestra pit. 

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