Jump to content


Photo

High Rise Ceiling Sprinklers


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Alessandro Machi

Alessandro Machi
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3318 posts
  • Other
  • California

Posted 09 November 2006 - 03:09 PM

I had the opportunity to shoot in a high rise building but when I saw the ceiling sprinklers and paperwork directly below that could easily be ruined if the sprinklers were tripped, I became reluctant to use my own lights and instead went with available lighting.

If those in the know could educate us on how sprinkler technology has evolved it could help prevent a very expensive mishap on future jobs.

Questions I have include, If I have a light that makes a burning smell, is there any sprinkler technology that will sense that as smoke and activate?

Heat sensors, do high rise ceiling sprinklers detect heat, smoke, or a combination of both?

Is the whole building shutdown and evacuated if the sprinklers are activated?

Can the fire department charge the production company for a "false alarm"?

What type of insurance covers one from a false alarm as it relates to a high rise sprinkling system going off?

Any experienes any one would like to share in which they were on a production in a high rise that tripped the sprinklers?
  • 0

#2 Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 873 posts
  • Sound Department
  • Minneapolis

Posted 09 November 2006 - 03:33 PM

Last week I had to assist in evacuating approximately 2000 people from the hotel I work at because an exhibitor knocked a sprinkler with a pipe & drape poll. You can bet that the exhibitor was charged for the trouble.

Don't hit them, don't heat them, don't even look at them crosseyed. Stay away from the sprinklers.
  • 0

#3 Alessandro Machi

Alessandro Machi
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3318 posts
  • Other
  • California

Posted 09 November 2006 - 03:42 PM

Last week I had to assist in evacuating approximately 2000 people from the hotel I work at because an exhibitor knocked a sprinkler with a pipe & drape poll. You can bet that the exhibitor was charged for the trouble.

Don't hit them, don't heat them, don't even look at them crosseyed. Stay away from the sprinklers.


Please do not feed the sprinklers!

Hitting the sprinkler actually set it off??? Wow.

The place I was at had a few lights in the ceiling itself. The room had minimal air circulation and when one walked in it felt mildly warm. How can the lights be in the ceiling, creating warmth, yet not set off sprinklers which are nearby, especially if the lights are on most of the time and there is minimal air circulation?
  • 0

#4 Andy Sparaco SOC

Andy Sparaco SOC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 203 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Chicago and most airline lounges

Posted 09 November 2006 - 05:44 PM

When I am shooting in a location I have the gaffer place styrofoam cups over sprinkler heads which are within 3 feet of lighting instruments. Takes a little time but worth it
  • 0

#5 Michael Collier

Michael Collier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1262 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 09 November 2006 - 06:21 PM

Styrafoam cups....GENIUS! never thought of that. I have always been avoiding them like the plauge. My rule has been 4-5 feet or more, depending on how powerful the unit is. I will probably use that cup idea in the future, just to put my mind at ease.

A photog for a competing TV station in my market tripped the sprinklers with an omni 650 directly below the sprinkler head. you can bet he and his station was in trouble

To explain a lot of the questions you had, you have to understand how the sprinkler system (in the US at least) works.

The head really just a sprinkler with a peice of wax to keep the whole thing from going off (that little red thing between the sprinker and the valve). Its not candle wax, so don't think it melts too easily, but once it reaches its rated tempature it will melt very quickly (like a quick-blow fuse. They are fine with 80 watts, but at 81 it burns in a millisecond). What exactly that tempature is, I couldn't tell you (and would hesitate to guess), and I am sure different regions may have different requirements. Check with a local contractor, they might know. They will not respond to smoke (only smoke detectors will do that, and they will only sound an alarm.)

generally even a very warm room won't set it off, so you just have to make sure they don't get any hotter than the ambient tempature. This means keeping the units far away from the sprinklers, and making sure that there is not a lot of light on them (if you bounce light off the ceiling, make sure your not pointing a spoted 1K at a sprinkler head). Other than that, really the biggest thing is being aware of them. If your looking up and worrying about them, then you have a great chance of not tripping them. (yes hitting a sprinkler head too hard will break the wax and set them off)

I would imagine if you do trip a sprinker, that would be covered under a general liability policy, but you would have to check with your insurers to make sure the policies don't specificaly exclude that event.

I don't believe the fire dept. will be too upset, since its something that happens occasionally, and nobody can say you did it with malice of forethought. Usually they will get a call before they are out the door saying its a false alarm.

If a sprinkler goes off, it usually is kept to a floor or two, but the whole building may be evacuated for an hour or two, depending on the buildings fire management plan.
  • 0

#6 timHealy

timHealy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1252 posts
  • Other
  • New York

Posted 09 November 2006 - 07:47 PM

The head really just a sprinkler with a peice of wax to keep the whole thing from going off


I wouldn't call it wax.

So here's a definition:

http://www.pdhonline...dule3_Part2.pdf

I would imagine residential homes or apartments would use "ordinary" or more propably "intermediate"

anything else creating more heat than that in a home, then it would be too late.

If a sprinkler head is hit hard enough to dislodge the fusible link, the head could go off. If it is hit even harder one could actually break the pipes or knock one pipe from a fitting. But that would take a large impact.

Sprinkler heads are localized. They go off where the heat is. That's it.

I don't think the fire department gets notified when a sprinkler goes off. They may get notified if it is a true fire alarm wired to your local fire department or emergency service.

If you are truely worried about the heat, you could have the sprinkler system turned off. There is probably a valve on every floor, but that would have to get permission from the location and you would have to drain that part of the sytem as well. Even if it is off, there will still be pressure in the pipes.

Best

Tim

I wouldn't call it wax.

So here's a definition:

http://www.pdhonline...dule3_Part2.pdf

I would imagine residential homes or apartments would use "ordinary" or more propably "intermediate"

anything else creating more heat than that in a home, then it would be too late.

If a sprinkler head is hit hard enough to dislodge the fusible link, the head could go off. If it is hit even harder one could actually break the pipes or knock one pipe from a fitting. But that would take a large impact.

Sprinkler heads are localized. They go off where the heat is. That's it.

I don't think the fire department gets notified when a sprinkler goes off. They may get notified if it is a true fire alarm wired to your local fire department or emergency service goes off.

If you are truely worried about the heat, you could have the sprinkler system turned off. There is probably a valve on every floor, but that would have to get permission from the location and you would have to drain that part of the sytem as well. Even if it is off, there will still be pressure in the pipes.

Best

Tim


Edited by timHealy, 09 November 2006 - 07:47 PM.

  • 0

#7 Alessandro Machi

Alessandro Machi
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3318 posts
  • Other
  • California

Posted 09 November 2006 - 09:50 PM

Interesting information.

I've heard of the styrofoam idea but that seems like a good idea that won't actually work right. Wouldn't a sprinkler fill up the cup pretty quickly? As the cup fills up, the additional water weight would make the cup fall, no?

Just how localized are the sprinklers if they do go off, do they only go off in one room, or will they go off in adjacent rooms as well? Can only one sprinkler head go off?
  • 0

#8 Andy Sparaco SOC

Andy Sparaco SOC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 203 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Chicago and most airline lounges

Posted 09 November 2006 - 10:09 PM

Interesting information.

I've heard of the styrofoam idea but that seems like a good idea that won't actually work right. Wouldn't a sprinkler fill up the cup pretty quickly? As the cup fills up, the additional water weight would make the cup fall, no?

Also, just how localized are the sprinklers if they do go off?

The function of the cup is to sit on top of the sprinkler and deflect and insulate heat from a lighting fixture. It shields the "wax" plug. THe bottom of the cup points up toward the ceiling

Does it work probably to some degree> never had a sprinkler go off> if nothing else it sez to the agency/client you are aware of the possible problem and have some way of addressing it> due diligence.

I have gorilla repellant and never had problems with a gorilla also :rolleyes:
  • 0

#9 Michael Collier

Michael Collier
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1262 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 09 November 2006 - 10:13 PM

Great info tim! now we know about how hot it needs to get before we start to worry. As for shutting off the valve, I know its possible (I have seen the valves before) but I would guarantee you would need a permit from the fire cheif, and would have much more stringent fire oversight, possibly someone on set giving thumbs up or down to placement on every unit.


The styrafoam cup isn't to stop water if it goes off, only to insulate it and keep it cooler than the surrounding room (same way it keeps your hand cool when there is 130 degree coffee in your cup). Also if your light should fall in a spot where there is a unit, it would block most of the radiant energy that could set it off.

I always heard it was wax, but apparently they are more sophistocated than I thought. Either way the concept is the same. Hits the boiling point and the sprinklers go off. It is my understanding that once one goes off something trips all the others in the same area. What that area is would probably be determined by the local codes and the builders, but maybe a room or a floor. EIther way, you don't want to trip it. The photog that tripped on in our market ended up flooding the whole floor (including adjacent rooms).
  • 0

#10 Alessandro Machi

Alessandro Machi
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3318 posts
  • Other
  • California

Posted 10 November 2006 - 06:22 AM

The photog that tripped on in our market ended up flooding the whole floor (including adjacent rooms).


Not only must that run into the thousands of dollars, but the insurance company might not pay out if they deem it a "preventable" accident or if the proper shooting permits were not first granted, no?
  • 0

#11 Dan Salzmann

Dan Salzmann
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1143 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Paris, France

Posted 10 November 2006 - 07:24 AM

I'll +1 the styrofoam cup technique. I have had trouble getting permission to "deactivate" sprinkler systems.
Fire inspection personnel do not like that especially in big buildings.
I also want to stress the importance of not knocking into them with ANYTHING.
Windups, autopoles, etc.
Also try to make sure that the person on styro cup detail isn't the most butterfingered person on the crew.
  • 0

#12 Miles Heckendorn

Miles Heckendorn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Norway

Posted 10 November 2006 - 09:33 AM

Not only must that run into the thousands of dollars, but the insurance company might not pay out if they deem it a "preventable" accident or if the proper shooting permits were not first granted, no?


Most of the time when the shooting is considered "news" and you are invited into a business or residence, no permits are required. At least that's how it was when I was working in news back when I lived in the states.
  • 0

#13 Frank Barrera

Frank Barrera
  • Sustaining Members
  • 465 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 10 November 2006 - 09:47 PM

someday i will tell my sprinkler story that caused over $80,000 worth of damage. it happened several years ago and i'm still not ready to talk.

btw after that incident i always take a couple of damp paper towels that i stick inside of the styrofoam cups that go over the heads. does it work? i don't know but (as stated above) it sure looks like i'm trying to prevent something from happening.

be careful. very careful.

f
  • 0


The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Visual Products

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

CineTape

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

The Slider

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Opal

rebotnix Technologies