Just Missed Your Post!
Hey Allen & Darkside,
Sorry I just missed your post...I was posting myself before going out into my "welding Dungeon"!
No, didn't mean to insinuate that there was a "flaw" with the manufacturers...just thought that others must be having these problems (but it sure doesn't sound like it) so even if the product cost us more in the end it would be money well spent.
Congrats to your wife making it 20 years (I know how difficult it is to make it 20 yrs. doing anything nowadays) I appreciate you looking into this further for me and I know how to "delicately" ask to talk to someone "higher" if need be (and please know that isn't meant to sound cocky...trust me) I've been doing the "dance" with building officials my entire life (holy crap...that long?). We're talking about a F/M who shut down his towns OWN volunteer haunt two years ago because of "infractions"? (which who knows may have been the right call) Point being, he is nervous about this type of venue because it isn't just "run of the mill" everyday stuff to him...he's got to research, look up codes, give it some thought, etc. So I guess when he made the blanket statement "EVERYTHING NEEDS F/R DOCUMENTATION" , "EVERYTHING THAT'S INSIDE THAT BUILDING"! he obviously is covering his butt which is fine but there has to be, as you said, a point that crosses industry standards. His main concern is that everything inside has a class "A" /low smoke rating...I just can't see (nor can he) how latex, with or without the F/R spray will ever meet this criteria. So, me being me, thought that others have had this same problem or @ least know what the acceptable standards are in this industry, (hence popping the question on the forum) but it doesn't seem anyone has run up against this like me (gotta luv Jersey). I guess I'm stuck just spraying EVERYTHING & hope for the best...does not appear there are too many alternatives for me. But I will "grill" him a little more tomorrow (or go over his head if I'm not liking what I'm hearing). And here I thought the fire suppression system was going to be a big pain in the ass...that was cake compared to this nonsense!
Thanks for your reply as well. I think that is my only real choice here. But can't the spray go on the prop directly without mixing it in varnish? I was told varnish is more brittle & may crack if moved too much (animatronics). Just wondering? Thanks.
PS: BTW Allen, the F/M told me to use steel drums for the trash cans! LMAO
Good Point...yes varnish does crack on latex. I use an clear automotive product that is flexible (used on the plastic bumpers of cars) and use it just on my latex props. Never had anything crack . All you need is a nice thin coat..... not thick like varnish.
1st year at a location is the hardest. Last year I asked the marshall a question I do not remember now what it was...but his response blew my mind. His answer was Charlie, Im not sure....you are more of an expert at this then me!
Also, I have a couple good frends that run Pro Haunts in NJ, I will ask them and get back.
Your doing great ....just keep going you will get past this.....
Thanks for replying...I'm going to try that...got a good friend that owns several body shops so I'll see what he recommends. Yeah I've been involved with numerous businesses over the years & the first year is a huge learning curve for sure. I just seem to run into some doosies! :lol: Whatever...I'll get thru it but thanks for the info & your reply.
These chemicals are not forever once installed and may need to be recoated once a year or every other year. The higher earning haunts have no problem doing major remodels as this stuff is going to have to be done anyhow and by square footage is a decent percentage added to the structures costs. Even if prop builders began mixing this goodness into raw materials, it would only have a certain shelf life and would likely have to be hosed down on location anyhow.
Trust me I know what you are going through. I'm from Pennsylvania, a state that has every law every written and some burocracy to enforce it. When I got to Texas because a business we started needed help, I wandered around Texas for about 2 years having a reverse heart attack about every single day of life not fighting or not fighting some rule or having to pay some fee or making an extra $20,000 a year just to breathe. I would never go back, we did boiler retrofits and historic landmark restorations, building inspections and my little career saving the world all at the same time.
Even in the states where there is not a fire marshal just learning the ropes at a later age, the haunters and prop builders themselves are pretty much self governing and indeed want to provide what ever can be reasonably done. I had all the safety stuff and no one came, or cared. I still had the peice of mind nothing was going to happen. In the end it was my responcibility.
There is a bigger shitty picture here and it is some company makes products then gets laws passed that require these products and active ingrediants be consumed. Meanwhile you know how you get rid of fire treated lumber? You burn it. And at the exact same time there are grandmas lobbying not to have fire retardent in childrens clothes because it is toxic and far out weighs being exposed to flames in actual incident percentages.
I did a quick look yesterday before I said anything and discovered countless costumes, even haunt vendors had images of their wares that included the word fire resistant materials. SO it is a real thing but it might be more like the future as opposed to what is being done as a standard now.
Every haunt in one way shape or form has been through this teaching people that are in some kind of routine new things. My first indoor haunt was a fire hall and I had to explain that I had walls and black plastic is bad to veteran fire fighters that I totally respected what the do for the community in a big way, even had two people very active in our haunt die fighting a fire a month before our season was to begin. We didn't open that year out of respect for the situation.
Still, fire retardant and resistant chemicals are not stable nor permanent. The higher profile haunts and vendors are not on these forums. And it may or may not be funny but, yet another reason everyone is hard to get ahold of. Your gonna give everyone a heart attack. But it may be more of the same, what has gotten everyone by so far. As of yet there are no true products that fit this bill and last with a one time fixes everything. It isn't the future yet. No flying cars or jet packs for everyone so they can just go somewhere at will.
Even teddy bear stuffing technically is filed in country and only the skins are shipped here flat in containers because the filler fire retardant has a shelf life and a quality that has to be assured. For now vendors are coating fabrics on the larger props but, the rest is up to the end user. Still no one is sending Spec sheets of materials liabilities with these products.
I learned quite a bit letting the haunt be used as a maze to do fire rescue drills like a crazy house version of trying to crawl with all the equipment and hoses and back out with a victim that was supposed to be unconcious bringing all the stuff back out. Odd furniture and crap was thrown in and the thing was a triangular maze anyhow and they were blind folded with full gear on. How long things really take becomes obvious and part of what the fire marshal is doing is not being pompus or being a figure head but, not putting people into those kind of situations at all if they can avoid it.
Yet the other difference in locations across the country is also how quickly there might be a return on investment and so making things is because there is never going to be a go shopping budget and it is a side line income to be able to make and sell things. There just isn't the go ahead and pay 3 times what it would cost to make one because we have to do it now philosophy. It isn't my own personal mental condition, it is relative to the income these things will ever bring.
In the real world if there is 30,000 SF and only one item that is a cubic foot is in the middle on fire, everything else had been hosed down with fire retardant, real fire guys would rather pee on it than go get all the equipment. It's actually funny. I'm not being flippant about the situation at all. There is a reality to all of this and an attitude that meets these realities. Even theme parks started out small and there was just a few acres and the town officials grew with the size of the attraction and they worked this way and that way and created all of these problems and unsurmountable information.
So the manufacturers of fire retardants have sales forces and are partially to blame for all the propaganda and fears so make them spend money to serve you. It isn't the city or county that needs to do things because you paid taxes a couple years ago. Actually manufacturing something like a haunted house bends all the traditions and if you are going big right out of the box, you have bigger problems than someone that got a small deal oriented and approved and grew over time and negotiated the growth of all these safety items as they could afford.
So I'm saying the real world is crazy. If there is a fire, whip it out and pee on it, if you are up against city hall and zoning you need licensed engineers to support your opinions, basically telling them, or informing them that no such miracle chemical has been discovered yet, when it is, they will be the first to know but for now, this is the overall design of the facility with all the considerations for the standards of today. By square footage, these props might occupy 1% of the square footage or your design will discuss that actual percentage.
It is only these people's job to review what can be obtained, not to become rocket scientists. None of us has a 12.5 million dollar testing facility anymore. So you have to in some cases submit the philosophy of your design as reviewed by engineers. There is all kinds of places in Princeton and Trenton that would love to make a press release that they are forwarding the research into anything rather than applying for jobs at Walmart. I can't remember if Cherry Hill is New Jersey or not. All I can say if there are all kinds of minds out your way. You can't do all this shit yourself. In the bigger picture the more people you get involved for an authorized opinion it is like free advertising of your event.
Your skill set and what you describe what you have done is exactly who I am. I had an 8 year stint of being in testing facilities with DOE, OSHA, DOD, Burea of mines and Aerospace dudes all in one place. It was all about safety and fires and gasses and the earth crushing you or falling out from under you and smushing things 10,000 times with 3 million pounds of force or making things explode. Despite how much has been spent to figure out all these safety issues there is simply a limit to what can be formulated or cost effectively be provided. There are heavy limitations to fields of research and what is really a bunch of propaganda. It's like follow the money, who says. I'm saying this experience in my life was rare for anyone to be able to do and shaped some opinions in my thinking, things aren't really much better than what they came up with 50 years ago in an international conference. Only now you can text message people about cats. They haven't really changed the laws of physics just yet.
Because of your location in New Jersey I would suggest you DO NOT involve anyone that claims to be a haunt consultant as their mind bending line of logic will just piss everyone off and it won't happen for you. It is very far from being a Jedi mind trick. You have to find the professions in your state to be involved that everyone is comfortable with that might actually be informative on an industrial level that can give real hand ice breaking antacdotes like we just pee on things, you are worrying too much.
I'm with you 110% Oh, BTW Cherry Hill is still in New Jersey. LOL What you said about the props being about 1% of the total haunt is nearly EXACTLY what I said to the F/M. And being 50 yrs. old, I too have had a vast overall life experience to date (which I thank God for letting me be well rounded) and know 80% of the shit tossed around out there is just that...propaganda! There's another thing...I just noticed you can't spell propaganda without "prop"! HMMM;) I just know that there is usually "give & take" with building/fire officials...been mostly giving the last 20 something years. I haven't had a lot of time to research the companies offering F/R props yet but am thankful you have @ least I know there are a few out there. I will try & research that a bit more. I am just trying to nip this in the bud early as I don't need him pulling rank in the 12th hour, that's all. I am all for safety...I have numerous close friends as firefighters & they agree with what your saying...but I got to get past the one roadblock. We fully intend to change things up every year & have no problem spending the money on the F/R sprays...IF he would just accept them for what they are. I have another mtg. with him next week & I am armed with much more info. (thanks in part to this forum I might add) :) so hopefully he'll see I am doing EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to make him feel "comfortable"! And trust me...NOT trying to give anyone a heart attack out there...this racket is stressful 'nuff without adding fuel to the fire! (no pun intended) ;) But thanks to everyone who replied & chimed in...I do appreciate it!