SAFFE is a professional partnership of the fire service and the entertainment industry that provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information promoting safety and protecting life, the environment, and the property the industry works in.

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0900 @ NBC/Universal Studios, Universal City, CA

Meeting Minutes

Safety Advisory for Fire & FX in Entertainment


April 20, 2010

Location: NBC/Universal Studios, Universal City, CA.

  1. Meeting was called to order at 0926 AM with self introductions
  2. Administrative business
    1. Next meeting is scheduled for July 20, 2010 at Sony Pictures Studios,  Culver City, CA, Host: Scot Falkenstien; contact- Richard Momii, email:
    2. Our website: is up and running.  SAFFE will seek legal consul regarding the website liability and possible writing a disclaimer.
  3. State Fire Marshal update, Al Adams
    1. The California State Fire Marshal’s Office is moving forward with the intertwining of CDF (California Department of Forestry) and CAL FIRE.  The acting California State Fire Marshal is Tonya Hoover and she has been invited to attend an upcoming meeting.
    2. FSO- Training classes
      1. There is an FSO training class, April 26-28, 2010 in Long Beach.  See our website for more info.
      2. In the Fall of 2010, there will be a FSO class in the L.A. area and in northern California.
      3. Feedback regarding the FSO training has been very positive.
  4. Old Business
    1. There has been discussion about a “green sheet” type of accident/incident reporting system by the Motion Picture Division of the California State Fire Marshal’s Office.  The information will be very objective and generic with neither specific names nor locations.
    2. The California Administrative Code, Title 19, “Fireworks-Flamethrower Devices” is close to being finalized.  Al Adams assured the fire performer membership that a “fire breather” or the person who creates a fireball by forcefully blowing a fine mist of fuel over an open flame is not a flamethrower “device”.
    3. The Safe and Sane Fireworks regulations are undergoing changes with committee meetings scheduled soon.  These meetings will be announced on the SAFFE website.
    4. Chris Schiehl, NBC Universal says that NFPA 140 committee is scheduled to meet in June, 2011 with a new chairperson.
    5. NFPA 160, Standard for use of flame effects in front of live audience, committee is scheduled to meet at the NFPA Conference in Las Vegas, June 7-10, 2010.
    6. Al Adams is planning to educate and provide information regarding fire performers to local jurisdictions via Cal Chiefs FPO organizations and their meetings.
  5. New Business
    1. Recent accidents
      1. During a FSO training and fx demonstration session, a propane popper’s cap flew off during an explosion of flame.  Possible cause was an overloaded powder charge.  No injuries or damage occurred.
      2. Al Adams expressed concern regarding reality TV productions such as BULLRUN that have contestants perform stunts and driving stunts with pyrotechnics and flame effects.
      3. As with any production, Al Adams reminded fire authorities and safety departments to be involved in the pre-planning and permitting process, assign an FSO or participate in the oversight, understand the devices and regulate the proximity to personnel.  Nearly 45% of all television productions in California are reality.
      4. Finally, while filming with a vehicle camera car, the camera boom was struck by a CHP car when unbeknownst to the CHP driver the camera vehicle driver was told to keep going past the spot they had been shooting. The real problem occurred when the driver had a suspended license and left the scene.  Another person stepped in and said he was the driver trying to cover up the fubar.  Cooler heads prevailed with the CHP issuing a warning and remaining “film friendly”.
  6. Roundtable
    1. Scot Falkenstien- Sony is quite busy with features and scripted television shows.  He expressed concern regarding the lack of training and knowledge of film production safety by out of state fire/life safety personnel.
    2. E.J. LeCouter- NAFAA has a new insurance carrier, Fractured Atlas, that members may be interested in.
    3. Allison Dillard- Paramount has some features filming in town.
    4. Jeff Egan- WB, Turner Broadcasting and New Line has several productions going on.  Jim Fitzpatrick will update us regarding Tax Credit for filming in California.
    5. Mark Davis- Chapman University is processing 3 or 4 filming applications per day.  His department is also responsible for checking and approving production firearms.  Chapman is researching into building a backlot.
    6. Bren Wilcox-Jaciewicz- United Fire Artists is revamping their website.  They thanked Long Beach for working with them in obtaining a fire practice area location.
    7. Paul Holehouse- Fireman’s Fund has used the United Fire Artists fire safety documents for their productions with great success and appreciation.
    8. Chris Schiehl- NBC/Universal would also like to thank UFA for their safety checklist.  FAST AND FURIOUS to be shooting soon and a big increase in television filming.
    9. Cesar Cano- L.A. County received very positive feedback regarding FSO training in San Bernanadino earlier this year.
    10. Bill Parker- L.A. City commended UFA for their safety checklist from which they created their own and it has proven to be effective and very useful.  L.A. City is fighting through budget woes.  Their spot check program has limitation because they work regular business hours as opposed to the diverse film production schedule.
    11. Mike McCormick- Mike Bowden is the new Culver City fire marshal. Richard Gallagher, former CCFD fire marshal, retired and is the new Warner Bros. Fire Marshal.  The City of Culver City is struggling to make their budget and threatening to change all fire prevention personnel from sworn to non-sworn.  The City is also researching fire and police standbys being paid through the city which may tack on an additional $100/hr.
    12. Kevin Widner- Glendale FD has a new fire marshal. They also have a spot check program.  They had a bomb scare where a pipe bomb turned out to be a film prop and was rolling around on the freeway.
    13. Jim Fitzpatrick- discussed the positives and negatives of Ron Calderon’s “Bring filming back” bill proposal.  Production needs to allow a minimum of 15 business to process a film permit on California highways.  SAFFE should have a social get together such as a BBQ.
  7. Presentation – Mark Nance, NBC Universal, gave a brief slide show of the PHOENIX Project, “out of the ashes”, the rebuild of Universal’s backlot.
  8. Members were shuttled out to the backlot for a drive by and walk through tour of the new construction.
  9. Meeting adjourned at 12:45pm.
  10. NEXT MEETING – Sony Pictures Studios, 0900am, July 20, 2010

Richard Momii,