Endorsements

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Dr. Randy Davidson, a.k.a. Dr. Doom, is the single individual responsible for development of health and safety standards for the performing arts community and entertainment industry. His formation and leadership of the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology's Health and Safety Commission in the early 1970's resulted in sensitivity to and comprehension of the critical importance of protecting technicians, designers, actors, directors and audiences. If there were a Nobel Prize for significant contribution to the health and safety of our profession, Dr. Davidson would have received it many years ago. He has been the seminal figure in educating our society to the premise that all who work in or attend entertainment venues deserve a safe and healthy environment as a basic human right.

Randy Earle, Past President, U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology
Professor, Television, Radio, Film and Theatre, San Jose State University, CA

One might expect a man nicknamed "Dr. Doom" to be a pessimist. I find Dr. Randall Davidson to be just the opposite. His personal mission is to make the entertainment industry - in all its forms - safer for everyone, and he lives what he preaches. I was recently with him as we left a high school auditorium at the end of one of his seminars for teachers and administrators. The timing coincided with the end of the school day, so halls were filled with students hurrying out the door. Dr. Doom noticed a small piece of paper lying on the floor, picked it up, and put it in the trash, lest someone slip on it and fall. It's this kind of attention to the smallest details that he brings to this book. Because of this, you may find that parts of this book are challenging to read (I recommend you wait until long after mealtime to read the list of trash he's found backstage!). But it's well worth the effort. As a former teacher, I know that when it comes to the technical demands of performances, most schools have well-intentioned but under-trained and under-supported theatre and music staff. Please read this book, share it, and discuss it with everyone who works with students in the performing arts. Use Dr. Doom's decades of experience to make your school a safer place.

Kristi Ross-Clausen, Former K-12 music and drama teacher
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 470
ISETSA makeup safety consultant / Independent makeup artist
Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant

Dr. Randall Davidson has worked tirelessly and diligently in pursuing the health and safety of all those involved in the performing arts.  This publication will provide schools and educators, for many generations to come, with the necessary information to guide them and ensure their productions are a safe learning experience for all participants.  The performing arts department has more potential safety hazards than any other department in a school district; however, if educators follow Dr. Doom's direction, "the show CAN go on...SAFELY."  We will forever be in debt to him for sharing his knowledge and providing all of us with this great resource.

Jodi L. Traas, Senior Risk Management Consultant,
Community Insurance Corporation
President, Wisconsin School Safety Coordinator's Association

What a legacy Dr. Randall W. A. Davidson has given us through his latest books "Dr. Davidson's Eye on Theater Health and Safety." I have been asking for such books since 1982, when I first started teaching my Stage Technology class. I have had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Davidson since his first Stage Rigging Workshop in Phoenix, Arizona. Through his workshops I have attained a vast amount of firsthand skills and knowledge not available in any college theatre tech class. These workshops have included risk assessments and inspections of not just the stage rigging system but the entire theater building from top to bottom.

Because of Dr. Davidson's workshop, I was able to take what I had learned and apply it to my theater. I made a complete evaluation and inspection of the stage rigging system. I documented every line-set and structural grid system in a report containing almost 200 photographs, and then presented it to my Administration for immediate corrective action. Now, about 7 years and almost $1 million dollars later, I have a near "state-of-the-art" stage rigging system that can be safely operated by my students and myself.

Ronald W. Mahan, Stage Instructor / Technician,
Woodrow Wilson Classical High School, Long Beach, CA

Dr. Randall Davidson is a dedicated crusader for safety in all forms and in all places.  A man who can wax eloquent or drive home his message with a wickedly barbed tongue, Dr. Davidson does not simply talk about safety - he lives it.  Aptly nicknamed Dr. Doom, he is absolutely fearless, but with a heart so big, it requires the regular replacement of a new set of purple suspenders to hold it in.  What is most impressive about Dr. Davidson is the depth and breadth of his knowledge.  Whether it is checking the rating on a bolt, the I-beams of a structure, the volume of air required for a task, or the specification on any explosive, Dr. Davidson knows it.  His "inspections" far exceed anyone's expectations, as he combs structures with seeming X-ray vision and extraordinary clarity.  There is just no one who knows as much as Dr. Davidson - period.  I have worked with him for years and have never ceased to be amazed by the amount of expertise he blithely carries with that sharp wit and infectious laugh.  He is a man small of stature, but with shoulders so huge that all of us who know him are confident there is always room for more.

Susan A. Fisher, Radiation Safety Officer and Biosafety Officer,
California State University, Fullerton, CA

Dr. Randall W. A. Davidson, also known as "Doom" or "Dr. Doom," has spent his life in the pursuit of prolonging the life and livelihood of entertainment workers through the doctrine of health and safety risk analysis.  Dr. Davidson is the president of Risk International and Associates. He has dealt with safety issues on both sides of the ocean and is the leading expert in this field. He has provided leadership to many governmental agencies, both local and foreign. His years of experience in the entertainment industry and his vast expertise in this field have inspired these books. Dr. Davidson has always believed in protecting the safety (and long life) of children who explore the wonderful world of theatre. His latest writing comes from the heart and should be taken to heart. If you are reading these simple words, you have already taken the biggest step in making a difference. Dr. Davidson continues to provide the "gospel" of the health and safety standards and practices for those of us working today. I can truly attest to his tireless devotion, care, and guidance. He has changed the face of our industry and has saved lives because of his true devotion to his fellow man. I am honored to call him a friend and mentor.

James G. Antrim, Technical Director,
'62 Center for Theatre and Dance, Williams College, Williamstown, MA

I met Randy when I was a director in a large corporate structure in the entertainment industry. He was retained by that worldwide firm as concrete proof that they had on board the world's expert in quality control, safety and risk mitigation for public assembly, interactive entertainment, construction, manufacturing, and security. He embodied the depth and breadth of experience to protect their detailed interests in the critical proactive and continuing assessment roles, and he applied these skills in a no-nonsense, non-political fashion.

His natural ability to always take the path of public safety, regardless of the pressures, is what initially drew me to his style and expertise. He was naturally disliked and criticized for this integrity; however, it was precisely this consistently honest and insightful approach that I found so compelling and supportive of the work. As time passed and my knowledge of Randy evolved, I found he was quite useful to my observations and productivity. By watching others' reaction to Randy's work and approach, I was able to filter out the pretenders and political agendas. Without exception, those who criticized his knowledge and demeanor always proved to be non-collaborative and eventually detrimental to each initiative in safety, liability, quality control, and ultimately to any effective return on investment.

Certainly, the diminished state of corporate recognition and acceptance of, and action toward, the responsibility for safety and quality control comes as no shock to the reader. Nevertheless, the fact that such an individual as Randy has managed to remain so consistent and honest all of these years should be a continual, welcome shock.

Here we have a mind that collaboratively integrates the past, present, and future of all the critical elements for personal and public safety. Here we have a mind that does not believe it knows it all but rather knows how to stay on the critical mission. Retractors and all, Randy is a national treasure. Randy has done more for public safety than any single individual. Through discourse and harmony, he has catalyzed more responsible thinking in generations of public assembly and safety in theatre, film, manufacturing and interactive entertainment, worldwide. He is still very active in this area, and these books are a call to the same.

There are branches in any road upon which we travel. We are hard-pressed to remain true to the public good along the way. When we observe someone - like Randy - who can, by example, encourage us to move down an ever-improved path, then we should learn to recognize and to collaborate with that intent and action. If we do this simple thing and adapt it as our own approach, we can improve the quality of life for those around us and not simply use them to better ourselves. These things are as fundamental as we allow them to become. If one pays more attention to why these books exist than to what they say, then that is a good start toward understanding their importance of content, and that is a great gift and a meaningful beginning. May we all use them wisely.

William D. Kuenning, Theater Consultant

The exact number of injuries and fires that take place in schools and universities is not well known because of the somewhat questionable methods of reporting such incidents. However, many more of these incidents are coming to light. Nightclubs and venues frequented by young people are some of the worst offenders of health and safety violations. We have seen the aftermath of the Station Fire, which left more than 100 dead and 150 injured; the Happy Land Social Club fire in the Bronx, which killed 87 people; and the fire in an overcrowded nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that killed 175 people because the fire doors swung the wrong way.

Fire regulations save lives and THEY DO APPLY TO SCHOOLS. I have known Randall Davidson for twenty years and have never met anyone as dedicated to spreading the word. As an OSHA Approved Trainer, NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist, and a Certified Industrial Health and Safety Specialist, I doubt that 30% of the schools and universities could pass a basic inspection. Many inspectors would have buildings sealed from further occupancy until basic issues were corrected. The argument that students are not covered under these codes and regulations is valid (at least for a short time more), but teachers, custodial staff and administration certainly are.

My recommendation is - Get these books, skim them, and then start to look more closely at your environment. Your eyes will be opened and your views will be changed.  Don't be remembered as the person who worked, managed, or oversaw that school where kids were killed. As a professional, and most importantly as a parent, I hope you begin to see the everyday hazards that are too often brushed aside with 'Oh, it's always been done like this.' Change it! It may be uncomfortable at first to speak up, but you will sleep better at night knowing you have made a difference.

Paul H. Sullivan, Production Manager,
Times Union Center for the Performing Arts, Jacksonville, Florida

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