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Glimmerglass: Producing Opera and Saving Lives

Fred instructing Leon and Jeremiah during AED practice.

Fred instructing Leon and Jeremiah during AED practice.

Glimmerglass is known for many things: new and innovative productions, performing little-known works, picturesque campus, unique theater, top-notch safety program…?

Glimmerglass Opera is regarded as having one of the best safety-training programs in the industry. We’re not only talking about personal protection equipment (PPE) like gloves, goggles and harnesses, but an entire gamut of precautions. For example, each staff member and intern must go through approximately 10 hours of training before they can perform any responsibilities.  That training includes specific tool training, respirator fit testing and instruction on how to lift properly. Before a staff member or intern can use any equipment he/she must be “checked out” on that item, meaning he/she must be documented as having been trained on that specific tool. We have a hazardous materials specialist come and speak each summer, in addition to specialists from the field that come and train staff and interns on welding, rigging and hazardous communications.

Due to the nature of the business, both behind the scenes and during performances, numerous staff members and interns are also CPR and First Aid certified. On Friday, eight staff members attended the American Heart Association certification hosted by a member of the  Otsego County Emergency Medical Squad, Fred Lemister. Fred has been a member of the Cooperstown squad for many years, and had many war stories to help drill home the importance of what he was teaching. I’m here to say that it worked. I’ve been through similar classes in the past, none of which compare to Fred’s. The highlight of the day? When Fred unexpectedly tackled Director of Production Abby Rodd to demonstrate the danger of not checking the scene while using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

 No matter how many times a staff member or intern returns, he/she must go through the training program again. Some people may consider this a waste of time. We consider this an invaluable investment. And, really, who couldn’t use a refresher?

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