What safety measures do movie sets use?

The goal of the movie and TV industry is to make scenes look more realistic, but when it comes to prop guns, they can be deadly if the right safety precautions are not put into place. 

Christian Kelly-Sordelet is a professional fight director and stunt coordinator for Broadway, movie, and television productions.

He's also been working with prop guns for decades and walked FOX 5 NY through some of the standardized safety precautions for using them on set, including holding a briefing with cast and crew members.

"There really should be no live rounds anywhere close to set, anywhere on set at all," Kelly-Sordelet explains.

Prop guns can range from a completely fake firearm to an actual working gun that fires blanks, or cartridges that generate a flash followed by a loud bang. 

Kelly-Sordelet says a simple rule of thumb is making sure nobody is nearby when the gun is fired.

"It still has an explosive energy and it can still fire projectiles," he adds.

According to a 2016 write-up by the Associated Press, there have been at least 194 serious TV and film set accidents in the United States from 1990 to 2014 and at least 43 deaths.

In the meantime, on-set accidents that happened internationally between 2000 and 2016  have resulted in at least 37 deaths.

"Accidents happen in a lot of varieties of ways. It's not just stunts or when we're bringing in weaponized props," Kelly-Sordelet mentions.

In July 1982, actor Vic Morrow was killed during a helicopter crash while working on the set of the Twilight Zone movie.

In March 1993, martial arts star Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon Lee, died during the filming of The Crow after being shot at with a gun that was supposed to fire blank cartridges.

In February 2014, camera assistant Sarah Jones was fatally struck by a train on the set of the independent film Midnight Rider in Georgia.

"In a way, I feel like I'm just reliving Sarah's death. It’s such a huge setback and there’s obviously so much that needs to be done in the film industry. We’re not there," Jones’ father Richard, told FOX 5 NY.

He has since created the Sarah Jones Foundation in his 27-year-old daughter’s memory. It aims to boost on-set safety and promotes the need for greater industry precautions.

Get breaking news alerts in the free FOX5NY News app!  |  Sign up for FOX 5 email newsletters