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Twinkling Rockefeller Tree Illuminates the Importance of Standards

New York, Dec 02, 2009

Tonight, thousands will gather in Rockefeller Center in New York City to watch the lighting of what may be the world’s most famous Christmas tree. With celebrity performances, a live broadcast, and the dazzling illumination of a 76-foot tree, the spectacle is sure to impress and delight with the help of standards.

The two-ton Norway spruce was hoisted into its spot a few days ago with the use of a crane. A number of International Standards that assure the safe use and proper functioning of these machines are developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 96, Cranes. The U.S. Technical Advisory Group to this TC is ASME, a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute.

Did You Know?

The California Division of Occupational Health and Safety (Cal/OSHA) recently approved ANSI as an official accreditation body (AB) of crane operator certification bodies (CBs).

For more information, see the related ANSI news item.

With the tree securely displayed, crowds will gather tonight to see live performances by the Radio City Rockettes, Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, and others. The songs and background music for these performances will be broadcast to the audience over a high-quality sound system whose development has been guided by International Standards. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has developed a series of standards for sound systems, including:

A Holiday Tree-dition

The first Christmas tree was erected at Rockefeller Center in 1931, a small fir tree decorated with cranberries and paper garlands. Since then, it has become an annual tradition drawing thousands of tourists every year.

In recent years, new initiatives have ensured that the tree is more earth-friendly. LED lights are used to reduce the amount of electricity needed to illuminate the tree. After being taken down, it is recycled as lumber or woodchips.

These standards were developed by IEC Technical Committee (TC) 100, Audio, video, and multimedia equipment. The chairperson of this committee is Mark Hyman of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), an ANSI organizational member and accredited standards developer.

The grand finale of tonight’s show is the lighting of the tree at 8:55 p.m. EST. Adorned with over five miles of LED lights, the tree’s decorations are both sparkling and safe thanks to standards for holiday decorations. UL 588 (Ed. 18), Standard for Seasonal and Holiday Decorative Products, addresses seasonal decorative lighting products and accessories, including those on the famous spruce. It was developed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an ANSI member and audited designator.

Tune in tonight to watch standards in action as New Yorkers, tourists, and television viewers nationwide kick off the holiday season.

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