Saturday, 7:06 p.m.
A fire broke out yesterday, December 4 at the Lame Horse Nightclub in Perm, Russia, killing 109 people, the Associated Press reported December 4.
Onstage fireworks reportedly caught the ceiling on fire. Sadly, many people were trapped as they rushed to the single exit. What’s worse, club managers had been warned in the past to come into compliance with fire safety standards. Two co-owners were arrested, along with a manager.
In the U.S., there were more than 1,400 nightclub and bar fires in 2000, according to a 2004 report by the U.S. Fire Administration. Incendiary, electrical, cooking and smoking are the most common causes of night club fires.
If a fire does break out, here are some tips to reduce injuries and deaths:
- Sufficient, Illuminated Egress – There needs to be sufficient ways for guests to enter and exit, clearly marked with lighted signs.
- Keep exit doors unlocked and unblocked. Don’t block them with clutter such as equipment, boxes, storage items, and you name it.
- Keep exit hallways clear. This is a common violation at nightclubs.
- Frequent Inspections – Local safety officials should inspect nightclubs frequently and impose heavy sanctions for those owners who aren’t in compliance.
- Occupancy Limits – Maximum capacity crowds increase risk of casualties, so make sure you keep your capacity within fire department limits.
- Automatic Fire Extinguishing Systems (e.g., sprinklers) – The requirement for sprinklers is often based upon a nightclub’s occupancy. Smaller clubs may be exempt.
- Don’t Overserve – Guests who are intoxicated may be less able to safely exit the building. Keep guests sober so they can care for their own safety and the safety of others.
- Don’t Allow Pyrotechnics. Fires caused by incendiary happen almost twice as often as fires in all structures.
Whether you’re an experienced or new nightclub or bar owner, there is always some aspect of your business you can improve to make your place safer. Let’s not let these Russian nightclub patrons’ deaths be in vain. Learn from this tragedy, be conscientious and be proactive. Hopefully, these tips will help.
Reference: Nightclub Fires in 2000, US Fire Administration/National Fire Data Center, Topical Fire Research Series, Volume 3 – Issue 7, June 2004.