5 Tips to Prevent Against a Nightclub Fire


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A nightclub fire, while rare, poses the potential to be particularly lethal because so many people are inside the nightclub and not everyone is thinking clearly, before the panic sets in. It can pose a deadly sequence of events without proper planning. But, what can you, as a nightclub owner, do to prevent nightclub fires?

1) Install an Adequate Fire Suppression System
Smaller nightclubs aren’t always required to have fire suppression systems, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be beneficial to the safety of your property, employees, and patrons. When you consider that nightclub fires in 2000 did $46 million worth of damage, it’s a good idea to have that added protection to help reduce the damage done to your club. Don’t forget to include plenty of smoke detectors (with strobe lights that can be seen even if the music is too loud for them to be heard) throughout your club too.

2) Create an Action Plan for Employees to Follow in the Event of a Fire
It’s not enough to explain the proper fire procedures and expectations to your employees, as outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You need to conduct training and have live action drills so they can put the policies into action. The more confident your employees are that they’re doing the right thing, the calmer they’ll be when they’re going through the motions in an actual fire. Their calm can help keep the patrons calm and avoid stampede damage blind panic brings on in these situations.  Don’t forget to schedule regular drills and safety inspections to make sure your employees are following the proper protocols. In addition, have a plan to lead your patrons to safety in the event of a fire.

3) Make Sure Exits are Clearly Labeled
More importantly, make sure the exit signs are properly lit and in good working order. A flare, designed for outside rather than indoor use, was believed to be responsible for the 2013 Brazil nightclub fire.  However, it was a cascading sequence of events and oversights responsible for the 234 deaths in the fire. Fifty bodies were found in the nightclub’s bathrooms. The belief is that club goers ran to the bathrooms because they believed the doors were exits to the club. Well-lit exit signs above multiple club exits would have made a world of difference.

4) Create Multiple Fire Exits and Keep Them Open
Many nightclubs are reluctant to do this because they fear people will sneak underage people or non-paying customers through backdoors. The best alternative is to post employees near the fire exits so they don’t become a “back door” into your club or a way to bypass your security protocols. The Warwick, RI nightclub fire in 2003 killed 100 when Great White’s pyrotechnic show ignited the flammable sound insulation foam in the walls and ceiling around the stage. The club was engulfed quickly, but the blocked exit created a bottleneck that prevented people from escaping the club safely.

5) Post Maps and Safety Protocols Throughout the Club
Knowledge, or access to knowledge, is critical in moments of panic. People need to know where to go, what to do, and what their options are if one path is blocked to them. One problem when dealing with nightclub fires is that not everyone in the club is operating at optimal capacity. With varying degrees of intoxication, maps and instructions need to be as clear and as simple as possible. Uncomplicated maps with arrows are often the best way to show patrons where to go from particular points inside the club.

Despite your best efforts to limit or minimize your exposure to fires, accidents happen sometimes. Electrical fires, equipment malfunctions, and even lightning strikes can cause destructive fires to damage your nightclub. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have adequate nightclub insurance coverage to take care of your business if a fire does happen and help you get your club back up on its feet in the aftermath.

If you’re a nightclub owner, speak with a specialist at Greenwood Insurance to obtain protection in the unfortunate event your club is struck with a nightclub fire.

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