Monday, January 28, 2013

Hundreds die needlessly in nightclub fire

“Never let a good crisis go to waste,” has been a callous call to arms for many these days when promoting a political opinion or new policy, but I can’t help but think of the phrase when hearing of the horrific loss of life in Brazil this week.  Over 250 people died, once again due to blocked and locked fire exits, use of pryotechnics, over capacity crowding . . . you name it.

Our earlier post on blocked fire exits helped fuel an extensive discussion thread on Linked In that contains nearly a hundred comments from around the world. The problem obviously exists worldwide, and is tragically highlighted when hundreds die trying to escape smoke and flames. The NFPA recently posted a short video calling for greater citizen awareness in nightclubs.  

I hope that fire officials and others everywhere will at least not let this horrible crisis go undiscussed and attitudes go unchanged.  Just noting a blocked fire exit shouldn’t be merely a cause for idle comment or polite suggestion to a manager.  It should stimulate an immediate demand, or an immediate cellphone call to the local Fire Department.

“Oh, but our staff is instructed that in case of an emergency, the obstructions must be moved (or chains unlocked) immediately,” is a common comeback from a clueless restaurant or facility manager.  

It’s usually those staff members that are at the bottom of the pile of corpses found stacked at the door following a fire.   

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