Nightclub fires continue to be a growing problem throughout the world, with hundreds of people being at risk and experiencing fatalities during a fire, not to mention millions of dollars in property damage. Causes of nightclub fires vary, but letting in over-capacity crowds, not having enough exits, and kitchen hazards being tops on the list. Recent well-publicized nightclub fires in Brazil and Warwick, Rhode Island, both had a too-crowded nightclub as a common factor for lives lost. Further, because of the alcohol in the building, fire is a significant risk in any nightclub.
Causes of Nightclub Fires
TheUS Fire Administration conducted a study recently to determine the biggest risks of nightclub fires. As expected, the results found that a combination of factors lead to nightclub and bar fires. A nightclub being overcrowded doesn’t cause the fire, but it does increase the risk of casualties because people cannot get out of the nightclub or bar in time.
Protecting Your Business from Fires
By recognizing the fire hazards in your workplace, you can better protect employees, customers and the building itself. TheOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a fact sheet for Fire Safety in the Workplace which gives you detailed instructions on protecting your nightclub or bar from fire, and codes to follow to protect customers in the event of a fire. The following is a list of tips for fire safety:
- If you cook food in your nightclub, empty grease traps regularly. These can cause a fire to escalate in the kitchen extremely quickly.
- Store all flammable materials properly and keep them away from heat sources in the restaurant area of your nightclub.
- Remove fraying power cords or defective electronic equipment as soon as you notice them.
- Keep fire extinguishers in your building and teach employees how to use them properly. Make emergency fire exits clear and free from obstructions.
- Have smoke detectors installed in the nightclub and change the batteries annually. Keep them checked regularly to be sure they are working properly.
- Create a fire escape plan and inform all employees of the plan. If a fire does break out, be sure employees know their role and help visitors of the club get out safely.
- Follow your local fire codes and never let in more people than the fire department allows. This is for the safety of your customers; if too many people are in the building, they won’t all get out and be safe if a fire was to occur.
- Unlock emergency exits during business hours to be sure everyone can get out in time.
In many cases, you can prevent a fire from occurring or at least keep it from escalating and injuring people in your nightclub. However, the fire can still damage your building and contents.
Get adequate business insurance to cover the damage caused, such as fire insurance, property insurance and general liability insurance.