Washington, D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a special report , part of its Topical Fire Research Series, examining the incidence of nightclub fires in the U.S. and the characteristics that may make these relatively rare fires so potentially deadly.
“This important issue of our Topical Fire Research Series was spurred by the tragic Rhode Island night club fire last year that killed 100 people,” said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response. “We wanted to determine what common issues might contribute to the death tolls of these fires and what role local inspections and safety codes might play.”
According to the report, “Nightclub Fires in 2000,” developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration, there were more than 1,500 nightclub and bar fires that year, causing $46 million in property damage. The report, which studied 2000 as it was the most recent year with complete data, noted that while these constitute only a small percentage of all structure fires, they have the potential to cause high casualties due to maximum or over-capacity crowds on weekends or during live performances. “This report points out that the most tragic nightclub fires are affected by a lack of highly visible exits or fire escapes, and that patrons trying to leave out of the same door they entered can compound the problem,” said U.S. Fire Administrator R. David Paulison. “This report also underscores the challenge nightclubs pose for fire prevention and public safety.”
A copy of the full report can be downloaded from: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/inside-usfa/nfdc/pubs/tfrs.shtm.