(25 APRIL 2013)
My study will provide a brief overview into the following subcomponents of Emergency Management concerning “The Station” Nightclub Fire of 2003 in Warwick, Rhode Island.
This tragic event took the lives 100 patrons and approximately 200 were injured. The band that played before an estimated crowd of 450 people used pyrotechnics for special effects purposes during the opening performance. The pyrotechnics ignited highly-flammable polyurethane foam insulation lining the wall and ceiling of the platform area where the band was performing, resulting in the deadly fire.
1) Mitigation- the act of mitigating, or lessening the ...view middle of the document...
Crowd managers are required to conduct a daily safety inspection using a checklist in addition to directing patrons to safety during an emergency. This was not a requirement before.
Use of pyrotechnics in bars and nightclubs is banned. Limited use of pyrotechnics is allowed in certain sprinklered theaters and large venues. A permit from the fire department has always been required but in this incident was not requested
Safety inspections by fire and building officials are now required in order to obtain or renew liquor licenses. Prior to the incident it was not mandated This includes ensuring no building or fire code violations exist and in addition,( there was a violation concerning a door that opened inward and noted as an egress hazard ) where required, there are trained crowd managers on staff and that the daily safety checklists are completed.
A two-strike rule was created for bars, nightclubs, discotheques, etc. with occupancies of less than 100 that exceed capacity. If a club is cited for an occupancy violation twice in a year, or exceeds its capacity by more than 50%, automatic sprinklers must be installed within 90 days or the business will be shut down (MGL C 148, S 26 G1/2). Brockton’s Emu Safari club was the first nightclub required to install sprinklers due to overcrowding.
A statewide non-criminal ticketing system was implemented that streamlines enforcement of fire and building codes. This program has been adopted in 189 communities to date. Communities are required to select and train a hearings officer in order to participate in this method of code enforcement (MGL C 148A). Violations are subject to $100, $500, and $1,000 fines for a respective 1st, 2nd, or 3rd violation of the applicable code requirements.
3) Communication- the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.
The major shortcoming and resulting deaths in the fire was from failure to recognize the threat too late and then the ensuing panic. Some would simply say that the patrons lacked situational awareness. The manager supposedly did not have permission to use the pryrotechnics or “Gerbs” as they were called. Failure on the inspectors part prior to the incident by communicating the need for sprinkler systems and also the changing of the occupancy capacity.
The events following the fire in subsequent days and weeks lead to some very bad discoveries. There was no shortage of reporters covering the fire. By late morning, over one hundred of media personnel were on the ground at the site of Americas fourth deadliest club fire in the cold of winter. They awaited any new bit of news, to phone in stories and practice interviews beside network uplink trucks strategically parked about the area.
Following protocol, all but designated spokesmen (authorities) avoided contact with the press. The area had immediately been declared a crime scene, and yellow tape, soon to be replaced by chain-link fence, kept reporters far...