Posted by JWmHarmon on February 28, 2003 at 11:05:16:
In Reply to: Re: Learning from the Nightclub Disaster in Rhode Island - think posted by Gary R on February 27, 2003 at 12:08:35:
Part of the responsibility for the chained doors lies with the patrons who think it is clever to open the doors to their friends who refuse to pay the price of admission (cover charge or other fee) used at many clubs. Or those who sneak in a side door because the management is trying to enforce building occupancy codes. This statement is in no way intended to excuse the inexcusable act of management chaining an escape route, but only to show that there are often many people at fault.
The greatest fault lies with ALL those who have opposed the mandatory installation of sprinkler systems in such places. Why would anyone choose to spend $5,000 on routine replacement of carpeting, but refuse to spend $3,000 on a working sprinkler system?
There is always the human reaction that "it can't happen here." You CAN predict that every building will someday have a fire occur within it. (Murphy's law - whatever can go wrong will go wrong.) Most of these fires are immediately extinguished with no damage. A few cause some minor damage, but are then brought under control. Fewer still result in extensive damage. A tiny fraction result in the loss of life. But when the circumstances are just right, we see a major tragedy as cited in posts earlier.
We must always be prepared for the fact that human errors WILL occur. When we design such facilities, we, the design professionals, MUST insist that we take reasonable precautions. Sprinkler systems in commercial buildings should be required by code. Retro-fitting of sprinkler systems should be mandatory in such public spaces.
If you oppose the mandatory retro-fitting of such facilities, will you accept the responsibility for the deaths of hundreds such as occured in Rhode Island?
I speak from the perspective of one who has survived after being inside a burning building that was totally destroyed. I have personal experience of seeing a seemingly small flicker of flame turn into a raging inferno in a matter of two or three minutes.
It should be a required part of eveyone's eduction that we study the recommendations of the NFPA - the National Fire Protection Association. (Linked below)
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