Observe these safety tips when attending events

February 21, 2013 02:05 PM
The Galesburg Fire Department wants everyone entering any public assembly building to be prepared in case an emergency occurs. Emergencies are not something we normally think are going to occur while we shop, work, or participate in a social event but they can and do. This was realized by the tragic nightclub fire occurring recently in Brazil resulting in over 230 deaths. It was eerily similar to the Station nightclub fire that occurred in Rhode Island 10 years earlier. That fire was the fourth-deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history with 230 people injured, some severe, in addition to the 100 lives lost. Captain Derek Perry of the Galesburg Fire Department said, "These tragedies unfortunately continue to highlight the need for personal vigilance when it comes to safety. Although laws, code and enforcement are in place to protect us, when it comes to avoiding and escaping from an emergency we ultimately are our own best fire marshal."

Here are some tips provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to help ensure your safety:
Before you enter:
  • Take a good look. Does the building appear to be in a condition that makes you feel comfortable? Is the main entrance wide and does it open outward to allow easy exit? Is the outside area clear of materials stored against the building or blocking exits?
  • Have a communication plan. Identify a relative or friend to contact in case of emergency and you are separated from family or friends.
  • Plan a meeting place. Pick a meeting place outside to meet family or friends with whom you are attending the function. If there is an emergency, be sure to meet them there.
When You Enter:
  • Take a good look. Locate exits immediately. When you enter a building you should look for all available exits. Some exits may be in front and some in back of you. Be prepared to use your closest exit. You may not be able to use the main exit.
  • Check for clear exit paths. Make sure aisles are wide enough and not obstructed by chairs or furniture. Check to make sure your exit door is not blocked or chained. If there are not at least two exits or exit paths are blocked, report the violation to management and leave the building if it is not immediately addressed. Call the fire marshal to register a complaint.
  • Do you feel safe? Does the building appear to be overcrowded? Are there fire sources such as candles burning, cigarettes or cigars burning, pyrotechnics, or other heat sources that may make you feel unsafe? Are there safety systems in place such as alternative exits, sprinklers, and smoke alarms? Ask the management for clarification on your concerns. If you do not feel safe in the building, leave immediately.
If an Emergency does occur:
  • React immediately. If an alarm sounds, you see smoke or fire, or some other unusual disturbance immediately exit the building in an orderly fashion.
  • Get out, stay out! Once you have escaped, stay out. Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. Let trained firefighters conduct rescue operations.
For more information about safety in public places visit NFPA's website at www.nfpa.org or contact the Galesburg Fire Department at (309) 345-3756.


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