The deadliest fires in US history have involved places of assembly. Of particular concern are indoor venues where the exits to the building were not immediately apparent to panicked patrons. The Station nightclub fire that occurred on February 20, 2003 killed 100 and injured over 200 others sparking nationwide awareness about the fire and life safety code issues in places of assembly. Florida has now enacted statutes to address this (NFPA 1-18.104.22.168).
When assembly occupant loads exceed 50, crowd managers are required. Where occupant loads exceed 250, additional crowd managers are required at a ratio of 1 for every 250 occupants thereafter.
Yes, this requirement does not apply to assembly occupancies exclusively for religious worship where the occupant load does not exceed 500. This ratio can also be reduced where, in the opinion of the Fire Official, the existence of an approved, supervised automatic sprinkler system, and the nature of the event warrant a reduction.
The APPROVED Crowd Manager Courses are:
- Classroom Setting: Event Managers LLC provides a class/seminar setting. To register, visit the Event Managers or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Online Class:Â Fire Marshal Support Services, LLC offers an online Crowd Manager Training Course.
The Fire Department performs routine and unplanned spot checks of assembly occupancies and venues to assure compliance with authorized occupant loads and fire and life safety code compliance.
- Is your capacity posted?
- Is your address properly posted?
- Are all exit doors unlocked and clear of obstructions?
- Are all exit doors properly marked with illuminated exit signs?
- Are all exit/egress paths clear and unobstructed?
- Are the streets clear for fire and ambulance apparatus to access the building in the event of an emergency?
- Are the marked fire lanes clear of vehicles and obstruction?
- Are all fire department connections free from obstruction?
- Is the outside of the building adequately illuminated?
- Are all emergency lights operational and tested annually?
- Has your fire alarm and sprinkler system been inspected annually and are they fully operational?
During Event Checklist
- Do not exceed your occupancy capacity. It is designed to protect your occupants and you. You must count the number of people who enter and the number of people who leave and be able to produce that number when requested.
- Walk the rooms and confirm that the exit paths are staying clear. Do not allow people to congregate around or block any exits.
- Assure all marked exits remain unlocked and unobstructed at all times.
- Maintain all fire lanes, fire hydrants, and fire department connections free from vehicles and obstructions.
- Make sure that you have the adequate number of trained staff on duty for the number of occupants.
For the of safety of you and your occupants, please review your ESCAPE plan daily.
Exits: Unblocked, unlocked, and properly marked.
Storage: Clean, orderly, and no excessive storage.
Capacity: The number of persons occupying the space doesn't exceed the posted capacity and capacity certificates are properly posted.
Aisles: All aisles are the proper width and free and clear at all times.
Protection: Smoke detectors, fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and fire extinguishers are in proper working order and have up-to-date inspections and tests performed.
Emergency Lighting: Exit signs and emergency lighting are working properly.