BEND, Ore. - Bend fire officials are offering safety reminders and and outlining the steps they take to inspect concert venues, in light of the recent tragedy in Brazil, where more than 230 people lost their lives in a nightclub fire caused by pyrotechnics and hampered by overcrowding and blocked exits.
Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki said, "This type of tragedy is not limited to other countries either -- in 2003, the Station Night Club fire in Rhode Island killed 100 people and was the result of the exact same cause and circumstances."
"The Bend Fire Department takes these tragedies to heart and works with local bar and nightclub owners as well as event coordinators to help prevent these types of tragedies here in Bend," Derlacki said late last week.
Shortly after the Station Night Club fire in 2003, Bend's fire department implemented nighttime inspections.
"This is where fire inspectors go into bars and clubs at night, during their normal operating hours, to ensure safety is being practiced when the venue is full of patrons," the fire official said, adding that the "Bend Fire Department is one of only a few fire departments in the state that do these types of inspections."
"These inspections have greatly increased the safety and awareness of not only the owners and managers of these clubs but the public as well," Derlacki said.
Inspections in Bend also prevented possible tragedies, he said, as several locations were found to have the same flammable sound covering as noted in both the Station Club and Brazil nightclub fires. These locations were brought up to code before any fire or emergency could occur.
Besides the inspections and precautions the fire department and bar owners take, Derlacki said that "there are things you can do to be safe when you go out and enjoy an evening out," and he outlined them in a news release:
Locate exits immediately
Take a few seconds when you enter a building look for all available exits. Are the exits clearly marked and well lit? Some exits may be in front and some in back of you. Always be prepared to use the exit closest to you because you may not be able to use the main exit in which you entered. Make sure aisles are wide enough and not blocked by chairs or furniture. Check to make sure your exit door is not blocked or chained. If the exits are not clearly marked or the exits are blocked, report the violation to management and leave the building if it is not immediately addressed. Call the local fire department 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 make you feel unsafe? Ask the management for clarification on your concerns. If you do not feel safe in the building, leave immediately and contact your local fire department.
React immediately in the event of an emergency
If an alarm sounds, you see smoke or fire, or other unusual disturbances immediately exit the building in an orderly fashion. Use your closest exit – keep in mind it may not be the main exit. Also keep in mind that the lights could go out and that you may not be able to see.
Get out, stay out!
One you have escaped, stay out. Let trained emergency personnel conduct rescue operations.
If you are out and notice something that is not right, something that seems unsafe, feel free to call the Bend Fire Department and let us know about it. We will investigate and help the owner or manager ensure their club is safe for all the patrons to enjoy. Anonymous complaints are taken for these types of situations, 541-322-6309.
"With a few seconds of your time when you get to a club, you can help ensure your safety!" Derlacki said