Fire Safety at Large Public Gatherings

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Over the weekend in Oakland, California, 36 people lost their lives from a fire during a warehouse dance party.

This tragic event provides a solemn reminder about the dangers of fire and its devastating impact on communities.

Remember these safety precautions when attending large gatherings and other public assemblies:

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?

 When You Enter, Locate All Your Exits

Like on an airplane, identify the location of all available exits from the building. Are they clearly marked and well lit? Always be prepared to use the exit closest to you, as you may not be able to use the main exit.

 Check For Clear Exit Paths

Make sure aisles are wide enough and not obstructed or blocked. If there are not at least two clearly marked exits, or they are blocked, report the violation to the management.

Leave the building if it is not immediately addressed.

Call the Seattle Fire Department’s Fire Marshal’s Office at 206-386-1450 to register a complaint.

 Do You Feel Safe?

Does the building appear to be overcrowded? Are there fire sources such as candles burning, pyrotechnics, or other heat sources that may make you feel unsafe? Are there safety systems in place such as sprinklers, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers?

Ask if you have concerns, and leave if you don’t feel safe.

 During an Emergency React Immediately

If an alarm sounds, or you see any indication of smoke or fire, immediately exit the building in a calm and orderly fashion. Use your closest exit, even if it is not the main exit.

 Get Out and Stay Out

Once you have escaped, stay out and move away from the building.

This allows others to exit safely and firefighters to enter.

To learn more:

Nightclub Fire Safety Requirements

Nightclub Fire Safety

Fire Evacuation in Places of Public Assembly