To the Editor:
Feb. 20, 2013 is the 10th anniversary of one of the most deadly fires in the U.S. With the loss of 100 young lives and approximately 200 seriously injured, the need to inform all, in a place of public assembly, of choices for a safe evacuation in a deadly hazardous incident occurring is now. Our safety requires that the regulation below be diligently enforced to insure all have the means for a save means of egress.
One of the most misunderstood and little used regulations to the R.I. Fire Code upgrade of 2003 is that repeated public announcements of the locations of emergency exiting doors are required before each set in a place of public assembly. As a contributor to the legislator process at those hearings, I have observed only partial success in my attendance at various venues in our state.
If applied properly, the occupants, upon hearing and observing the safe paths of egress and secondary exiting doors, would have a higher level of safety if a serious hazardous incident occurred. Not only would lives have been saved in West Warwick and the “Kiss” nightclub fire in Brazil, if used properly, but also a measure of increased safety for our first responders in their search and rescue phase. It would have dramatically reduced the victim count at each of these horrific occurrences.
Since it is passive rather than active, it is very cost-effective as no huge investment would be required to bring the facility up to code compliance. There is still the need for visual inspection and enforcement, which apparently needs some improvement. The benefits in this regulation are worth the effort so we all can then have a higher level of life-safety and still enjoy all our recreational enjoyments.