NFPA Recommends Rules Tougher Than in R.I.


A committee of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) this week recommended tougher fire-safety rules for building exit inspections in hopes of preventing a disaster like February’s deadly Rhode Island nightclub fire.

The NFPA panel recommended that building owners be required to inspect their establishments’ exits each time they will be open to the public. It also voted to require a designated “crowd manager” for all places of assembly, which the NFPA defines as places that hold 50 people or more.

The changes were prompted by the February blaze at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I. The fire, sparked by a band’s pyrotechnic display, engulfed the building within minutes, killing 100 people and injuring nearly 200 others as people scrambled for the same exit.

The committee recommended new rules governing sprinklers, including making them required in some existing buildings with capacities of 100 people or more. The Station nightclub did not have fire sprinklers.

The panel’s sprinkler recommendations were tougher than the new fire code enacted in Rhode Island July 7. That new law will require sprinklers in nightclubs that serve alcohol and accommodate at least 150 people. It also bans pyrotechnics in all but the largest venues and increases the authority of fire inspectors.

The NFPA’s Standards Council at a meeting next week will consider the committee’s recommendations.

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