The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) has called upon its Technical Committee on Assembly Occupancies to convene in Quincy, MA, for an immediate review of the safety issues relevant to public assembly buildings. The meeting of the 30-person committee will be held as soon as possible.
At issue are several core components of a total system of building safety that have come to light following two deadly nightclub incidents. The first was in Chicago, in which 21 patrons were killed in a crowd crush on February 17th. The second incident occurred on February 20th, when a fast-spreading fire in a West Warwick, RI, nightclub killed 97 occupants.
"We must not waste any time in examining all the available information about public assembly occupancies in the wake of these building emergencies," said NFPA Executive Vice President Arthur E. Cote, P.E. "Although we still don't have all the facts about these terrible incidents, we know enough right now to warrant a serious review and scrutiny of the future direction of codes and standards, and their enforcement locally. We must learn from these tragedies, and the time to act is now."
NFPA is calling for a review of the following issues addressed or affected by NFPA codes:
- --The minimum thresholds for requiring automatic fire sprinkler protection;
--Allowable interior finish and decorations;
--Retroactive application of code requirements; and
--Inspection and permitting.
For more information, visit NFPA's website.