Nightclub Fire Safety

On Sunday 27 January, Brazil encountered its most deadly fire for over 50 years. The blaze, which took place at the Kiss nightclub in the southern city of Santa Maria, devastatingly claimed 213 lives and left a country – as well as the wider global community – angry, distressed and confused about how such an awful thing could take place and cause such ruin.

The fire, which was reportedly started after a band member used pyrotechnics on-stage and then worsened by the use of polyurethane foam, prompted an outcry of national mourning. A procession of Brazilian residents – thought to total over 35,000 people – walked through the streets Santa Maria, commemorating the victims of the tragedy and calling for justice for those responsible.

Various police investigations and fire industry reports have been conducted since the fire took place in January and, according to The Guardian, the results have documented a “catalogue of negligence”. A number of factors contributed to the disastrous nature of the fire, such as the use of polyurethane foam in the ceiling for its soundproofing properties which caught fire, releasing toxic smoke.

The horrific events of that night have been felt throughout the world, especially for the families of those involved, but also in the fire safety and regulatory community which has called for tighter controls in public venues, specifically in nightclubs.

Polyurethane foam has come under considerable criticism and harsher regulations are being requested. Polyurethane foam, a commonly used material in nightclubs due to its soundproofing qualities, has already been banned in clubs in the US since a similar nightclub fire, involving pyrotechnics and the foam, killed 100 people at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island in 2003. Reports at the time said “the speed at which the fire burned was a significant factor in the large loss of life and can be primarily attributed to the pyrotechnics and the polyurethane foam”.

However, it’s not just the use of the polyurethane foam which caused the Brazilian nightclub fire to create such devastation. Additionally, there were a lack of emergency exits, the evacuation procedure was unclear – many bodies were found in the toilets after the toilet doors were mistaken for exits – and there was also no emergency lighting system which further compounded the confusion and panic. A collectively poor attempt at fire safety is largely to blame and has prompted local authorities and fire industry experts to reinforce the importance of general fire safety in public spaces.

Read more:

Fire Prevention - OSHA Safety Training:

Explore Safety Topics...

CPR Online Safety Training - Best Selection of Safety Posters Online

Safety Job Finder powered by

Advanced Job Search »