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Safety in nightclubs

In the wake of last night's fatal fire at a Rhode Island nightclub and a stampede earlier this week at a Chicago venue, safety measures at clubs nationwide will likely be reevaluated. What measures should be taken in Boston to ensure the safety of its nightspots? What lessons can be learned -- by venue owners and concertgoers alike -- in terms of safety at clubs? .

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Page 21

First of all my thoughts and prayers go to the surving families of all those lost. It's obvious that fines don't work. Most places will do as little as possible to pass minamal standards. If I was an inspector and found code violations I would shut them down immediately. Also pay a stiffer fine. Then possibly disasters like this may not happen.

jay, whitinsville

Both the band and the club are to blame. But right now is not the time to play the blame game. Right now is the time to express our deepest sympathy to those who lost a loved one in this senseless destruction. Tragic doesn't even begin to describe it.

SF, Melrose

Great White sucks. They lost half their fan base last night. Sad.

Dan, Holbrook

It appears from last night's tragedy that all attendees entered the front door so their natural reaction was to exit that same door. It's a matter of habit for me to know all exits when I attend any event, small and large. No one expects this kind of thing to occurr but both White Snake is liable for setting this blaze and the Club owners as well for not providing staff to safely exit people. Perhaps at all future events and clubs, an announcement can be made to all attendees of where all exits are prior to a start of the night or show.

Patrick , Norwood, MA

Sprinkler systems in all clubs regardless of square footage; larger exit doors; battery operated larger exit signs; no pyrotechnics in any small club; that stuff is only safe in outdoor arenas; my prayers are with all the families ..

katielou, harwich

It shouldn't have been done. The place was too old. I've been there and it wasn't a bright move. Unfortunately, it turned fatal. It's been done thousands of times before in other clubs/bars, so I'm sure nobody was the wiser for what was about to happen. The band is responsible at this point. I'm not going to bash them and attack them. They made a mistake and it was too costly to even fathom. But in the end, the bottom line is that pyrotechnics and/or fireworks should not be allowed indoors whatsoever. Now we all know. Unfortunately, now the world knows. It is the ultimate sacrifice, but we need to learn and move forward from this. People make mistakes, sometimes they're fatal/disastrous. Say a prayer, move on. One other point of interest is that as I said, I've been there before... in now way should that many people have even been allowed into that joint -- it's far too small. My condolences to the families of victims/casualties.

George , Needham

Three phrases come to mind: 1) "Hindsight is always 20-20." As I sit here, scanning this message board at 4:00PM on Friday, there's 18 pages of "What measures should be taken...to ensure safety....?" Of course, after the fact, everyone has ideas about how things should have gone. This is always the case with tragedies involving major loss of life. Unfortunately, these ideas are not going to bring back the 86 (as of 4:00PM) people that were lost last night. 2) "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt." How many times has everyone, myself included, been to a club where, as someone said a few pages ago, coats were being held up by the crowd? No one thinks about possible danger in that position because they have never had any reason to believe there would be any. Imagine an evacuation scenario in that situation... Once a major problem occurs, everyone wants to crack down on every possible law that could have helped to avoid the tragedy, had the laws been followed as written. The public then grows to see this as "We can't do this one fun thing because someone was (careless, reckless, you fill in the blank) and some people got hurt." If the laws and regulations are followed all the time, we can all have fun and no one will get hurt. 3) "History repeats itself." As much as I hate to admit that my elders were right on this one, it must be true. If almost 500 people died from a human error, judgment or otherwise, wouldn't you think that the country and world would learn from it? Obviously not, because we lost another 164 people in 1977 in a Kentucky club, 87 in a Bronx, NY club in 1990, not to mention multiple incidences of less than 50 fatalities around the country in addition to the 86 (as of 4:00) at the Station last night. I think that the reason that the Cocoanut Grove fire back in 1942 failed to educate all of us about the dangers of inadequate safety precautions was the fact that these tragedies are thankfully very few and quite far between. Unfortunately, mankind gets complacent in matters of safety in that they develop a feeling of invincibility, and as the saying goes, "History repeats itself" Hopefully we can all sit back and look at this tragedy with an objective view while we remember those that we lost. Capacity regulations and fire safety laws were put in place for a reason. I realize that the survivors and the families of the Cocoanut Grove victims, the largest fire tragedy, are aging and there aren't too many remaining. Perhaps we have forgotten exactly how bad it was back in 1942. Reading the accounts of last night's survivors, I think it will be a long time before we forget it again. Maybe this time around we can teach the next generation to respect safety, in the hopes that more people will be spared from such a horrific end. Last night's victims were not just victims of a terrible tragedy, but also of human nature's tendency to think that bad things are only going to happen to "other people." Unfortunately, last night these victims were those people. Please let's keep them in our thoughts.

Kris, Natick, MA

We have seen two recent examples of people being trampled trying to get out of a crowded club. Clearly two things must immediately be done. First, the number of exits need to be increased at clubs. Granted this may not be possible due to the layout of these buildings, but there needs to be a way to ensure people have adequate access to fire exits. Second, the amount of people being allowed in clubs needs to be reduced. I have been at bars/clubs in Boston many times and it is really scary to think what might happen if there was a fire at any of these places. Next time any one of you are at a club in town, take a look around and ask yourself if there was a fire, would you be able to get out safely.

MP, beverly

In a time when we are worried about Terroist acts it is a senseless and stupid accident. I am now more worried about my well being in the hands of ignorant people American of otherwise. People need to be smart about these things, these people should not have died and my heart goes out their family and friends.

BF, Boston

I honestly believe that all clubs no matter how small should have sprinker systems be mandatory - as well as finding a way to make it blatantly aware where the fire exits are. Whether it be by making announcements through the course of the night or by posting signs.

Cheryl, Boston

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