Fire's Own Self-Preservation
The Codes That Don't Preserve Our Lives
The Governor, who has curiously and completely taken over the media coverage -- thus keeping the town's officials off camera, has deputized fire marshals to go forth to inspect other clubs of a similar nature, which ths they refer to as Class 3.
Frankly, this is akin to sending out Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, for the state fire marshals and the local fire inspectors, everywhere, have failed to "see" the obvious through the lens of fire codes that are insufficient by reason and/or time.
Fire's fierce "instinct" to survive and thrive
is inversely related life, limb, and property's survival.
As a fire's energy masses, human energy wanes.
There are three components to fire; heat, oxygen, and fuel.
Remove one component, and the fire goes out.
Unfortunate for the firefighters' battle,
and trapped persons' survival,
one fire element feeds
For example: Punch a hole in the ceiling to let heat/smoke escape, then oxygen enters through doors and crevices to re-feed the fire. And, every EXIT door that opens to provide a person an escape allows the necessary oxygen to enter the fire field to engulf those people behind. Because heat rises, fire burns upward; if thwarted it "layers" heat creating a superheated upper layer that spontaneously combusts... often across the room. Fire strikes-out to get its "will," -- the rapid release of energy -- as it voracously seeks fuel that generates more heat. As opposed to a violent criminal who might respond to reason, there is no "reasoning" with fire. It is an equal opportunity destroyer and killer.
Against this indiscriminate lethal enemy, we find ourselves with a "sorry" fire code which specifies EXITS... and an even more sorry and unusable instructions to "escape" in crowds. Further, we often find ourselves without potentially life saving sprinklers which dissipate heat and smother the fuel from oxygen required for combustion. (Even in high rises such as the Prudential Center, Boston MA, sprinklers were not required until a fire on the upper floors served the proverbial "wake-up call.")
Some fire codes are just stupid. They only seem intelligent. Exit signs and emergency battery back-up lights are placed over doors, and even higher up, respectively. Looks good! Yet, smoke rises to the ceiling and then layers down, thus, first obscuring the emergency lights, and then the exit signs. Hence, it is not only mental confusion caused by smoke that results in people burning to death in closets and restrooms, but the fact that "a door becomes a door" in such blacked-out chaos. Additionally, with modern polyfoam and other synthetic materials, often derivatives of petroleum, the fire's smoke is both blacker and more toxic. If EXIT sign over doors ever made sense, they saw their days long ago in the era of 12-16 foot ceilings and only natural materials.
Also, ask any fire marshal, inspector, or fighter how one should exit a building and they will properly tell you to crawl for the temperature which could be well over 1200 degrees Fahrenheit (layering down) at the ceiling is a survivable on the floor. TIME OUT! If one is crawling for a exit and the EXIT sign, which up high, is the first to be occluded by smoke, shouldn't fire exits also be at baseboard level so that one doesn't crawl into a non-exiting way such as closet, bathroom, or hall?
And while on the topic of EXITS, not all of them are created equal. Some lead directly to the outside. Others lead to either another room or hall way where one's still not safe from invisible deadly carbon monoxide and superheated gases which allow fire to jump across rooms and over partitions that may only be built to the dropped ceiling -- a common practice in partitioned buildings). EXITS should be properly marked to indicate the escape path.
Can you imagine? In a nation where the simplist of food, such as a candy bar, has to have its ingredients listed along with calories, grams and MDR %s, WE DO NOT REQUIRE EXITS TO BE MARKED TO INFORM THE PUBLIC OF THEIR ESCAPE JOURNEY!
And finally, we come to sprinklers. These humble servants unobtrusively stand sentry waiting to save lives and property. SPRINKLERS BUY TIME! Some systems are fully charged (always contain water), others are not, and some are even self-contained with a limited a water supply. Whatever their form, SPRINKLERS ARE THE FIRST RESPONDER TO A FIRE as they contain fire's initial appitite to consume fuels. The truth is that most people carry enough urine in their bladders to "sprinkle-out" most fires that start with a spark (not by accelerants or an explosion) were a person there to release it when the fire ignited. Installed sprinklers are always there ready to serve. There is no conceivable reason why they should not be mandated for all public venues where people assemble. Thus, it remains inconceivable that they were not at The Station!