Safety must be first at clubs

Less than one week after 21 people died in a stampede at the E2 Chicago nightclub, 96 people were burned or crushed to death at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island on Thursday night.

The fire was the result of a pyrotechnic show set off during rock band Great White’s first song. The fire consumed the club in just three minutes. The Station was not required to have sprinklers because it was built before 1976.

Great White contends it had permission to set off the fireworks. The Station’s co-owner says that is not true. According to Associated Press reports, four other clubs where the band played in the past month said Great White used fireworks in their club without permission. Authorities are now investigating what really happened.

It’s likely no one thought the tragedy in Rhode Island or Chicago could happen to them. People go to clubs to have a good time. No one dresses in their finest or looks their best to get crushed or burned.

The tragedies in Chicago and West Warwick, R.I., should serve as an alert to those who frequent nightclubs. On any given night, there are several hundred people in any one of Tallahassee’s nightspots. At times, some are dangerously over capacity and pose a threat to the safety of their patrons. If a fire or fight were to break out, the end result would mirror that of The Station and E2.

People must take it upon themselves to know whether establishments they patronize are safe. If nothing else, they must come up with an escape plan in case something goes wrong. Personally locate all exits and test each one. Most of the people who died in Chicago and Rhode Island tried to escape from one exit.

Safety must always be everyone’s first concern.

Augustine Rho for The Famuan.