With thousands of co-eds packed along our shores, area nightspots are sure to do big business. Along with a fire safety inspector, Channel Seven toured Club La Vela on Panama City Beach to see if partygoers are safe in our clubs.
“The sprinkler system is the single most effective fire deterrent.”
Party with thousands holds true during spring break with tons of people packing the dance floors. A little more than a year ago, a hundred people died and more than 200 were injured in a blaze at The Station Night Club in Rhode Island. The inferno affected so many because almost everyone tried to get out one door, not knowing where the other exits were.
Captain Cocco with the Panama City Beach Fire Department says clubs can make some minor changes that will make a major difference.
He says, "We look at fire exit plans, teach the staff how to use fire extinguishers, and we look at crowd management. Crowd management is so important to make sure all the patrons can get out safely and quickly."
Sprinkler systems are another tool bars can use to help keep people safe. Both La Vela and Spinnaker have sprinkler systems.
"I would recommend every business have a sprinkler system."
Also at La Vela is a state-of-the-art alert system in case a fire does break out.
"The system actually turns the music off and sends out an announcement to exit the building immediately." ³
Panama City Fire Rescue offers fire safety classes to nightclub staff.