Public Entertainment Establishments
BARS – CLUBS - DANCEHALLS
Financial planning and budget allocations in many Corporate and Commercial concerns concentrate - wherever possible - on a visible return of profit within the same fiscal year. Commendable - of course, Practical - not always... especially when budget allocation involves any review or upgrade of an Installed Fire Protection System.
Where a Company or establishment has little history of fires, and where existing fire detection or protection systems meet the minimum required standards, then the probability is that additional expenditure on the fire detection system will be far from the top of the budget allocation list. That is of course until a fire situation occurs. Suddenly what was originally classified as an expense could now have been viewed as an investment.
When the fire occurs in a public entertainment establishment such as a dance hall or bar the situation is often made worse by local, National or even International media investigations and reports looking for someone to blame - particularly where loss of human life in the fire occurred. Basic fire detection designs consider the obvious major risk from smoke. Protection of the building entrance and exit areas as well as offices and rest rooms are top of the list for detector locations. What are more commonly overlooked are garage areas, electrical cupboards, lighting and/or the wiring to them, ventilation/extraction systems and even some decorative displays used to enhance the image or appearance of the bar/club/dancehall. All the afore- mentioned areas are where the installation of all point detector devices will be unsuitable.
THE SANTIKA PUB - THAILAND 2009
The Santika Pub was known as one of the hottest nightclubs in Thailand, a place for young Thais and others from around the world to dance and have fun. The club had a large dance area, stage, and mezzanines that overlooked the dance floor. On New Years, January 1, 2009, more than a thousand people were packed into the club to usher in the New Year with celebrations and to say goodbye to the Santika Pub which was scheduled to close and relocate. The club had live entertainment that night, a popular local band, ironically and tragically called “Burn”. Shortly after midnight, the band was playing on stage when, as part of the bands act, pyrotechnic displays were set off and sparks shot towards the ceiling. Revelers were videotaping the event and surviving video shows at 12.15AM, sparks falling from the ceiling onto the dance floor. The video then shows members of Burn, and audience members, looking to the ceiling as the sparks continued to fall, and the ceiling fire grew larger.
At 12.20 AM the fire was reported to local police, but the fire department was not notified until 12.40A.M. Firefighters arrived at the club at 12.48 AM. In the 33 minutes between the time the pyrotechnics were set off, and the arrival of the fire department, fire raced through the building. Hundreds tried to get down to the main entrance from the balconies, only to find the entrance already jammed with people trying to flee the fire from the main floor. The electricity went out and burning pieces of ceiling fell onto those still trapped inside the building. Eventually, a portion of the roof collapsed. The fire killed 66 and injured another 229, making the Santika Pub fire the worst in Thailand history. Later it was determined the fire began when the pyrotechnics ignited sound proofing and insulating materials on the ceiling. In addition, the building was overcrowded, and the main entrance was not large enough to allow for a quick evacuation – most of those who died were found at the entrance, unable to escape.
A Factory Mutual Approved and Underwriters Laboratories listed digital LINEAR HEAT DETECTION system offers localised detection of incipient fires or pre-combustion overheat conditions. Additionally, an accurate alarm point location facility is available which can be especially valuable in overheat detection signalling conditions, where no visible flame exists.