A fire at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, on January 27, 2013, killed more than 240 people. Photo: AP Photo/Agencia RBS
Fires in assembly occupancies have shown to be some of the most deadly when the proper features, systems and construction materials were not present. Nightclubs, theaters and auditoriums differ from office buildings because they contain a large number of people in one main space. NFPA code provisions mandate that a considerable number of safety systems and features be present in order to keep everyone safe should an unwanted fire occur. The level of safety provided is not the result of any single safety system or feature, but rather is achieved through the combination of multiple safeguards that are provided.
Video: Former NFPA president Jim Shannon says what makes the Brazil nightclub fire so heartbreaking is that it could have been avoided with adherence to codes including the use of sprinklers.
Video: NFPA's Robert Solomon says consumers need to know how to protect themselves when they visit nightclubs and other public assembly venues.
Video: NFPA's Lisa Braxton says it's important to know what precautions to take before entering a building, while you are there and during an emergency.
- The deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston burned on November 28, 1942, killing 492 people.
- The fourth deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, a blaze at The Station nightclub in W. Warwick, RI, on February 20, 2003, claimed 100 lives
- NFPA Case Study: Nightclub fires (PDF, 3 MB). This 2006 case study reviews historic fires in assembly occupancies as well as The Station nightclub fire and the response of NFPA to this tragedy. In addition, changes made in RI and MA as well as an investigation completed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology are summarized.
- "U.S. Fires in Selected Occupancies: Eating and Drinking Establishments", November 2012
- NFPA reports on assembly occupancy fires.
- Information on the inspection of assembly occupancies (PDF, 2.2 MB) from the eighth edition of NFPA's Fire and Life Safety Inspection Manual. Provides the basis for ongoing inspections of existing buildings regardless of use or occupancy.
- Inspection checklist for assembly occupancies (PDF, 48 KB) which can be used as the basis for inspection if a jurisdiction does not otherwise have a prepared list available.
- Chapter 3, Codes and Standards for the Built Environment (PDF, 241 KB) from the 19th edition of NFPA's Fire Protection Handbook. Provides information about the history and role of regulations in the built environment, standards organizations, and enforcement, along with information about standards developing organizations, both nationally and internationally.