The heartbreaking deaths of 233 college age kids killed yesterday in a fire that raged though a Brazilian nightclub, is a somber reminder that churches need a comprehensive plan of escape for their congregation.
In less than five minutes… total chaos ensued as the room filled with toxic smoke.
In less than five minutes lives were forever changed.
In less than five minutes, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers lost 233 people that they loved.
The fire is still under investigation, but early reports say the band’s pyrotechnic show is suspected to be the cause of the fire. A series of reported factors contributed to this being the second highest death toll at a nightclub:
- A capacity filled building
- Fire extinguishers that did not work
- Security guards who refused to let patrons exit
- Exits not clearly marked
- Not enough emergency exits
- Patrons rushed to the only exit they knew…the same one they came in
- “Crowd crush” blocked the only exit door in use
- Toxic smoke quickly asphyxiated patrons trapped in the building
Is your church prepared for an emergency evacuation?
Imagine the unthinkable… a fire breaks out during a crowded Sunday morning service. Parents are in the sanctuary and their children are in another part of the building. Where do you think every parent will head first? I can’t even imagine the panicked log-jam in the hallways as parents head into the children’s area while the children are trying to get out of the area. What about the elderly or physically challenged as panicked people tread over them to escape? How have you prepared to help the nursery and children’s workers get the babies and children out safely? Does your congregation know where all the exits are? Do parents know your evacuation plan? When’s the last time you had a fire drill?
What do you need in your plan?
- Easily understood emergency procedures
- Procedures for alerting emergency services
- Procedures for special needs of your congregation and children
- A means to communicate your plan to the congregation. Some innovative churches have even posted their emergency plan on YouTube.
Where do I get help to create a plan?
Every church needs their own individually tailored emergency plan. Contact your local fire department for help. ChurchSafety.com also has an excellent Step by Step guide available at: ChurchSafety.com -Planning for an Emergency Evacuation It’s free to Church Safety members and $14.95 for non-members.
Don’t read this and put it away for another time. Take action now to get your emergecy plan in place – just in case the unthinkable happens.
Resolve 2B Ready in 2013.