Fire loss history has shown that the largest loss of life occurs in assemblies and nightclubs as a result of overcrowding, inadequate exiting, and the improper use of open flame devices or other sources of ignition combined with combustibles.
To prevent a tragedy of this type from occurring in the City of Portland during this New Years Eve celebration, Portland Fire & Rescue inspectors from the Fire Prevention Division will perform night inspections at venues that anticipate having the potential for a large attendance.
The goal of Operation Holiday Cheer is to ensure a safe environment for the public as much as possible given the potentially challenging circumstances with large numbers of people. This goal will be accomplished by primarily checking for adequate exiting and overcrowding in nightclubs, assemblies and other venues. The inspectors will ensure that all exits are viable, there is nothing stored in exit ways, doors are unlocked and easily openable and occupant loads are not exceeded. Any blocked or locked exits shall be required to be cleared or opened immediately.They will also be checking for proper use of open flame devices, such as candles, and propane heating devices.
There are some vital components to keep in mind when you are out on the town in any type of large venue. One of the first is to know where the exits are located, besides the one you came in through. The exit pathways should be clear of furniture or other obstructions, and the exits should be easily identified and not blocked or chained.
If an alarm sounds or you see smoke, fire or any other unusual disturbance, use the closest exit to you, even if it isn’t the main exit. Once you have evacuated, stay out. You never want to enter a burning building; let our firefighters conduct the search/rescue and fire fighting.
It is important to take the time to learn about the public assembly buildings you may enter so that you know what to do if the unexpected happens. Watch the public service announcement below for tips to get out safely should a fire unexpectedly erupt while you're busy celebrating!