Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
Floyd McLean, acting chief fire prevention officer in the Jamaica Fire Brigade, says fire officials are contemplating carrying out inspections at local nightclubs in short order, following news of a blaze that killed more than 230 people and injured hundreds at a nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, on the weekend.
"We very much will be doing another sweep of the entire entertainment industry to ensure that they are abiding by the basic guidelines of the Jamaica Fire Brigade Act, due to this fire," McLean told The Gleaner.
He noted that such inspections are carried out at least once per year.
"From time to time, we go in and do night inspections to ensure that overcrowding and other related threats to life while using the place are eliminated. For example, we ensure that the illuminated exit lights are working and are at the top of the door while the club is in session, and the extinguishers are in the appropriate areas, among many other practices," he said.
"As it is, there is no nightclub that we permit to operate without two alternate means of escape, you should be able to get out of the building with a minimum of two ways, unhampered and without much of a problem. If there is a breach in the Jamaica Fire Brigade Act, then we give them a three- or six-month time period to correct it, based on the severity of the problem, if it cannot be removed immediately. We would also keep that club in focus," he added.
clubs deemed safe
All the clubs in the Kingston and St Andrew area were deemed safe by the Jamaica Fire Brigade, however, following the inspections carried out last year.
"Nothing out of the ordinary was discovered. Maybe an extinguisher needed recharging or a new bulb was needed. I think the chances of people getting hurt by fires in our nightclubs is very (unlikely), especially in the Kingston and St Andrew area as we have covered all of them. The ones we haven't covered would have to be those of people who were somehow able to start up a business without registering it with the KSAC (Kingston and St Andrew Corporation)."
Yesterday, the Embassy of Brazil in Jamaica said it greatly appreciated the expressions of sympathy from the Government and people of Jamaica and that a book of condolence would be open at the embassy until tomorrow.