The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Nightclub fires

Recent tragedies spark safety concern debate

Only four days separate two shocking nightclub disasters.

First it was E2 in Chicago. Twenty-one people lost their livesafter an altercation between a few individuals turned into astampede when pepper spray was sprayed to supposedly calm thecrowd.

Last Thursday disaster struck in Rhode Island. At least 65people were pronounced dead and more than 200 were said to beinjured after a fire from a pyrotechnics machine sparked theceiling blaze at a nightclub where Great White performed.

The death total has now reached 97.

Reports say that fun-seekers did not even know they were indanger until it was too late. It appears that few people everassume risk of anything going wrong other than drunken driving whenthey’re out to have a good time.

Maybe it’s time we think about ways to have a good but safe timeas well.

Although the icy weather has kept most clubgoers at home in theDallas area the past couple of days, the urgent need to takeprecautionary measures for upgrading local nightclub emergencyexits is impending.

When you think about it, you realize there are usually one ortwo visible exits that come to mind in local bars and hangouts thatSMU students frequent. Most of these noisy places are often crowdedand it takes a while to just get from the front door to the dancefloor.

Hopefully these recent tragedies will serve as a wake-up call tolocal bar owners to re-examine the safety of their facilities.

Obviously a local catastrophe need not occur before things willchange. It is up to not only the fire marshal, but the club-hoppingcommunity to demand new rules be in effect to ensure ourprotection.

Ed Board proposes that city officials mandate wider staircasesand a possible panic button be installed in nightclubs nationwidefor precautionary reasons. Therefore, when the button is pushed, itopens all exits and signals to authorities that there is aproblem.

In addition to panic buttons, licensing should be stricter inorder to have an open facility that provides entertainment. Maximumoccupancy levels need to be adhered to, and enforced.

Until local hangouts meet new safety requirements, it’snecessary that we watch out for our own safety to prevent furthertragedies.

The shock of these recent disasters should not only temporarilyparalyze our need to party, but open our naive eyes to how unsafeour partying just might be.

We should be disturbed to the point that we instigate thenecessary changes to prevent unnecessary disasters in thefuture.

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