Ladies and Gentlemen-Start Your Engines

Blog Post created by rsolomon Employee on Sep 7, 2016

Oh-Never Mind: Will You be Receiving or Kicking? 


A phenomenon not seen since the 1960s will take place this coming Saturday in Tennessee. A college football game featuring Virginia Tech and Tennessee will take place at the Bristol Motor Speedway — normally home to one of NASCAR’s most exciting short track racing events. NASCAR officials will be replaced by a crew of college football officials and sports fans drawn from both colleges will descend upon the half mile track. The Battle at Bristol has been in the planning stages for several years and will offer a unique opportunity to see what should be a good match up between these two teams. In fact, the football configuration of the venue is set to handle about 150,000 fans thus potentially breaking the attendance record for a college football game.


So how does a venue used for racing get transformed into a football stadium? Very carefully and with intent.    Thanks to, Construction Cam you can see the transformation.  And this relates to NFPA how?  It is a good reminder about the Life Safety Evaluation (LSE) that is required byNFPA 101® Life Safety Code® for many types of assembly occupancies.  While the vast majority of college sporting events are played in purpose built stadiums and arenas, taking the competition to an alternative site generates a unique backdrop-something appears where it is not expected. What doesn’t change, however, is that all of the setting bring along a crowd of fans, followers and cohorts and each venue falls under the code rules for an assembly occupancy.  Many of the NFPA 101 provisions for assembly occupancies apply to the brick and mortar rules: allowable construction types; fire alarm and voice evacuation systems; sprinkler systems; number, size and arrangement of exits; design of stairs; and the requisite rules for guards, railings and walking surfaces that also contribute to the normal use of the building.


NFPA 101 governs much more than fire safety and this is especially true in assembly occupancies.  The LSE is defined as A written review dealing with the adequacy of life safety features relative to fire, storm, collapse, crowd behavior, and other related safety considerations.  In fact, the LSE outlines 10 major categories to be considered. These include: Nature of the events and the participants and attendees; Access and egress movement, including crowd density problems; Medical emergencies;  Fire hazards; Permanent and temporary structural systems; Severe weather conditions; Earthquakes; Civil or other disturbances; Hazardous materials incidents within and near the facility; Relationships among facility management, event participants, emergency response agencies, and others having a role in the events accommodated in the facility.


The LSE is a bridging tool that brings together venue operators, code based rules, emergency planning and first responders to make sure everyone has a fun-but more importantly safe time. While the LSE can influence the necessary safety outcomes, it can’t influence the final score. That is up to the actual safeties on the two teams.

Learn more about the LSE in an application during the remodel of a historic theater in New Orleans. EXIT STRATEGY