Yesterday morning while on a live radio show, I was asked for my reaction to the tragic loss of life in Oakland this past weekend. I have spent my career advocating for fire safety. We start with children at an early age in order to impress upon them the importance of knowing what to do in case of a fire. My hope is that as children reach adulthood they will continue to practice good common fire safety sense. WE SHOULD ALL look for a second way out of any building we enter. WE SHOULD ALL demand that occupies being used for public assembly be equipped with proper exiting, emergency lighting, fire alarms and hopefully automatic fire sprinklers. The work fire service educators do on a daily basis is not where the education needs to end. It's the beginning and it's up to all of us to continue the conversations at home, school and at work. Where will we go if there is a fire? Where are the exits? Can we get out?
Fire inspectors get a bad reputation in large part because of building owners who want to cut corners and adjust their version of the fire and life safety code to meet their needs. I have been there and have had to defend my stance in support of adopted fire codes which are there to protect us all.
There is absolutely no excuse in the United States that any warehouse, or other commercial occupancy be able to be illegally opened up for an assembly use without proper life safety standards enforced. As parents we need to DEMAND that we know WHERE our children are headed for any type of RAVE party or concert. If we cannot be assured that the building is safe, then the answer is NO!