East Texas Fire Marshals Want to Keep Clubs Safe - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/21/03 - Tyler

East Texas Fire Marshals Want to Keep Clubs Safe

Now more than ever, East Texas fire inspectors want to make sure any club you step into, you'll be able to walk out of safely. No club owner ever knows when an emergency will present itself, so staying within the fire code is crucial.

At six Friday night East Texans hadn't crowded into Tyler's Electric Cowboy, yet! But, that's one of the best times for a fire marshal to take an in-depth look at a club.

"These happen too frequently across the world," says Tyler Fire Marshal Max Nash. "We want to make sure it never happens here."

Max Nash, a Tyler Fire Marshal arrives to inspections unannounced. He usually heads straight for the exits like you would in an emergency.

"Nothing out here blocking the path," says Nash. "That looks good!"

The fire marshal makes sure all the exits are well lit, not locked and clear for an escape. But, you can also help yourself.

"Many times people only know the door they came in." says Nash. "People need to know where all of the exits are."

Especially, if the club you're in is crowded.

"We do bring our counters and come out here and check and be sure they are not overcrowding because that is part of the safety issue," says Nash.

The maximum occupancy level must be posted. Nash points out at the Electric Cowboy, "This one here has 575 persons."

The fire marshal says if any crowd in any club looks dangerously large. Report it. They'll follow up. It's also a club's responsibility to make sure the lay-out is conducive to an emergency exit situation.

"They are to be sure that the walkways are clear so you can get to the exits without tripping over something," says Nash.

And you shouldn't necessarily worry if you don't see sprinklers. Only very large clubs are required to have them. But should a fire alarm sound, take it seriously, time is precious when you are trying to calmly leave a building.

The Electric Cowboy is now educating their key employees on getting customers out of the closest exit safely should an emergency present itself.

Dana Dixon reporting.

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