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What can we learn from the fire in Brazil?

  • Brazil nightclub fire killed 231 people Sunday
  • How can you stay safe when you go out?
What can we learn from the fire in Brazil?

When Mariana Bona and Mariana Comassetto got ready for a night on the town together last weekend, they probably didn't think that it would be their last. But a fire in a crowded Brazil nightclub Sunday claimed both of their lives, along with hundreds of others. 

Naturally, a tragedy like this (and sadly, there have been other fires similar to this one) leaves people wondering how it could have been prevented. One problem was that the nightclub, called Kiss, was packed with double the number of people the space was able to legally hold, and many people were killed trying to escape. Following a few safety tips, like the ones below, may help keep you safe if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

  • Don't go out the same way you came in: In an emergency, most people may recall the entrance of the building and run for it. After all, you already know where that is. But in your rush to escape, you may pass up several emergency exits closer to your location. The Occupational Safety and Health administration has some great facts on exit routes, and taking a moment to familiarize yourself with these exits could make a major impact if something goes wrong. If you don't spot them offhand, ask a security guard to point them out.
  • Be aware of overcrowding: The nightclub Kiss could legally hold 1,000 people, but close to 2,000 were inside when the fire started. If a nightclub or concert hall seems overly crowded to you, it may be worthwhile to consider whether you want to stay. A venue's capacity is also commonly posted in a public place or online, so you can check it out in advance. If you feel uncomfortable, it's time to go elsewhere.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption: This seems like a no-brainer, but it's easy enough to forget while you're having fun: You function better without alcohol in your system. Alcohol consumption causes impaired cognitive function, poor judgment and lack of muscle coordination, according to the International Center for Alcohol Policies. These are not the best qualities to have in a life or death situation, so if you want to drink, limit the amount so you can still be functional in case something happens.

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