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New Canaan Letter: Be Mindful Of All Fire Exits To Stay Safe

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — The following letter is from New Canaan Fire Marshal Fred Baker.

To the editor: 

I was horrified to hear and read about the tragic fire in Brazil that killed so many promising young students. 

Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the incident sound all too familiar — almost identical to The Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island 10 years ago, and, if you go back even further, the Coconut Grove fire in Boston. 

Human behavior experts have studied these events — and there have been plenty, unfortunately — to help with development of life safety codes, and have found some interesting behaviors.

People will, with few exceptions, try to exit a building the same way they entered, even if they are closer to a secondary exit. It is vital that you take a couple of seconds to note all of the exits from the building or space you are in — stores, theaters restaurants, places of worship, etc. 

In The Station fire, two other exits were available, but only a couple of people took advantage of the exit through the bar. Another exit, near the stage where the fire started, became unusable very quickly.

The lesson here is that it is critical to take responsibility for our own safety and be cognizant of our surroundings. Take those precious few seconds to locate all of the ways out.

For questions regarding this or any other fire safety matter, contact the New Canaan Fire Marshal’s office at 203-594-3030.

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