Who or What is a Crowd Manager?
A crowd manager can be a manager, supervisor or other employee of a venue such a bar, theater, nightclub, school, arena, or anyone hosting large crowds.
The duties of crowd managers include conducting an inspection of their area of responsibility to identify and address any obstructions or barriers to exits and to direct and assist event attendees in evacuation during an emergency.
It's important to understand that the fire code requirement for crowd managers doesn't mean that business owners have to hire more people, rather, the idea is that existing employees be trained in crowd management.
Why Are Crowd Managers Required?
Tragic events have shown us fire isn't the only thing that can cause a rush to the emergency exits. It is important that employees are trained appropriately to manage crowds in an emergency. In most cases having properly trained staff can save lives.
Since the crowd crush at the E2 Night Club took 21 lives in Chicago (February 17, 2003) and the inferno at The Station nightclub (February 20, 2003) that claimed 100 lives in the fourth-deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, changes have been made to the codes and standards governing safety in assembly occupancies.
These terrible incidents sparked awareness about the fire code issues in nightclubs and other places of assembly. Those issues surround crowd management - controlling groups of people at clubs, conventions, and other gatherings, and making sure that facilities are equipped to handle such crowds so that the occupants can get out alive.
The 2015 International Fire Code as adopted by New York State, requires any establishment, venue, or event hosting 1,000 people or more have at least one person properly trained in managing the crowd.
403.12.3 Crowd managers for gatherings exceeding 1,000 people. Where facilities or events involve a gathering of more than 1,000 people, crowd managers shall be provided in accordance with Sections 403.12.3.1 through 403.12.3.3.
403.12.3.1 Number of crowd managers. The minimum number of crowd managers shall be established at a ratio of one crowd manager for every 250 persons. Exception: Where approved by the fire code official, the number of crowd managers shall be permitted to be reduced where the facility is equipped throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system or based upon the nature of the event.
403.12.3.2 Training. Training for crowd managers shall be approved.
403.12.3.3 Duties. The duties of crowd managers shall include, but not be limited to:
- Conduct an inspection of the area of responsibility and identify and address any egress barriers.
- Conduct an inspection of the area of responsibility to identify and mitigate any fire hazards.
- Verify compliance with all permit conditions, including those governing pyrotechnics and other special effects.
- Direct and assist the event attendees in evacuation during an emergency.
- Assist emergency response personnel where requested.
- Other duties required by the fire code official.
- Other duties as specified in the fire safety plan.
The Office of Fire Prevention and Controls supports the efforts of the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) to provide a self-paced, on-line learning program to those individuals who are employed at a business or venue that meet the new threshold requiring crowd managers. This web-based interactive program, developed using industry standards, subject matter experts and coordinated by a committee of five state fire marshals, has been designed to give those persons designated as crowd managers the information necessary to provide occupant safety wherever people gather.
If you have questions regarding crowd manager training, contact the Office of Fire Prevention and Control at 518-474-6746.