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The Use of Portable Fire Extinguishers in Nightclubs: Workshop Summary



William L. Grosshandler


The NIST technical investigation into The Station nightclub fire specifically recommended that a study be performed to determine the minimum number and appropriate placement (based upon the time required for access and application in a fully occupied building) of portable fire extinguishers for use in new and existing nightclubs, and the level of staff training required to ensure their proper use. NIST held a workshop in Gaithersburg on January 17, 2007, which was attended by representatives from the fire protection equipment industry, codes and standards developing organizations, building owners and managers, fire testing and equipment certifying laboratories, the fire services, and the federal government. The participants discussed the following topics: whether or not reliable data exist on the effectiveness of portable fire extinguishers; the level of portable fire extinguisher training that is needed and available; the size of fire that is reasonable to expect a portable fire extinguisher to handle; the appropriate spacing of fire extinguishers for nightclubs and other places of assembly; and the role that new technology might play in increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of portable fire extinguishersActions are proposed in this summary for the NFPA and ICC, for NIST and UL, for the fire protection equipment industry, for the fire service, and for the end users to help provide answers to the above five questions.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7419
Report Number


fire extinguishers, fire investigations, fire protection, nightclub fires


Grosshandler, W. (2007), The Use of Portable Fire Extinguishers in Nightclubs: Workshop Summary, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 19, 2024)
Created April 1, 2007, Updated July 31, 2009