Tips on How to Determine If Your Party Venue is Legal

December 28, 2016

New York City is a hub for unique and fun gatherings for the public.  While most locations have gone through the proper inspections and are properly equipped during an emergency, there are many venues with large public gatherings that could be illegitimate.

The FDNY is out in full force to ensure party venues and locations of large gatherings are safe for the public.   The Department has highly skilled Fire Inspectors out in the field to survey suspected and known locations.

“FDNY Fire Inspectors and Firefighters work closely with law enforcement and multiple city agencies to identify suspected locations and venues that may not be properly inspected and equipped, or operating in an unsafe manner,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro.  “Our members work diligently to inspect every public assembly location and investigate all complaints we receive, but we also want to educate the public as well with fire prevention information that could very well save their life.”

The following are some tips that could indicate a location is not legitimate.  

Before you even attend an event, be wary of unspecified locations.

“Many people think that just because you buy tickets on the web for an event or a party that it is legitimate,” said FDNY Battalion Chief in Charge of Public Safety Jeffrey Facinelli. “But many times a location will be TBA or To Be Announced .  Or you have to  send a text to a specific number to receive the exact address.  That is a dead giveaway the place of public assembly is very likely not legal.”

“If it is a legitimate business there should be a sign outside or an advertisement indicating the name of the venue, “said Deputy Chief Inspector of the Licensed Place of Public Assembly Unit  Bart Aclin. “ If it is an unnamed warehouse for example in an industrial neighborhood, that’s a good indication it is not a legal location. “

Once inside a venue, it is important to be vigilant.  Know what safety features to look for, like emergency exits, and when to leave.  It is important that the venue is not overcrowded.  This condition is considered to be very dangerous. 

“Be aware of your surroundings,” said Facinelli.  “It could get more uncomfortable as the night goes on.  It is common that if you are shoulder to shoulder and you are not able to move, it is overcrowded.”

Some other things to look for include the presence of lighted exit signs, working fire alarms and sprinklers.  The exits should not be chained or obstructed in any way.

“If at a leveled party with many floors, make sure you can see the exit signs at all times,” said Aclin.  “It is important to always have a visual of that lighted exit sign.”

The presence of an open flame can also be a danger.  Any open flame must have a permit.  Acting Chief Inspector of the Explosive Unit Joseph Meyers says a great deal of danger can occur in situations where an open flame is used for what seems to be harmless entertainment.  This includes flammable drinks or the use of an illegal sparkler.  The results can be devastating if anything catches on fire.
“Everything that is done with an open flame has to have a permit from the FDNY.  From candles on the table, to pyrotechnics at a special event,” said Meyers.  “If pyrotechnics are being advertised, you should ask if the venue has a permit. “

The FDNY urges anyone who may think a venue is unsafe to leave immediately and call 311. 

To see more FDNY Safety Tips in Places of Public Assembly, click here