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Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Friday, July 20, 2012

(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office


Des Moines, IOWA --- The recent shootings at a Colorado movie theatre serve as a reminder of the importance of having trained crowd managers at large venues during fires or other emergencies.  The Iowa State Fire Marshal joins the International Code Council (ICC) and the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) to endorse the crowd manager training program now available at www.firemarshals.org

The fire code adopted by this state requires any establishment, venue, or event hosting 1,000 people or more have at least one person properly trained in managing the crowd.   "Recent events have shown us fire isn't the only thing that can cause a rush to the emergency exits," says State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds.  "It’s important employees are trained appropriately to manage crowds in an emergency.  In most cases having properly trained staff can save lives."

The crowd manager training available through the NASFM web site is the first training program developed for bar managers, school officials, arena employees, or anyone hosting large crowds.  The on-line crowd manager training covers such areas as:

  • Pre-event inspections to determine location and problems with exits.
  • Use of portable fire extinguishers
  • Directing a crowd in an emergency
  • Learn when to evacuate, conduct a partial evacuation or defend in place
  • React to deteriorating weather
  • Identify problem patrons and what to do with them
  • Coordinating a response with emergency responders.

Reynolds adds, "In 2003, our nation lost 100 people in the Station Night Club fire because employees failed to take action when a small fire grew rapidly.  People underestimated the danger or even how much time they had to direct the crowd.  Crowd managers could have directed people to those exits."  Iowa is not immune from such disasters.

Anyone can take the training and be more informed on how to handle an emergency involving a crowd.  If you have questions regarding crowd manager training, contact the Iowa State Fire Marshal Division at 515-725-6145.



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