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Is there anything I can do to prevent an evacuation due to a small fire at my venue?

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[dropcaps style=”fancy”]Q:[/dropcaps]Dear Ben, My fiance and I attended his company’s holiday party last night. Everything was going great until about half way through the party when a small fire on the roof of the building ended the night prematurely. We never even had dessert! Everyone had to evacuate the building (not a lot of fun considering we were over twenty stories high) and everyone left before we were allowed back in.

All that I could envision as we were standing outside freezing was something like this happening at our wedding. I know that there is nothing that can be done to prevent a fire from happening, but is there anything that could be done to prevent everyone from leaving? With all of the money we (and our parents) are spending on the wedding, it would be tragic for it to be wasted. Any advice?



[dropcaps style=”fancy”]A:[/dropcaps]Hi Stacey! I can only imagine the frustration you must be feeling. You put so much time and effort into something (not to mention the money), it is a shame to see it ruined by something completely out of your control. I can tell you that as someone who personally performs at over 125 per year (and has been doing so for longer than I would care to mention!), this is something that virtually never happens. It is unfortunate that you happened to have been there for the one time that it did. Truly, in all of the thousands of events at which I have performed, only once have I ever had to evacuate the building due to a fire. Fortunately in that case, it was just before the party was set to begin (most of the guests were not even there yet). We did have to wait outside for the better part of an hour before the fire commissioner would let us back in, but all that was lost was about half of the cocktail hour. As terrible as that is, it certainly could have been a lot worse.

As far as preventing the guests from leaving should disaster occur, I am not sure if there is anything that you can do. Short of asking them to stay, I think people are going to naturally go (especially if it is cold outside or if the fire is really bad). Depending upon the severity of the fire, you may not have much of a choice anyway. If this is something that you are truly concerned about, I believe that there are companies who offer to insure the event (similar to trip cancellation insurance). I hope this helps! I know that you’re going to have a beautiful night, though, and everything will proceed flawlessly.

Best regards,