PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - On any given night, The Colosseum in Providence is hopping with a crowd in the hundreds. But on one Saturday afternoon, the light were up, the music off and the tone solemn.
Trainer Fraser Ohlgren was at the club, teaching bouncers an invaluable lesson about sensing panic and, more importantly, about how to get people out safely during an emergency situation.
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Since 1999, Providence has required club bouncers to be licensed; mainly trained to deal with intoxicated patrons and how to break up fights. However, in the wake of the 2003 Station nightclub fire, part of the training now includes panic control.
"When we look at the lessons learned, the staff's ability to manage a crowd that is presented with something like a fire, becomes a life or death answer," Ohlgren said.
Nightclub owners in Providence said training their bouncers is critical, and in an emergency, there's no room for error.
"We have to teach them, remember, in an emergency, all bets are off, every exit is open, everyone is brought towards there and the only way you can do this is by having your staff trained," said Colosseum owner Anthony Santurri.
After the four hour training course is over, bouncers are handed certificates and hopefully handed an invaluable lesson in survival.
"I knew quite a few people where wee in The Station fire, so I take it serious. I take the safety serious," said bouncer Rick LaManna.
As of this writing, Providence was the only city in Rhode Island requiring bouncers to be licensed.
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