Monday, 28 January 2013

A Deadly Fire Razes a Club in Santa Maria, Brazil & Kills Over 200 People:


The CNN reported that a fire razed a club in Santa Maria, Brazil, in the early hours of 27th January, 2013, killing hundreds of people.

This incident calls to question some safety measures in place in most public places. In this instance, a place that is parked with over 2,000 people  cannot be a club, properly so called. That kind of crowd is fit for an outdoor event, not a closed space.  What kind of exits exist in such a crowded enclosure? I dare say they were not adequate. Do the doors open out, or in(as in many places I have been to )? Why would the guards initially prevent people from escaping from the inferno? It might be because there were either no fire alarms, or they were not audible enough to have been heard by the guards at the gates. Pyrotechnics in such a place, with all that crowd? This beats me. 

Safety Measures for such a place: 

1. For a space that is built to accommodate as many as 1,000 people at a time, there should be numerous Fire/Emergency exits.
2. Emergency Exits should be clearly marked or identified as such using either lettering and/or the traditional picture of a running man.
3. Emergency Lights must be installed and should be functional at all times to direct people to the exits should power supply fail.
4. At the start of the event( and occasionally during the show), the attention of the audience must be drawn to the positions of the emergency exits.
5. Emergency doors should be integrated with the fire alarm systems to fail safe( open on their own) once the alarm goes off.
6. The doors should open outwards, and not inwards. If they open inwards, the surge of the crowd will push against it and jam it close.
7. It goes without saying that the exits should not be blocked by any objects as is often the case, especially if there has been no recorded fire incidents in recent times. The emergency exits should never be locked as a Security measure.
8. Regular fire drills are necessary to keep the people aware that fires could occur, get them to know what to do when they occur, and test the fidelity and integrity of installed fire detection and suppression systems.
9. For a place that holds such a large number of people at a time, it will be good practice to have the fire alarms enunciate both locally, and at the nearest Fire Station for quick response.
10. Where (9)above is not possible, it is good practice to have a fire engine and an ambulance with paramedics standing by for the duration of the event.
11. As kids, we were thought not to play with fire. As adults, we do this regularly, calling it pyrotechnics. When we so decide to tempt the devil, we should at least remove inflammable materials like fabric that could easily catch fire.
12. If caught up in such a situation as the Santa Maria club inferno, look for the nearest exit, 'bearing in mind that the nearest exit could be behind you', as they say in aircraft safety talk. Ideally, you should have identified the exits before settling down.
13. On the ground and first floors, the nearest emergency 'exit' could be a window without burglar bars. Smash it and leave through it. Avoid the herd mentality that makes people all head for the door they came in through in such an emergency.
14. If the smoke is too thick, use the wall to guide you to the exit. 
15. The smoke might be lighter near the floor, but do not attempt to crawl as you might be trampled upon. 
16. A wet handkerchief held over the mouth and nose might filter out some of the smoke and prevent, or at least delay, the risk of asphyxiation which was a major cause of death in this tragic incident.
17. Once safely outside, go as far as possible from the crowd and the fire to catch your breath. Gathering at the Muster Points are not useful now since no one would take a roll call, and the possibility re-entry is very remote.

We sympathies with the government and people of Brazil, especially those who lost loved ones in this inferno. But like all such Security and Safety incidents, it should offer an opportunity to reassess the Safety(and Security) measures in place at this pace and other such public places. There might, for instance, be need to put a ceiling on how many people a club can take in at any given time. As we said at the beginning of this piece,  a place that holds as many as 2.000 people cannot be a club, properly so called.
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Ostar Christopher, CPP, CFE, CAS, PFSO, CSO, SSO, FNIIS, FIIPS. BA, MA, MSc
Chief Executive Officer
+234 809 944  3271
+234 802 222   1738 


Copyright 2013

Monday, 14 January 2013


Ostar Christopher Earns CFE Credential

Austin, TX – October 19, 2012— The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and leading provider of anti-fraud training and education, is pleased to award Ostar Christopher, of Lagos, Nigeria, the globally preferred Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential. In order to become a CFE, Christopher has met a stringent set of criteria and passed a rigorous exam administered by the ACFE.

Christopher has successfully met the ACFE’s character, experience and education requirements for the CFE credential, and has demonstrated knowledge in four areas critical to the fight against fraud: Fraudulent Financial Transactions, Fraud Prevention and Deterrence, Legal Elements of Fraud and Fraud Investigation.

Christopher joins the ranks of business and government professionals worldwide who have also earned the CFE certification. Christopher is currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Darforp Security Limited in Lagos, Nigeria.

CFEs have the ability to: examine data and records to detect and trace fraudulent transactions; interview suspects to obtain information and confessions; write investigation reports; advise clients as to their findings; testify at trial; understand the law as it relates to fraud and fraud investigations; and identify the underlying factors that motivate individuals to commit fraud. CFEs on six continents have investigated more than 1 million suspected cases of civil and criminal fraud. 

About the ACFE
The ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education. Together with nearly 55,000 members, the ACFE is reducing business fraud world-wide and inspiring public confidence in the integrity and objectivity within the profession. Identified as “the premier financial sleuthing organization” by The Wall Street Journal, the ACFE has captured national and international media attention. For more information about the ACFE visit


Wednesday, 9 January 2013


In order to find some security, people are increasingly avoiding stand alone accommodations and moving into gated estates.  This has obvious security advantages. First, the gates offer opportunity for proper access control. Second,  the chances of a particular house being chosen for an attack are small (security  in number). And third, Neighborhood  Response (intervention) is easy to raise in the event of an attack.

Whether the estate is large or small,  best practice  security is to deploy multi-layered, integrated security solutions to give residents the peace of mind to sleep with both eyes closed. The following are a number of mutually reinforcing security solutions to consider in the protection of residential estates:

Perimeter fence: minimum of 7ft and topped with concertina wire or good spikes. The would-be intruder should at least do some work before gaining access.

Keep away ladders, blocks, and other objects that could aid an intruder in scaling the walls.

Proper lighting on both the inner and outer sides of the walls  removes dark spots where criminals could hide.

Infra-red intrusion alarms  that enunciate in a Control Room when an attempt is made to breach the perimeter security in any way.

Access Control - manual, and electronic where possible.

Trained man guards to ensure the human interface with electronic security

CCTV surveillance cameras intelligently deployed, will cover security blind spots and gaps when human intervention fails for whatever reason.

Central Monitoring Station: remote monitoring of alarms and CCTV cameras is done from here 24/7.

Armed Response Team: Except there is an intervention team to respond to distress calls and alarm situations, all the monies spent on electronic security is as good as wasted.

Manual/Virtual Patrols:  Every system is as good as the men that man it. The best electronic security system that has no one to monitor it ( say, from a Control Room) is useless. In the same vein, a system that is supported  by poorly-motivated, untrained man guards is not going to give the expected results. A good camera might capture a thief attempting to breach security, but it cannot stop or arrest him. Some interventionist force ( e.g, a human being or a guard dog) has to do this.

Again, the above is meant to be a guide. Obviously, funds are going to be a major determinant of what is deployed. Good professional advice is able to determine the optimum mix of the human and electronic elements of the desired deployment.

DSL Management has been in the business of deploying and managing these solutions for over 23 years.

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Here is wishing us all a crime- free 2013.

Ostar Christopher, CPP, CFE, CAS, PFSO, CSO, SSO, FNIIS, FIIPS. BA, MA, MSc
Chief Executive Officer
+234 809 944  3271
+234 802 222   1738 


Copyright 2013