TOP 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT EMERGENCY EXITS
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The most important thing in an emergency is the ability to evacuate a haunted house thoroughly and efficiently. People volunteer to get disoriented in haunted houses because they trust that the people running the attraction will keep them safe and get them out if there is an emergency. Consequently, it is very important to take their trust seriously.
Here are five tips to consider regarding emergency exits.
5. All exits must be unlocked at all times. It is important to be sure that the exits are free and unobstructed by materials, equipment, locked doors, or dead-end corridors. This is especially important in a maze. The actual exit must not be obstructed. Exit routes must have ceilings at least 7 ft., 6 in. high. An exit access must be at least 28 inches wide at all points. Make sure that props and/or scenes that project into the exit do not reduce its width.
4. Every haunt needs to have multiple exits as far away from each other as possible to give a variety of ways to escape. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has many rules about exits within building. The following are some of the rules that should be considered when building a haunted house. All exits to the outside must be protected by a self-closing, approved fire door that remains closed or automatically closes in an emergency. Exit discharge areas must be large enough to accommodate people likely to use the exit route. Exit route doors must unlock from the inside. They must be free of devices or alarms that could restrict use of the exit route if the device or alarm fails. Exit routes can be connected to rooms only by side-hinged doors, which must swing out in the direction of travel if the room may be occupied by more than 50 people. Hi Tech Haunts recommends that all haunt owners look through the emergency recommendations provided by OSHA.
3. Install egress lights in every scene. Egress lights are two white lights that are mounted on one box. They have batteries but are plugged into the system and remain off as long as the power is on. If the power is cut, the batteries operate the lights and turn them on to provide light so that people can find their way out. Egress lights should have a test button and should be tested on a regular basis to insure they are working properly.
2. Make sure that every exit is clearly marked with exit signs. Exit signs that light up should be placed at every exit to the outside of the building. These signs are hard wired but also have a battery back up in case the power fails. Like egress lights, they should have a test button and be tested on a regular basis. Additional exit signs with arrows toward the main exits should be placed throughout the haunt. It is also a good idea to place exit signs with arrows at ground level in the event people have to crawl out of the haunt during a fire. Be sure to put a sign on any dead ends or false doors that say, “not an exit” to avoid confusion in an emergency.
1.Everyone working the haunted house, including the actors and the crew, need to know where all of the exits are. They need to know where to go if their first choice of an exit is blocked. They also need to know where each exit leads to be able to choose the best exit with each situation. The staff of the haunted house should each be given a copy of the safety plan. Fire drills should be practiced with one member of the staff choosing to be the “fire.” This trains the staff to practice exiting the building depending upon where the fire is located.
Joining Hi Tech Haunts’ Safety Blueprint Program Community is a way to start building a safety plan. Hi Tech Haunts provides check lists and downloads that can be printed and circulated among staff as well as kept on site at a haunt.
Every haunt, home and/or commercial, should have a Fire Safety Plan on site and all crew/staff/volunteers should be trained and familiar with the safety plan. To join our professional community, click here or text HITECHHAUNTS to 44222. You can begin building your plan by receiving safety downloads, check lists, tips, discounts and freebies! Although Hi Tech Haunts is not responsible for the safety of your attraction, we can provide materials to make it easier for you to create a safety plan.
Stay tuned for the Safety Blueprint Program, a webinar series that covers the ins and outs of inspections and safety. Please contact us with questions and/or suggestions. Hi Tech Haunts is passionate about creating programs to support you, your work and your guests.
While Hi Tech Haunts is passionate about safety, we also like to have fun. Enjoy the video as Bones from MOTEL 6 Feet Under’s Haunted House is let loose in the shop. Yikes.