When it comes to commercial haunted house attractions, owners and operators want to provide plenty of healthy scares for their customers. But they also have a far more important mission: visitor safety.
From fire safety issues to vandalism and even assault, haunted house operators face security concerns of all kinds. Maryland Security Professionals takes a look at the potential risks and security solutions for proprietors this Halloween.
Controlled chaos is the secret to any successful haunted attraction.
The most cautious operators may opt to place security cameras in every room. Uniformed and costumed security guards on the grounds provide an added layer of security to ensure that everyone is enjoying themselves and acting appropriately. Any performers should be thoroughly vetted and trained for dealing with the public in this type of setting.
“There are a lot of haunts that will just take any actor if they’re short for the night,” Mike Fitzpatrick, owner of Chicago’s Evil Intentions, told the Beacon-News. “We don’t just take chances on anybody.”
His crew begins training months before opening night and the education sessions continue until the season is over. He also credits the safety of his operation to the fact that many of his staff members return year after year. Fitzpatrick says that in addition to staying on top of training, he remains active and visible throughout the night to address any issues that may come up as guests numbering in the thousands visit the premises.
“As owner, I walk around constantly all night,” Fitzpatrick said. “If anyone — guest or actor — is doing anything wrong, they’re pulled right away”.
State Safety Inspection Crews
Crews are also hard at work making sure the only scare you get at haunted houses are from the characters and environment, and not from hidden hazards. Across the country, state safety inspectors are making the rounds at haunted houses.
“We’re going to be looking for basic things like slip, trip, and fall hazards. We’re going to be looking up and making sure that the wiring and materials are good and that there are exit signs every 50 feet and fire extinguishers every 75 feet,” Michele Knoy, a code enforcement agent in Indiana, told WTHR.
Commercial haunted house attractions are generally inspected at least once every year. “There are a lot of things we check and go through – every corridor and every part of the building, not just the exhibits but every part,” Knoy said.
One key priority of code inspectors is fire safety, ensuring that surfaces are flame retardant. If everything passes, commercial haunted houses receive an official certificate.
Security Cameras for Commercial Haunted Houses
Call Maryland Security Professionals for more information about available security options for your commercial haunted house and other attractions this Halloween season. Free security audits are available to operators throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!
- Chicago Tribune, “Haunted House Safety,” http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-haunted-house-safety-st-1018-20151017-story.html
- WTHR.com, IN Homeland Security inspecting local haunted houses, https://www.wthr.com/article/homeland-security-inspecting-local-haunted-houses