State Fire Marshal Approval, COVID-19 Standards Required for Haunted Houses

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BATON ROUGE – The State Fire Marshal has officially approved the required standards for haunted houses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the state’s COVID-19 pandemic emergency is restricting many of the “normal” holiday activies.

According to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ latest proclamation for COVID-19 mitigation, businesses, religious organizations, and indoor amusements like haunted houses are to remain closed.

However, the proclamation does allow for indoor amusements to submit a proposal to be given special permission to open.

Haunted house operators can access details on how to submit these requests, as well as what type of considerations should be included in the proposals, on this website here in the document for “Other Amusements.”

In addition, the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) would like to remind operators about the regular life safety and fire safety requirements the deputies will be looking for when inspecting attractions for approved occupancy, if allowed to open.

For temporary “special amusement structures” and/or “Ghost Walks” (i.e. not operational for more than 30 days):

•             A sketch of the facility, along with documentation and materials, emergency plans and equipment must be submitted to the SFM for review and approval prior to the use of the building or space as a temporary “Special Amusement” activity

•             Interior finishes and decorations/props shall be flame-resistant

•             If the building operates in a reduced lighting environment, the building should contain an approved automatic smoke detection system that (a) will sound an alarm louder than the greatest ambient noise level (b) will sound at a constantly manned location where the attendant will be capable of turning on additional lighting for emergency evacuation

•             Occupant load constantly controlled to no more than 25 occupants at any given time

•             Fire department presence during all periods of activity OR ABC-type fire extinguishers in each room with a person trained in their proper use AND a garden hose connected to adequate water supply long enough to reach into every area of the structure

•             Exit and directional signage

•             Artificial smoke is prohibited; dry ice is acceptable

•             Accessible parking and an accessible route to the entrance of the attraction is required and should include stable, firm and slip-resistant walking surfaces.

The State Fire Marshal says for permanent “haunted house” or “special amusement” structures, projects must be submitted for a full plan review prior to construction.

You can visit lasfm.org for plan submission instructions and requirements.

If you’re planning to patron a haunted house attraction, the State Fire Marshal encourages you to develop an emergency meeting location with the group you are attending with and/or instruct children to locate uniformed personnel in the event they find themselves lost and without an emergency meeting location.

The SFM also highly encourages reporting any concerning conditions at special amusement structures to 1-800-256-5452 or filing a complaint through their website.

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