View Full Version : Fire Codes/Outside Haunt

08-30-2007, 09:57 AM
Hello, I have a house and have always had one every year. The Fire Marshal decided he wanted to do an inspection this year.. Well, to make a LONG story very short because I really don’t have time to talk about it being that haunt season is less than a month away... Okay, he shut us down for not having Sprinkler Systems... I KNOW, I KNOW, all of you know what I am talking about and some of you have known this for a long time.. Well, we did too, but have been doing it for 8 years with NO SPRINKLERS... Needless to say >> My haunt is up and ready for the 2007 season, however we cannot open the doors…… Below is my question for all of you!

IF I decided to do an OUTDOOR HAUNT, or like a maze or something strictly on the outside, would I have to comply with all fire codes? Sprinklers, extinguis, flammable props, etc>>>?? Please Please, ANYONE!!!!!!!!! I need help with this! ….. In your previous experience, would you say that there are a lot of laws if any to follow when doing something outdoors like this? We have 4 weeks till opening night and I am desperate! … Thanks to all now feed me with a response.

Matt Marich
08-30-2007, 10:13 AM
That will depend on your relationship with your FM. Start by asking ahead, some haunts make it out doors by connecting sveral 1,000 sq. ft. tents together with outdoor paths. This is within code but if you have a hard ass FM they may not grant this. Tents smaller than 1,000 sq. ft. don't need Sprinklers per code, it just depends if they want to treat it like a single structure. Put the same safety features as an indoor haunt, push out exit doors, safety lighting and an annouciator emegency system.
We did an outdoor haunt in 2001 but the FM permitted us to cover the 6,000 sq. ft. structure with FR camo net, the funny think was, by the time we finished we had almost built another tent! I think the code asks for 70% open to 30% closed. There are fabrics that meet this code, Textilene is 70% open and is Inhertantly Flame Retardant. They use this to cover speaker towers at rock concerts. The idea with all this is to allow smoke to dissipate, that is the leading cause of death before the actual flames.


Howie Slobber Erlich
08-30-2007, 11:13 AM

I would like to know why you are using part of our theme song on your web site?

The beginning of the song that you have playing was written and performed by the band Amputate specifically for Deadly Intentions Haunted House. The name of the song is "Deadly Intentions (Our Only Goal Is To Scare You To Death)," which has been our name and slogan for the last 5 years.

I ask that you remove it immediately! I have contacted the band members to inform them that you are using there music without permission.

Howie "Slobber" Erlich
Deadly Intentions Haunted House

08-30-2007, 12:24 PM
As I told you in email, the song as been removed and I cannot tell you how it got there... Our web as been tampered with as well as our pictures, and information. The only thing left is to delete the entire site and start over. Thanks for posting world wide before contacting me about it.. again, it has been removed.

08-30-2007, 12:27 PM

thanks man for the good information on the outside haunt. . Anything helps at this point.

08-30-2007, 01:40 PM
The best think I can tell you is to work with your Fire Marshall. Although most municipalities are adopting national fire codes, it still varies from place to place:

You: "Hey Mr FM! You shut us down for being inside,
but what options do we have besides adding a
sprinkler system? We want to open AND have
a safe attraction."
FM: "Well, now you're talkin'! Some options include
moving outside - but rules still apply. Or, you could
hire a FireWatch crew. Or, ..."

You get the idea. Keep the dialog open, act and operate as if you really do care
about fire rules, and be willing to change and negotiate.

Bummer, tho, finding out this close to opening :-(

08-30-2007, 03:44 PM
I've been told by my fire marshal (in SC) that if it has no roof, it requires no sprinklers.

An outdoor maze (sans floor and roof) usually isn't classified as a building... it's just a weird series of fences.

There are other laws, however, that apply to ALL haunted attractions, whether in a building or not.

Check with your fire marshal and building code officials before constructing anything.

Greg Chrise
08-30-2007, 10:06 PM
Even an outdoor attraction has rules. The 1000 SF structures must be 20 feet apart minimum, there needs to be access for emergency vehicles all the way through ( such as a center corridor) even a maze with no roof must have exits every 50 linear feet and have attendats that know where to go.

Some of the best outdoor attractions I have been to had sort of mostly unrestricted path. It added to the insecurity of something could come fram any direction.

In the old days one attraction I know of would take the roof off and open up but, then officials go after things like unimproved parking being a problem or noise experienced by the community real or imagined.

One large attraction has built roofs on their haunts way up in the air so as to be an open space for the ventilation of smoke. However, this one haunt does not match them all and super low per haunt occupancy rules are observed despite the fact that this one design could be a conga line if they wanted it to be.

What is a sprinkler system anyhow? A tank of water, a pump, someone that knows what the valves are, shutting off power to props and turing on emergency/house lights. This can be accomplished by a fre truck being the tank of water and pump and sprinkler heads, proper exists and generally fire fighters on hand that the fire marshal already deals with and trusts their experience and judgement.

IF you want to use the word firewatch, many times if the fire department is in it for appropriate donations, they call the fire marshal and tell him it is under control.

I know of others that have been shut down in recent times and they just set up, perhaps with a fire company that would not have the resources to have a truck devoted to an additional emergency, the town has limited water towers to supply as it is and if a sprinkler system was installed it would have to have its own quarter million dollar water supply.

There seems to be a general conception that if you open a business the town owes you all the resouces known to man. It doesn't. People think their tax money makes all this automatic. Yeah if it is within the capacity of development scheduled over the next 20 years.

Even with the outdoor attraction having the fire company part of the program then the outdoor electric being under ground wiring and permanent ground fault outlets becomes a not quick to do and expensive deal even if run from a generator.

If you move way out in the country the customers might not go that far.

Just have all of your outdoor displays built on fast cars and hand out Xerox directions of where the event will be for a few hours tonight. Come back tomorrow for the next location. Rent the Xerox machine so the pinhead at Kinkos doesn't snich on you. The fastest car is the ticket booth. If you can't find a location one night you could always cruise your displays around the burger joint.

To pull this off cram on watching old movies like Smokey and the Bandit, Convoy and Dukes of Hazzard TV shows. Find a really hot chick to keep the cops occupied.

Off season you might win a trophy at the art car festivals.

Maybe this concept is why Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and Brittany is all we hear about, there is something going on the good old boys don't want us knowin about? Get Uncle Jesse, we got a problem...

08-31-2007, 03:22 AM
With outside haunts you do not need most of that stuff... you can even have a maze without that stuff if you don't put any sort of roof on top of it. But as for getting inspected...I do think this is needed even if its an outside haunted house.

You could have electrical problems that could cause problems, trip hazards, unsafe construction, blah, blah.

But as for codes, they're almost non-existent when everything is open air, but there still are things that can go wrong, and still things inspectors can look at and close you down over.

So be safe!


09-02-2007, 04:39 AM
Thanks to all as these are really good replys! Thanks

09-09-2007, 10:45 AM
The question is: is the FM requring sprinklers or a fire system? If he is requiring sprinklers, you can contact one of your local Landscaping Companies and work out a quick deal on getting the sprinkler system installed with a main switch to that can be triggered with a smoke detector goes off. However, if he is requiring a fire system, then you are talking about system that must be monitored by a licensed company, and usually costs between $25,000.00 and $45, 000.00 for installation based on the square footage of the Haunt, then there is the monthly $50.00 fee for monitoring it. We were able to get a landscape company to install a sprinkler system for us, $1,850.00, and it is controlled by a "main" switch. However, our haunt is only 3000 sq. ft. enclosed. So we this met the criteria for us. Usually, not always, if you have a good relationship with the fire marshal, you can get them to help you find a way to work out the problem. We were required to place fire extinquishers in each room (21 rooms), but our local Home Depot cut us a great deal on them.
Hope this helps

Greg Chrise
09-09-2007, 07:57 PM
If you have that kind of sprinkler system, you could have lots of live plants and get lots of spooky umbrella sales?