We built and charged last year, but we didn't get a firemarshall to come and check us out. Did we just get away with it, or did we not need to? Also what should I do before calling a firemarshall out?
How long were you open (one day or many)? Did you do a lot of advertising? Were you in a very visible location? All of these could have been factors in not getting noticed. Were you affiliated with a non-profit? That could play a part as well, since many government agencies will let non-profits slide on some of the things they will nail a real business on. For this year, try to find out as much as you can before making contact. The easy way would be if another haunt owner in your state, and even better if they are in the same county and/or city, gives you the heads-up on what specific things the fire department will be looking for.
we were open two days, we did a good deal of advertising, we charged 1.50 we were in a sub hidden by the woods
No fire marshall really? You are lucky I run a free home haunt and they come by every year.
But do you contact them or do they just show up?
I did not call them. Complaints about my structure made them come out.( most of the complaints where lies. just people talking crap about something they know nothing about) But if the city gets the complaint they have to inspect I guess.
We had the fire dept. come out during the build last year, we called them....had too my borther got bite by something, still not sure what it was. They pulled up and said "We were going to come out and take a look but we were going to wait untill you opened."lol. Being in a rual area, I think they are a little more lax, Happy that there is something to do. This year we are charging to get in so we will be calling them to see what they are wanting to do.
they generally show up to do a safety inspection anywhere from a few days to a couple of months after you open the doors of a new business. With careful timing of the purchase of your business license you can actually get through the season without an inspection. But then I'm in a sparecly populated rural area.
Depending on your city, a temporary structure might not need a fire marshall approval. You should go speak with your city planning department.
When I first thought about going to the city I was instilled with the fear that our haunt would be shut down. Though, our city planning department was very helpful. They explained that in our city (Lakewood, CA), fire marshall approval is not needed for temp. structures. Although there are still building codes regarding the attraction.
The following restrictions carry from county to county in most cases:
- Rear walls (your structure usually has to be at least 5 feet away from any back fencing)
- Side walls and You House (the structure usually also has to be 3 feet away from any side walls or the primary structure of your residence.)
- Connection to other permanent structures (You usually cannot have your temporary structure connceted in any way, excluding power/sound wires, to any other permanent structures on your property.)
Some cities/counties require emergency lighting and emergency exit signs. These lights usually have to run off an alternative power source.
It might seem like a lot, but, most city officials will be supportive. but when people say that the city is easier on charity or not for profit haunts, they are telling the truth. In most of LA County you must go through your cities Finance Dept to obtain a business permit if you are looking to charge.
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