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Haunted House Design - Safety and Security
SAFETY AND SECURITY AT YOUR HAUNTED ATTRACTION
In a previous article I suggested having guests and visitors sign a waiver before entering your attraction. In the same article I also said that if you were negligent then the waiver would not hold up in court. So to help you prevent liability problems here are some suggestions for safety and security at your event.
First and foremost check out my articles at www.pendragonscastle.com/haunmasters on façade design to learn about safety for visitors from there car to the ticket line. To summarize here make sure the front of your event is lit well enough that guests can see where they are going. Remove any tripping hazards, and ensure pathways are at least 36 inches wide to accommodate wheel chairs and motorized scooters, or persons having trouble walking. Remember people will be or should be excited about coming to your event and may not be as careful about watching where they are going and what is going around.
While its great to have a monster or two scaring people in line remember those outside your event have not signed a waiver. Also those outside may be outside as they are not medically fit to go inside, or are two scared to even enter, scaring these people could cause problems and is definitely a liability.
Once inside you want your guest to enjoy there visit to your attraction and to be as safe as possible. To ensure there are no problems there are some basic safety and security issues that need to be addressed
First no monster should touch any guest at anytime, for any reason. While touching a guest is an easy scare if the guest should trip etc, or make charges of an inappropriate touch you are in big trouble and the liability would become great.
You need to try and make sure guest can not get to your monsters. The best case scenario is to have a railing or short wall between your monsters and sets and you guests. If this is not possible then instruct monsters to try and keep an arms length from all guests so that accidents do not take place.
Make sure all props are secure and safe. You can not anticipate what a guest will do when scared. In my experience many have gone thru walls, tried to go thru glass windows, and gone thru sets to escape a particular monster or scare. If everything is well secured you won’t have to worry about a guest being injured because part of the set fell on them.
Make sure walkways are wide enough for all who visit. Especially if you are allowing those that are handicapped or in a wheelchair.
Unless you warn visitors in advice and have installed handrails or other safety features make sure the floor is even. Using mattresses, foam or other materials to make the floor “ squishy “ can be a trip and fall hazard.
Make sure floors stay clear of water, props, and other items which may become a trip and fall hazard.
While we like to make our haunted house dark and ominous hallways and walkways should be lit enough that the average person can see where they are going.
Make sure all doors that visitors have to walk thru open the way visitors have to go to get out. Traffic needs to keep moving in a forward direction. Make sure all your spooks, guides and others keep traffic going in a forward direction to keep visitors from being disoriented and going in the wrong direction.
Use of strobe lights, or flashing lights of any kind can trigger seizures in some people. If you have such light in your haunted attraction make sure you post it at the entrance. NEVER point a strobe or flashing light directly into the eyes of guest, this can cause a multitude of problems.
Make sure there are fire extinquishers in each room. Make sure exits are clearly marked.
If possible install a panic system which will allow you to turn on all the lights in the attraction should there be a medical emergency or other problem.
You should always design your haunted attraction so there are hidden exits you can use to get someone out of the attraction as quickly as possible if a problem or medical emergency develops.
Finally instruct all volunteers to be careful when scaring visitors sometimes when an actor gets a reaction from a person they stay on that person rather then retreating into the darkness Or finding another person to frighten. A lot of people bring already frightened children into the house when those children should be left outside. A visit to a haunted attraction should be scary, but should also be fun. Fun for visitors, actors, and everyone involved in the event.
With a little extra attention, a lot of thought, and attention to detail you will have a successful attraction, one people like to visit time and time again thru out the season.
If you have any questions you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check the Hauntmasters website at http://www.pendragonscastle.com/hauntmasters for more information on design and development of your haunt.
Paul “ DragonMaster “ Pendragon
About the Author: Paul " DragonMaster " Pendragon is Founder of Hauntmasters, DragonMaster Entertainment, and Pendragons Castle. He is cofounder of House of Pain Haunted House