California is a hub for entertainment, and haunted houses and events are no exception. With Halloween around the corner, thrill-seekers may find themselves exploring haunted houses or participating in ghost walks. However, safety is paramount. In the text below, our respected personal injury lawyers aim to shed light on the haunted house and event safety regulations in California and delve into potential liabilities in case of an injury that may provide a victim with grounds upon which to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Haunted Houses, Ghost Walks, And Permitting
Haunted houses, as well as ghost walks, are unique types of amusement uses. They’re designed in such a way that the exits aren’t immediately apparent due to various theatrical distractions. In California, any entity planning to operate a haunted house or a similar event must abide by specific regulations.
Before setting up a haunted house or ghost walk, an Operational Permit is required. This permit application must include a detailed site plan and floor plan. The site plan should highlight the event building’s proximity to other structures, the path to the public way, and exterior evacuation points. On the other hand, the floor plan should illustrate details like total square footage, the layout of confusing structures like mazes, description of each room, location of emergency exits, and more.
Materials And Structures
Understanding the materials and types of structures involved is essential for both safety and compliance.
Materials used for decoration, such as fabrics, streamers, hay stalks, foam plastics, and more, fall under this category. It’s imperative that these materials are flame retardant to prevent fire hazards.
Haunted House Definition
It’s essential to understand that a haunted house is a temporary building where the egresses aren’t apparent due to distractions. It can either transport passengers through a course or provide a walkway.
Similar to haunted houses, ghost walks can include indoor and outdoor areas where exits aren’t readily identifiable.
The structures housing these events must comply with the California Building Code’s provisions for Special Amusement Buildings. Tents can also be used if they’re less than 1,000 square feet and the exit is within 50 feet.
Fire Safety And Evacuation
Given the nature of these events, fire safety is of utmost concern:
Fire Evacuation Plans
A detailed fire safety and evacuation plan must be submitted.
Events should be adequately staffed to control the number of visitors and assist in case evacuation becomes necessary.
Clear and safe exits are crucial. Rooms with more than 50 occupants need two exits. Furthermore, these exits should be clear of obstructions and be well-lit.
The haunted houses and ghost walks must be equipped with fire protection systems. This includes an automatic fire sprinkler system, fire detection systems, alarms, and portable fire extinguishers placed at accessible and visible points.
Electrical And Decorative Materials Safety
A significant part of the allure of haunted houses is the lighting and decorative effects. However, they bring their own set of risks:
Any electrical work, including the use of extension cords and power strips, must be safe and may require permits. String lighting should be connected responsibly, and cords should be protected from foot traffic.
Decorative Materials Safety
As mentioned, these materials should be flame-retardant. They should also not obstruct any safety or emergency equipment or pathways.
Prohibitions And Inspections
Some strict prohibitions ensure the safety of the visitors:
The storage or use of flammable items or open flames is strictly prohibited in these events.
Cleanliness and orderliness should be maintained throughout the event, especially in exit pathways.
Before the event starts, a fire and life safety inspection by the Fire Department is mandatory.
Seek The Guidance Of A Trusted Personal Injury Attorney Today
Haunted houses and ghost walks can be thrilling experiences, but safety should always be the priority. California regulations are in place to ensure that visitors can enjoy these attractions without risking their well-being. If you or someone you know gets injured at such an event, understanding these regulations can help in identifying who could be held liable for the injury. It’s always recommended to consult with a personal injury attorney familiar with California law to explore potential claims.
If you or a loved one has been hurt because of another’s negligent conduct, you deserve skilled and thoughtful representation. At Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, PC, the members of our personal injury lawyer team are committed to fighting for the justice and compensation you deserve. With multiple offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, San Diego, and Riverside, our personal injury attorneys represent injured victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys, please call (888) 848-5084.
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