INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Department of Homeland Security will assure haunted houses are up to code and safe for all visitors this Halloween season.
To have an operating permit, haunted houses must pass inspections by the department.
“Our inspectors, they go out all year long but this time of year there is a lot of emphasis on haunted houses,” said Joe Tanasovich, an investigator for the Indiana State Fire Marshal. Those inspectors assure haunted houses follow Indiana safety laws, but the inspectors’ main focus is fire safety.
“Making sure that they have a safety plan, if the building is required to have a fire suppression system, make sure that they have what’s required, that it’s working and operating correctly, make sure that there’s sufficient exits,” Tanasovich said.
However, having exits in every section of the haunted house isn’t enough.
“I want to make sure that not only is there a door, but there is a path to safety if there is a reason for somebody to need to get away from the building,” Tanasovich said.
These inspections need to be reviewed every year because haunted houses never stay the same.
“We have a year-round crew that rebuilds and builds new scenes and the whole show,” said Scott Waterman, owner at Hanna Haunted Acres.
Safety procedures weren’t required by law until a haunted house turned into a real-life nightmare in 1984. Tanasovich said, “In 1984, there was a fatal fire in a haunted house, and that’s where a lot of the codes we have today come from.”
Haunted houses should have their operating permits displayed. If visitors don’t see a permit, ask a staff member to see it. If the haunted house doesn’t have a permit, don’t enter and report the facility to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.