During the Fall holiday season, many organizations and individuals are in the planning stages for holiday activities. State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci wants to remind everyone the State Fire Prevention Code requires adequate fire protection to be provided in "Haunted Houses" and special amusement buildings. Both permanent and temporary use structures fall under these requirements. "These common sense requirements, based on national model codes and standards, will help us avert a tragedy similar to the one that struck a New Jersey theme park over two decades ago. That incident resulted in the tragic loss of eight lives," said the State Fire Marshal.
Requirements such as a sufficient number of exits, automatic smoke detection in reduced-lighting venues, exit marking, and emergency lighting help alert occupants in the event of a fire. Additional requirements addressing automatic fire sprinkler protection, restrictions against using flammable and/or combustible finishes and wall coverings, and banning open flame devices such as candles and lanterns along with smoking prohibitions, promote a fire-safe environment.
"Although ‘Haunted Houses’ may not seem to present a fire danger to most people, patrons can become easily disoriented during a fire emergency," says the State Fire Marshal. Entrepreneurs considering creating a "Haunted House" attraction are urged to contact their local fire prevention bureau or the Office of the State Fire Marshal for a complete list of fire safety requirements before creating their venue. The State Fire Marshal adds, "The best way to ensure fire safety is with proper training and planning!"
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an agency of the Department of State Police dedicated to helping protect citizens from fire and explosion through a comprehensive program of education, inspection, investigation and fire protection engineering. For more information on fire safety call 1-800-525-3124, log onto their website at: www.firemarshal.state.md.us and/or follow them on Facebook under "Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal."
*This information is being disseminated with permission from the Maryland State Fire Marshal.*