Jill Bronaugh
Communication Manager
Office of the State Fire Marshal
800 SW Jackson, Suite 104
Topeka, KS 66612-1216
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Press Releases

Haunted houses can be scary AND safe!

User Not Found | Oct 18, 2016

With Halloween coming upon us, families will soon start visiting haunted houses, ghost walks and other spooky amusements.

The Kansas State Fire Marshal, Doug Jorgensen, would like to remind everyone that even though these amusements are intended for family Halloween entertainment, these structures present an increased risk with regards to fire and life safety.

Kansas has adopted the 2006 International Fire Code which requires these types of facilities to comply with major components of fire and life safety. History has shown that complying with life safety requirements is vital. The tragic May 11, 1984 fire in the "Haunted Castle" at the Six Flags Great Adventure Park in New Jersey resulted in the deaths of eight visitors due to their inability to immediately exit the amusement structure.

Those operating these types of amusements should give special attention to the following requirements:

  • Automatic Sprinkler System in accordance with NFPA 13
  • Automatic Fire Alarm System in accordance with NFPA 72
  • Number of exits
  • Exit signs, illumination and emergency lighting
  • Travel distance to exits
  • Use of flammable liquids
  • Use of combustible interior finish
  • Location of extinguishing equipment
  • Adequate staff trained in evacuation and equipped with flashlights
  • Established emergency procedures
  • Readily available means to notify local fire, police and emergency medical services
  • For added safety, it may be necessary to limit occupant load, add additional emergency exits or establish other special precautions to minimize a potential risk due to some unique circumstance. In any event, every effort should be made to provide an enjoyable but safe environment as determined by the local fire inspection authority.

*The specific requirements may be modified by the state fire marshal to allow alternative measures to obtain an equivalency to the code. K.S.A.31-136 provides procedures for exemptions of these requirements upon written request. The written request must demonstrate that the specific requirement causes unnecessary hardship."

Haunted House operators should download our handy checklist to help create a safe and enjoyable Haunted House experience for their patrons.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!