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Phoenix Fire stressing safety at haunted houses during Halloween

(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX – Haunted houses are meant to be scary but they also need to be safe.

The Phoenix Fire Department says there are only two approved haunted houses in the city – The 13th Floor and Fear Farm.

Fire marshals inspect walkways, exits and props inside ensuring the spooky setting is up to fire code in the event of an emergency.

“In an unapproved haunted house there are only two ways in and out,” Phoenix Fire Deputy Fire Marshal Brian Scholl said. “The way you came in and all the way through the end, so if there is a fire in the middle of the haunted house it’s going to be tough for you to get out.”

On Wednesday, the Phoenix Fire conducted its walkthrough of the 13th Floor’s haunted house located off Interstate 17 and Bell Road.

The goal is to ensure all the safety features work regardless of how scary it may look inside.

“So, if there is a fire or an incident in the haunted house while it’s running everything shuts down – all the noises shut down, the lights shut down and the props shut down,” Scholl said.

“The people who are in the house to scare you become your safety people – they all have flashlights and will help you get out of the haunted house safely.”

But why does it matter to go to fire department-approved haunted houses? It could be a matter of life or death.

Many unapproved haunted houses use black plastic tarps to create barriers. Those serve as fire starters along with the multitude of electronic equipment found in haunted houses.

Anyone who wants to have a haunted house in Phoenix must get approval from the city’s fire prevention team.

Due to COVID-19, both the 13th Floor and Fear Farm are selling tickets online and limiting capacity inside haunted houses with reserved time slots.

During the 13th Floor’s fire code approval, the haunted house shared safety protocols it is taking this Halloween due to pandemic. That includes mandated mask wearing, increased sanitation, and reserved appointments.

“We’ve gone through the motions since March to ensure we’re going to provide a service that gets people out of their homes to have some fun in the safest way possible,” Tim Pugsley, regional manager with 13th Floor Entertainment, said.

With limited attendance and reserved time slots for attendance, the 13th Floor will also have its entire staff – including actors — masked.

Touch points and other populated areas that could be touched throughout the haunted house are also said to be sanitized throughout its operation this Halloween season.

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