How safe are haunted houses?

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by Christine LaCroix

azfamily.com

Posted on October 30, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 30 at 7:14 PM

PHOENIX -- Nicole Bjorkland went to a Phoenix haunted house for fun, and walked out with an injury.

"We were kind of at a bottleneck, there were a bunch of people crowded around," Bjorkland said. "A man with a chainsaw started chasing us and I tried getting away from the crowd and running away and I tripped and fell on an uneven surface."
Bjorkland’s wrist was injured and she had to seek medical attention.
"I got more than I bargained for," she said.
The Planning and Development Department at the city of Phoenix regulates haunted houses in the city.
A spokesperson for the city said all commercial haunted houses are required to have building and fire permits, as well as adequate exits and fire-retardant interior finishes.
Exhibits that could present a potential trip hazard are permissible, but the owners of the haunted house have responsibilities to the general public.
"They have to warn them, to provide notice, adequate notice of any potential hazard," said Raechel Barrios, an attorney at Friedl Richardson in Phoenix.
At the 13th Floor haunted house in Phoenix, huge warning posters greet visitors, with lists of potential hazards and people who should not enter the attraction, including pregnant women and people with heart conditions.
The general manager of 13th Floor, Tim Pugsley, gave 3TV a behind-the-scenes tour of the haunted house and all of its safety features, including fire extinguishers, safety lighting and well-marked exits.
Pugsley said the haunted house also has trained staff on hand in case of an emergency.
"We have upwards of 30 crowd control taking care of minimal issues as well as professional medical staff if needed," he said. "We have 10 to 12 Phoenix PD officers on staff, as well."
13th Floor is open through this weekend and is expecting numbers in the thousands for Halloween. Pugsley said his staff is ready for the crowds.
"The safety of our staff and guests is a top priority," he said.

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