Attend the C.H.A.O.S. Safety Seminar
The Certified Haunted Attraction Operator Safety (C.H.A.O.S.) Program is the Haunted Attraction Association (HAA)’s safety course that is recommended to anyone running a haunted attraction. Each year, HAA partners with TransWorld to offer safety classes haunt professionals can attend to fulfill their requirement for certification.
Individuals must complete eight hours in order to receive their certification. Once they have completed the eight hours, they will receive a certificate that can be used to show their fire marshal, insurance carrier, and local authority their desire to run a safe haunted attraction. Each person has to attend the 8 hours individually and hour credits are not shared between staff from the same haunt.
Part of the mandatory requirements of the HAA Top Haunts program is that at least one person has to have a current CHAOS certification on the staff. HAA members that have multiple haunts in different locations have to have a person CHAOS certified for each location to qualify for Top Haunts.
Effective March 2020, all CHAOS certificates are valid and current for 3 years. All previously issued CHAOS certificates will expire and will expire and not be considered current after March of 2023.
COST: HAA Members: $10, Non-Members: $65
C.H.A.O.S. SAFETY PROGRAM TIPS
1. Meet with your inspectors early.
It’s very important to meet with your inspectors early in the year in case there are any new requirements for the upcoming haunt season.
– Submitted by Brett Bertolino, Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls, Philadelphia, PA
2. Don’t use extension cords.
If not used properly, extension cords can create a trip hazard but more importantly, they can cause a fire when overloaded. Many states do not allow extension cords in a haunted house. You can eliminate the use of extension cords by having a professional electrician install outlets closer to your fixture. You may also extend the length of your fixture. However, this can only be done if you calculate the load and use the proper wire size. You will need a heavier wire size the longer the run. Lastly, if an extension cord is used, make sure it is not wound tightly. The excess cord should be loose enough so it doesn’t overheat.
– Submitted by Patrick Konopelski, Owner of Shocktoberfest, Reading, PA
3. Check the actors
Make sure to check all actors’ costumes and accessories as they head into their sets. New actors especially are tempted to make something “awesome” at home and bring it in. They are just trying to help and show some initiative, but sometimes their data of what is safe is not the reality. We have had someone bring in a real machete, and others have made their own knives from steel.
– Submitted by Beth Watson, Spookers/CornEvil, Auckland, New Zealand
4. Air Compressors
With proper maintenance, air compressors can run efficiently and safely for years. It is important to change the oil at least once a year. You must also remember to drain the water from the bottom of the tank nightly. Unfortunately, the design of the valves which is located under the tank is less than perfect. This makes it challenging and awkward to drain. It is for this reason we have replaced all the valves with extensions that stick out from under the tank. This retrofit design makes it easier to use. You might also want to think about piping the water outside or directly to a drain so you don’t have water on the floor.
– Submitted by Patrick Konopelski, Shocktoberfest – Reading, PA
5. Safety Training
Safety training should not end once your season begins. Undoubtedly you will hire some staff members after you have already completed your initial safety training during orientation. Make sure to take the time to adequately train these new team members before they start working in your attractions. You can never be too prepared. It is also a good idea to do an all haunt safety training review and evacuation drill mid-run as a refresher.
– Submitted by Brett Bertolino, Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA