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FIR-3.03 - Haunted Houses and Similar Temporary Installations

Administrative Rule Adopted by Portland Fire & Rescue Pursuant to Rule-Making Authority



A.  This policy is established September 29, 1993.

B.  The purpose of this policy is to provide more specific guidelines for temporary use of existing structures/spaces and temporary structures used for Haunted Houses and similar functions that will be attended by members of the public.

C.  Haunted houses or similar installations such as fun houses, etc., set up for 90 days or less inside a structure not designed for this specific use, shall comply with the requirements of these guidelines.


A.  2007 Portland Fire Code (PFC), Appendix H

B.  2010 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC)

C.  PortlandCityCode (PCC) Title 31


A.  Permit: A Public Assembly Permit to operate a haunted house or similar installation shall be obtained from the Fire Marshal’s Office, before it is opened to the public. The permit fee will fall under the PCC Title 31 Schedule A permit fees for processing the permit. The applicant shall complete the Public/Special Event permit application and submit it with a complete floor plan, drawn to scale, of the area being used for the event.

Haunted houses and similar temporary installations shall comply with the following:

1.  In any facility using the maze concept:

a.  The building shall be equipped throughout with automatic sprinkler and fire detection systems.

Exception: Automatic sprinklers are not required where the total floor area of a temporary special amusement building is less than 1,000 square feet and the travel distance from any point to an exit is less than 50 feet.

b.  There may be no dead-end corridors and there must be an obvious exit out of the maze every 50 feet of linear travel.

c.  Exits out of the maze shall be a minimum of 3' wide and 6' 8" in height.

d.  The exits shall have lighted exit signs placed above each exit. Exit signs can be either store bought electric with a battery back up, or a paper exit sign with fluorescent 12” red letters on a white background. If using the paper exit sign, a flashlight shall be mounted to shine on the exit sign when the facility is open to the public.

e.  Additional lighted exit signs may be required to direct people out of the building, tent, or other structure.

f.  All stairways must be illuminated at a level of at least one footcandle.

g.  All aisles must be a minimum of 4 feet wide and 6 feet 8 inches high.

2.  A group shall consist of not more than 20 persons, as determined by the Public/Special Events Inspector. Each group of children age 12 and under must be accompanied and supervised by a staff person who is 18 years of age or older. This staff person must have in their possession an operable flashlight, a cell phone or other means of communication, and shall be completely familiar with the facility. This person shall be instructed to assist the group they are accompanying in evacuating the structure in the event of an emergency.

3.  The total number of occupants in the facility at any time shall be limited to a number determined by the Fire Marshal’s Office.

4.  There shall be no smoking allowed at any time by anyone inside the building, structure, or within 10 feet of any entrances, exits, windows, and air intake vents.

5.  All electrical installations must meet the Oregon Electrical Specialty Code.

6.  The Fire Marshal’s Office, Public/Special Events Inspector must be contacted for an inspection and the approval of the evacuation and operational procedures (emergency plan) prior to opening the facility to the public.

7.  No open-flame devices or temporary heaters shall be allowed in the occupancy.

8.  Use of untreated combustible material is prohibited. All combustible material shall be treated or protected so that it is essentially rendered and maintained flame-retardant in a manner acceptable to the Fire Marshal’s Office. This includes all harvest decorations such as cornstalks, dry branches, and hay. Never place this type of decoration in or near exitways or stairs.

9.  Blocking, locking or in any way impeding ready access to any marked or required exit is prohibited. All exitways shall be kept clear of any obstructions or storage.

10.  Sufficient numbers of fire extinguishers shall be provided to ensure that the maximum travel distance to any extinguisher does not exceed 50 feet. The minimum acceptable classification (size) is 2A-10BC. All fire extinguishers shall have a service tag showing servicing within the last year unless it is new. The fire extinguishers shall be mounted in a conspicuous location, near each required exit, or as otherwise noted on the approved plans/permit. Staff shall be instructed in the proper use of extinguishers.


Originally adopted by Fire Marshal as Fire Prevention Division Policy Manual Document C-3, effective September 29, 1993 and revised October 10, 2000.
Filed for inclusion in PPD June 13, 2003.
Revised administrative rule adopted by Chief of Portland Fire & Rescue and filed for inclusion in PPD November 1, 2011.