Are Stricter Regulations in Store for Escape Rooms?
Escaping from the room is all part of the fun, but apparently not for everyone. Two incidents at Escape Rooms in Canada have Winnipeg officials re-thinking the lack of safety regulations in place for Escape Rooms. It’s not only Canada having these concerns. After a deadly escape room fire in Poland killed five girls, countries from around the world have been questioning the safety of escape rooms.
Escape Room Regulations in the United States
Currently, Escape Rooms are not defined as an amusement building or area. Facilities like Family Entertainment Centers, Laser Tag Arenas and Haunted Houses are considered amusement areas. The International Building Code has proposed a change in 2021 to include Escape Rooms in the amusement area category. This means that stricter rules would be enforced on Escape Rooms in regards to fire alarms, sprinklers and fire exits. Since many Escape Rooms use special wiring for their special effects, an inspection of wiring is also being suggested.
The Polish Escape Room Fire
In January of 2019, an escape room caught fire due to the wiring being too close to flammable materials. When the fire broke out, the teenage girls were trapped inside of the escape room with their only way out blocked by a deadly blaze. The incident in Poland has enlightened officials to the fact that some of these Escape Rooms may need to have stricter regulations. After the escape room fire, Fire Fighters in NYC shut down four escape rooms over fire safety violations.
Adding Fuel to the Fire
Two incidents at Escape Rooms in Winnipeg are starting to raise even more concern for some officials in Canada. The first escape room incident involved a chain that was locked around a man’s neck. While the second incident happened at a separate locations and involved a woman who was injured trying to escape a coffin.
The Chain Around the Neck
A “Saw” themed escape game led to a man gasping for air. The man’s friend admitted that the group had been drinking before participating in the game. The chains around the neck are completely optional and every participant can opt out of the neck chains and still play the game. The man started gasping for breath and pulling at the chain before passing out. The Escape Room says that they have a “three finger” rule in place for all chains. Meaning that three fingers need to be able to fit between the chain and the person. It is unclear exactly what led to the incident. (2)
Trapped in a Coffin
In the second incident a woman named Kristen Single was trapped in a coffin with her hands handcuffed too tightly behind her back for 45 minutes. (Which is when the game ended and she was let out of the coffin). There was supposed to be a key to unlock the handcuffs, but the key had come unattached and was lost in the back of her hoodie. Kristen injured her severely wrist while trying to get herself out of the hand cuffs. She said that she tried to ask for help getting out but that no one helped her.
“I said, ‘Can I have some help or assistance or a hint because I’m locked in my handcuffs and my hand hurts, I’ve hurt my wrist’,” she said.Kristen Single
According to the Escape Room, Kristen never asked for help or to be taken out of the coffin.
Do escape rooms need stricter regulations? Give us your thoughts!
(1) CTV Winnipeg. “‘Stabbing pain’: Woman blames injury on coffin escape game, second alleged incident at ‘Fear’ Halloween event in October”. https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/stabbing-pain-woman-blames-injury-on-coffin-escape-game-second-alleged-incident-at-fear-halloween-event-in-october-1.4129110
(2) CTV Winnipeg. “Guest at Halloween event sent to hospital after scare featuring locked neck chain”. https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/guest-at-halloween-event-sent-to-hospital-after-scare-featuring-locked-neck-chain-1.4127453
(3) Building Safety Journal. “Escaping the Risk of Escape Rooms”. https://www.iccsafe.org/building-safety-journal/bsj-technical/escaping-the-risk-of-escape-rooms/.
(4) Building Safety Journal. “G48-18”. https://www.iccsafe.org/wp-content/uploads/bsj/G48-18.pdf
(5) New York Times. “Escape Room Fire In Poland Kills 5 Teenage Girls”. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/world/europe/poland-escape-room-fire.html