We've rebooted our Facebook Group. If groups are your thing, join up and let's make it as amazing and friendly as our forums!

Click here for HSfB's Facebook Group Image

Escape Rooms

Discuss all things health and safety.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
stephen1974
Snr Member
Snr Member
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:55 pm
Has thanked: 10 times
Been thanked: 32 times

Escape Rooms

Post by stephen1974 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:02 am

After the recent fire in Poland it got me thinking about Escape Rooms.

Most escape rooms are single rooms with a locked door. I would imagine it would be pretty simple to convert the locked doors to magnetically locked doors that cut out when the alarm goes off or the power goes out and thus people inside can escape easily.

However, I have seen an escape room where you have people crawling through a maze of tunnels in the pitch dark. If that room caught fire, I cannot see how they could escape. Even under the best of circumstances it would take a couple of minutes of crawling to get out. With a fire next to you or below you, the best of circumstances go out the window.

Should such places be allowed? How would you make such a place safe? the tunnels are lets say no more than a meter high a meter wide with changes of level up and downon slopes and with vertical climbs and descents in places.

User avatar
Messy
Grand Shidoshi
Grand Shidoshi
Posts: 3032
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2006 8:59 am
Occupation: Ex London Fire Brigade. Now 'retired' and providing bespoke fire safety solutions to a large worldwide portfolio of premises by an employer with long pockets and short arms!
Location: Job based in Central London
Has thanked: 47 times
Been thanked: 86 times

Re: Escape Rooms

Post by Messy » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:52 am

I have never been in one, so am not 100% certain what they look like. I would imagine the risks would be similar to a children's adventure play centre.

I have been to enough of them and have wondered how you would get 40 frightened kids out of the elevated climbing tunnels and bridges, when you have 80 parents frantically climbing over each other to get their children. I saw a child freeze in a child size only tunnel and it took a while before they could be coaxed out

Escape rooms should not present as many problems as the customers will be less vulnerable. I think with overrides on locked doors, additional emergency lighting and trained staff, it should be achievable to have these places without an outright ban

My fear is that the day to day running of the places may be left to youngsters or poorly prepared casual workers . The inability to deal with an evacuation or apply the emergency plan may be more of an issue than the actual building layout and infrastructure

Maybe they need licensing like nightclubs and theatres are?

User avatar
bernicarey
Anorak Extraordinaire
Anorak Extraordinaire
Posts: 8690
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:50 am
Twitter: @bernicarey
Industry Sector: Consultancy/Training
Occupation: Safety, Health, Environment and Fire Consultant.
Location: The heart of the East Midlands...
Has thanked: 55 times
Been thanked: 136 times
Contact:

Re: Escape Rooms

Post by bernicarey » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:16 pm

Messy wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:52 am
I have never been in one, so am not 100% certain what they look like. I would imagine the risks would be similar to a children's adventure play centre.
Think of it as a 'Crystal Maze' challenge (as in the TV show), but it depends on the safety mindset of the designer/owner as to how dangerous it is.

SHP did an article on them, published yesterday, which provides an insight into how a good ones are operated.
https://www.shponline.co.uk/sports-and- ... _cid=37566
stephen1974 wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:02 am

Should such places be allowed? How would you make such a place safe? the tunnels are lets say no more than a meter high a meter wide with changes of level up and downon slopes and with vertical climbs and descents in places.
If they have sufficient safety designed into them, there's no problem.
www.belvoirsafety.co.uk

Tomorrow - your reward for being safe today...

Image

stephen1974
Snr Member
Snr Member
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:55 pm
Has thanked: 10 times
Been thanked: 32 times

Re: Escape Rooms

Post by stephen1974 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:39 pm

I've also worked in children play centres and have had to evacuate the building quite a few times due to kids peeing their pants and parents drying the clothes under hand dryers in the toilets. despite the signs saying don't do it. They can be surprising easy to clear out. And fun to as for the sweep you go to the top of the play tower and work your way down :) but I appreciate that situations like the one you mentioned could easily arise. There are other issues as well with parents not leaving until they get their kids and kids being made to leave without their shoes and so on and so on.

I've also worked in the crystal maze style games bernicarey mentions. f designed properly those are easy to get out of as well. Each room leads to a corridor which goes to a final exit. When we evacuated those we found the kids were incredibly well trained by the schools and its like the guide turns in to a giant kid magnet. They stop talking immediately and all crowd round the guide waiting for instructions. I wrote to the school and said what a great job they had done.

The escape room I have is different from most places, possibly unique in this country. As it only gets used halloween and wasnt used last year. I've only had a 5 minute look around have not tried going through the tunnels. Im pretty sure no emergency lighting would have been put in and I hate to think what state the electrics must be in as there could be leaks and mice and rats and dirt and allsorts that could have gone into them. There isnt much as they do the majority with live actors but there are one or two bits of electrical equipment. No fire detection that i'm aware of at all. Smoke could easily be mistaken for a special effect an ignored.

In this case, definitely no built in safety but i'm wondering if certain things, such as long dark tight tunnel systems are inherently too dangerous, and thats something I would never normally say as I am NOT risk adverse. Dangerous stuff is fun and I encourage it, within reason.

I'm sure a smart designer could put something safe together, but you won't get smart designers you will get bodge job barry and his mate charlie cheapo knocking something up in a shipping container.

User avatar
bernicarey
Anorak Extraordinaire
Anorak Extraordinaire
Posts: 8690
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:50 am
Twitter: @bernicarey
Industry Sector: Consultancy/Training
Occupation: Safety, Health, Environment and Fire Consultant.
Location: The heart of the East Midlands...
Has thanked: 55 times
Been thanked: 136 times
Contact:

Re: Escape Rooms

Post by bernicarey » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:06 pm

stephen1974 wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:39 pm
The escape room I have is different from most places, possibly unique in this country. As it only gets used halloween and wasnt used last year. I've only had a 5 minute look around have not tried going through the tunnels. Im pretty sure no emergency lighting would have been put in and I hate to think what state the electrics must be in as there could be leaks and mice and rats and dirt and allsorts that could have gone into them. There isnt much as they do the majority with live actors but there are one or two bits of electrical equipment. No fire detection that i'm aware of at all. Smoke could easily be mistaken for a special effect an ignored.
I agree, that does sound worrying. Any commercial venture that is thrown together for only Halloween use sounds like it will be a bodge, since it hasn't got the income of year-round use. :shock:
www.belvoirsafety.co.uk

Tomorrow - your reward for being safe today...

Image


User avatar
Blackstone
Grand Shidoshi
Grand Shidoshi
Posts: 1081
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:17 am
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/GlenDoc
Industry Sector: Refrigeration / Oil & Gas / Pharma
Occupation: EHS Advisor
Location: Kent
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: Escape Rooms

Post by Blackstone » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:59 pm

From my experience of going into 3-4 escape rooms, there is always a member of staff monitoring your progress through the room and able to offer assistance on completing the room.
My thought has always been that in the event of an emergency the staff member would let you out and lead you to safety.

I've not yet experience an escape room where nobody is monitoring you while you are in there.
'Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough that they don't want to!' - Richard Branson

User avatar
witsd
Anorak Extraordinaire
Anorak Extraordinaire
Posts: 720
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:37 pm
Occupation: Fire safety officer
Location: Glasgow
Has thanked: 18 times
Been thanked: 15 times

Re: Escape Rooms

Post by witsd » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:59 pm

Yeah, I've not been to one, but I can't imagine that it could possibly be worse than the really large 'soft play' sites. Some of those that I spend my weekends at are far too complex to simply 'start at the top and work down'.
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'

Rowebin
Student
Student
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:45 pm
Has thanked: 18 times
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Escape Rooms

Post by Rowebin » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:59 am

The one I went to in Bristol was about using your imagination and the door was "locked" in the sense that if you opened it you would lose the game. You were not actually physically locked in.

The tunnel we had to go through was 1m long and if you were physically unable to get through we just stood on the same side whilst a few team members went through.

It was also monitored via CCTV and the staff would talk to you, to give you some pointers as it would have been really boring and a great waste of money to get stuck on the 2nd clue of 20 and just stand there for an hour. Whilst it is meant to be a challenge it is also meant to be entertainment not a strict competitive environment.

stephen1974
Snr Member
Snr Member
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:55 pm
Has thanked: 10 times
Been thanked: 32 times

Re: Escape Rooms

Post by stephen1974 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:43 pm

Would be interesting to know what went wrong in Poland. The above experiences highlight the easy solution, no locked doors, just a staff member there to assist. Very much like the crystal maze style one I ran some years ago. Our current one is nothing like that. I can guarantee there are zero risk assessments done on any aspect of it.

Has to be bad when the general manager isnt allowed to see the risk assessments.

stephen1974
Snr Member
Snr Member
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:55 pm
Has thanked: 10 times
Been thanked: 32 times

Re: Escape Rooms

Post by stephen1974 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:07 am

Just read a report on this and it generally said what we've said above.

Rooms are not locked, or have magnetic locks tied to the alarm system, and there is a member of staff in every room, with CCTV (though I doubt this is monitored that well).

Apparently over 100 rooms have been deemed unsafe and 13 were immediately closed. In this case, the fire started outside of the room and those inside suffocated. The fire service had to break the door down, so it sounds well and truly locked.

Post Reply

 

Follow us on Twitter Find us on Facebook Find us on on LinkedIn

Terms of Use Privacy Policy