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Authorities close nine Helsinki escape rooms after fire safety checks

Helsinki fire safety officers have ordered nine escape rooms in Helsinki to close until they’ve fixed their evacuation procedures.

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Escape Room Helsinki has extensive safety arrangements, but some other operators will have Image: Elise Tykkyläinen / Yle

Nine escape rooms in Helsinki have been ordered to close until they fix faults uncovered by fire safety officers. Evacuation plans were the main area of concern, but inspectors also found escape rooms that had been established in premises that were unsuitable.

The escape rooms must now fix the issues identified before they can reopen.

“In the main the problems related to evacuation,” said Fire Chief Anja Aatsinki of Helsinki Fire Department. “There weren’t enough emergency exits, there were obstacles to stop people using them or they weren’t well sign-posted.”

Officers inspected 19 escape rooms in the capital region at the behest of the Interior Ministry, after five teenagers died in an escape room in Poland in January.

The inspectors found that while the majority were safe, some escape rooms in Helsinki had been established in inappropriate premises, such as storage units. Aatsinki said she hoped the concerns raised after the tragedy in Poland will be taken seriously by escape room operators and by landlords.

“I especially want to emphasise the responsibility of real estate owners to ensure that activities on their property are consistent with the building permits,” said Aatsinki. “The building permit is in principle a guarantee that the intended activities can be conducted there safely and healthily.”

In total Finland has around 100 escape rooms, and a nationwide audit of their safety procedures is underway.

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