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Outdoor Special Event Fire Code Requirements

Outdoor events like block parties, beer guardians, street festivals, and religious gatherings occur all over Calgary. You must follow the safety guidelines on this page and get all required permits before hosting your event. Read our Outdoor Special Event booklet for more information.

Safety Requirements

Read our Outdoor Special Events booklet for the safety requirements for items such as seating, cooking, tents, canopies, booths, and structures.

When are permits required?

You must obtain a special event and festival permit even if your outdoor event is on City or private property, open to public or private. Special events permits are not supplied by Calgary Fire but we do inspect events to make sure they follow all safety requirements.

We do approve fire department permits for any of the following event activities:

  • Open Flames
  • Pyrotechnics, fireworks, or special effects
  • Special Amusement (includes haunted houses)
  • Temporary occupant Load cards for licensed events
  • Any public assemblage that contains the public in a fenced or restricted area

How soon do I need fire permits?

You must have all required fire permits before the start of your event. To get any of the required permits, you must submit an information package for review and approval at least 30 days prior to the event. If your event starts and you don’t have all required permits you will be in violation of the Safety Codes Act of Alberta.

Fire Permit Process

Follow these steps to obtain a permit:

  1. Call 311 and submit a request for the type of permit you need
  2. Complete and submit an online application
  3. Compile all of the required documents into an information package and submit it to the Calgary Fire Department, Special Events Safety Codes Officer.

Required documents

You must submit an information package prior to the start of your event. This package includes the following documents:

  • Event information sheet which includes:
    • Event name
    • Venue name and address
    • Event Date(s) and time(s)
    • Set-up and move-out dates
    • Description of event
    • Maximum estimated number of people to be in attendance at one time
    • Event Coordinator contact information (e.g. name, address, phone numbers)
    • Contact info for individuals that can provide detailed information about set-up and operation of the event.
  • Detailed event fire safety plan, which specifies:
    • Physical layout of the event, to scale, which includes exhibits, tents, canopies, vehicles, fences, and all cooking facilities
    • All measurements in metric
    • Access to exits and their location and size
    • Size and location of stages and other performing areas
    • Beer Garden dimension
  • Descriptions and plans for special circumstances including:
    • Display, use, and operation of any open flame, candles, lamps, torches, cooking, etc.
    • Use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG)
    • Use, handling or storage of any pyrotechnic materials or devices
    • Temporary membrane structures, tents, canopies, or covered exhibit booths
    • Display of any motorized or non-motorized vehicles
    • Use of special fuel blends for motor vehicle events
    • Use of vehicles for outdoor events

Inspection of the event

To ensure your event maintains all safety requirements, our Safety Codes Officers may conduct periodic inspections of your event. This may include:

  • A walk-through with the event coordinator during the move-in or set-up period.
  • Daily visits, once the event as started.
  • Spot checks of any cooking locations and strict enforcement of all requirements.
  • Inspections of emergency access, exciting and hazards during the move-out or closing of the event.

Onsite Safety Codes officer

At our discretion, one or more Safety Codes Officers may be required to be present at the event. If an officer is required, the event will be billed at the current rates.

Event interruption or shutdown

If we find any unsafe act or condition or something that constitutes imminent danger, we have the authority to stop the event until all unsafe conditions are corrected.

Are there consequences for not complying?

Failure to comply with the Alberta Fire Code can result in fines and even jail time as outlined in the Safety Codes Act. Failure to comply applies to:

  • Not meeting the safety requirements during your event
  • Starting the event without all of the required fire and safety permits

If you are found guilty of non-compliance the consequences can be:

  • For a first offence, fines up to $100,000 and up to $1,000 for each day where the offense continues and/or imprisonment for up to 6 months.
  • For second offence, fines up to $500,000 and up to $2,000 for each day where the offence continues and/or imprisonment up to 12 months.