Indoor Special Event Fire Code Requirements
Indoor events like home shows, auto shows, trade shows, haunted houses, music concerts, rodeos, 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 Indoor Special Event booklet for more information.
Read our Indoor Special Events booklet for the safety requirements for items such as seating, cooking, tents, canopies, booths, decorative materials, and structures.
When are permits required?
You must obtain a special event and festival permit even if your indoor 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.
Special permits may be required for any of the following event activities:
- Open Flames
- Pyrotechnics or special effects
- Ten or air-supported temporary structures over 27.9 m2 (300 ft.)
- Special Amusement (includes haunted houses)
- Liquid or gas-fuelled vehicles or equipment in assembly buildings
- Indoor cooking
Contact 311 for information about applying for permits related to these event activities.
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:
- Call 311 and submit a request for a Special Event
- Complete and submit an online application
- Compile all of the required documents into an information package and submit it to the Calgary Fire Department, Special Events Safety Codes Officer.
You must submit an information package prior to the start of your event. This package includes payment for the permits and 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 floor plans 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
- A to scale booth layout of the entire show
- Locations and dimensions of all aisles and cross aisles
- Size and location of stages or other performing areas
- Location and accessibility of all required fire alarm ‘pull stations’, fire extinguishers, and fire department standpipe connections and cabinets
Note: We maintain a file of pre-approved event floor plans. Applicants must identify whether a preapproved plan or another plan will be used for their event. Modifications to preapproved plans must be detailed and will require our review prior to the use of the changed plan.
- 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 indoor 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 National Fire Code (Alberta Edition) 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.