Outdoor Special Event Fire Code Requirements
Outdoor events like block parties, beer gardens, haunted houses, street festivals and religious gatherings may require a permit. You must follow the safety guidelines on this page and get all required permits before hosting your event.
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 the Calgary Fire Department 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, fireworks, or special effects
- Special amusement (includes haunted houses)
- Temporary occupant load cards for licensed events
- Any public assembly that contains the public in a fenced or restricted area
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.
Fire permit process
Follow these steps to obtain a permit:
- Call 311 and submit a request for the type of permit you need
- 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.
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 has 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 unsafe conditions or something that constitutes imminent danger, we have the authority to stop the event until 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