Outdoor tent permit requirements

Find out more information here on applying for an outdoor tent permit.
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Is this a tent for an assembly event?

A public assembly event or special event that includes a tent requires a public assembly permit application. A public assembly/special event is defined as a gathering of 50 or more people (including event staff) for civic, social, recreational or religious functions; that is confined by fences, walls, tents or similar structures.

If you are having this type of event, please complete and submit the public assembly special event permit application. All tent requirements will still apply.

Tent permit requirements

  • A permit from the Fire Marshal's Office is required when an outdoor tent or membrane structure is greater than 700 square feet in area.
  • A tent or membrane structure cannot be used for more than 180 days in a 12-month period on a single premise.
  • Permit applications including all additional documentation and the permit fee must be submitted no later than 21 days before the use date. A permit application received less than 21 days before use may be subject to a double fee.

Permit fees

$200 - 4 days or less

$300 - 5 days to 6 months

Floor plan requirements

A detailed floor plan of the tent must be submitted with the permit application and must show:

  • Length and width of tent.
  • Any structures close to the outside of the tent (fencing, walls, buildings, trailers, etc.).
  • The set-up inside the tent (tables, chairs, vehicles, etc.).
  • Table spacing and aisle widths.
  • Location of all exits.

Before the tent can be occupied

  • Provide documentation that the structure is flame-retardant.
  • Provide and maintain one 2-A: 10-BC fire extinguisher by each exit shown on the approved floor plan. 
  • Fire extinguishers must be mounted in a visible location, no higher than 5’ off the floor.
  • There should be a maximum travel distance of 100’ for a person to reach an exit.
  • Tent must be placed at least 20’ from any combustible building wall.
  • Centered above each marked exit there must bean electrically powered, battery back-up, exit sign with two emergency lights  NOTE: Exit signs should be plugged in to charge the batteries a few hours before use.

Exit openings

There must be a minimum of two exits each with a width of 72” and a height of 80”. Larger tents that have a higher calculated occupancy will require additional exits. 

  • 200 - 499 people requires three exits with a width of 72” each.
  • 500 - 999 people requires four exits with a width of 96” each.
  • 1,000 - 1,999 people requires five exits with a width of 120” each.

Exits must remain open during business hours unless covered by a flame-resistant curtain which:

  • Is free-sliding on a metal support and a minimum of 80” above the floor level at the exit.
  • Is installed so that, when open, no part of the curtain shall obstruct the exit.
  • Is a color, or colors, that contrast with the color of the tent.
  • Is not tied or fastened closed during hours of use.

Guy wires/ropes and other support members must not cross any entrance or exit at a height lower than 8’.

Additional requirements

  • No parking of vehicles is allowed within 20’ of the tent.
  • No smoking is allowed inside the tent and approved “No Smoking” signs shall be conspicuously posted.
  • No propane, flammable or combustible liquids or gases are allowed in the tent.
  • Portable space heaters of any type are not to be used, unless approved through the permit review process and after an onsite inspection by the Fire Marshal’s Office.
  • Open flames or other devices emitting flame, fire or heat or any flammable or combustible liquids, gas, charcoal or other cooking device or any other unapproved devices shall not be permitted inside or located within 20’ of the tent/membrane structure while open to the public unless approved by the Fire Marshal’s Office.
  • Propane bottles must be placed outside the tent, at least 10’ from any approved exit, and secured to prevent being knocked over.
  • A propane heating unit may be placed outside the tent and ducted to the inside of the tent, but must be placed next to the sidewall, where the propane bottle supplying it is located.
  • Any vehicles displayed inside a tent must comply with the same permit requirements as for displaying vehicles inside a building.
  • The floor surface inside tent/membrane structures and the grounds outside within a 30’ perimeter shall be kept clear of combustible waste.  Such waste shall be stored in approved containers until removed from the premises.

Go to permit application