Tents & Flameproofing

Tents and Permits

For use outdoors: A tent permit is required for a tent, canopy, or air supported structure more than 400 square feet. If your tent or canopy is open on all sides (roof only) a permit is not required if it meets all the following conditions:  (1) individual maximum size of 700 square feet; (2) aggregate area of multiple tents side by side less than 12 feet apart is 700 square feet or less; (3) minimum of 12 feet clearance between the tent and any structure

For use indoors: Tents or air supported structures more than 100 square feet erected inside a building equipped with an automatic sprinkler system require our approval.

Event permits with tent permits: For events with tents, it is important that the tent permit application and event application (temporary assembly permit) are received together or along a similar time frame.  We cannot process the event permit without the tent permit. Both are required 30 days in advance.  The event organizer can apply for both the tent permit and the assembly permit.  The tent company generally cannot apply for event permits, because the tent company is generally not the responsible party for the event itself. 

Please also review our Tents and Heaters Information Sheet for safety requirements and tips including heater options and limits.

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  1. Apply for a tent permit. Application will need to include:
    • Plot plan showing the tent and surroundings
    • Floor plan of the interior of the tent
    • Letter of certification that the tent is flame retardant;
    • Letter of structural stability

    Note: The application and fee must be received at least 30 calendar days prior to the event to avoid a late fee. Application and/or fee received three (3) or fewer business days prior to the event may not be processed, and the permit will not be issued.

  2. If tents are being used in conjunction with assembly events, an additional permit is required for the assembly. The entity (usually the event organizer) must apply and pay for either a temporary assembly occupancy permit or a City of Seattle special events permit.
  3. If there is any food being served and/or prepared using propane (LPG) and open flame (i.e., wood and/or charcoal BBQ), then additional permits are required. Generally, propane and open flame cooking is not allowed inside a tent.
  4. If the tent/air-supported structure is heated and the power source for the heater is anything other than electric, an additional permit is required. Only electric heaters are allowed inside the tent. All other heaters must be on the exterior of the tent. Propane heaters must be a minimum of 10 feet away from the tent and required exit(s).
  5. We do not issue permits for tents or air-supported structures for more than four (4) weeks (28 days). Tents or air-supported structures erected for more than four (4) weeks must obtain permits from the Department of Constructions and Inspections (SDCI).


All curtains, drapes, hangings, and other decorative materials suspended from walls or ceilings must be flame resistant. You need to have verification that an item is flame retardant.

Acceptable verification includes:

  • Certificate of Flame Resistance may be left in the booth when it is not occupied.  The Certificate of Flame Resistance must indicate the item meets the standards of National Fire Protection Association 701 (NFPA 701) or the State of California Fire Marshal for flame proofing.
    • Certificates of Flame Resistance are valid for one 1 year after which time they must be renewed.  Unless the certificate shows an expiration date that indicates the treatment cannot be removed when laundered.
  • Tag or label on the item indicating it meets the NFPA 701 or the State of California Fire Marshal approved standard for flame proofing
  • Only certificates from a third-party certifier or manufacturer are acceptable.

Painted back-drops / signage using oil based or water based paints with backing materials must be accompanied by a Certificate of Flame Resistance indicating the item is flame retardant or it must be removed. 

Materials used for outdoor ground coverings, such as beauty bark and shredded tires must be accompanied by a Certificate of Flame Resistance indicating the item is flame retardant or it must be removed. 

The use of oilcloth, tarpaper, sisal paper, nylon, Orlon, and certain other synthetic materials that cannot be made flame resistant is strictly prohibited. 

Items which do not have a valid Certificate of Flame Resistance shall be removed.  If it is unable to be removed from the show floor prior to the show opening, the show doors may be held and / or the booth may be closed.

Flame retardant and flame proofing resources  

It is your responsibility to thoroughly check out vendor's products and services to determine what best meets your needs for flame retardant products and materials. We have a list of companies for informational purposes only and is not an endorsement of those companies, products, or services.

Combustible storage

Combustible storage - repacking material, etc. is prohibited throughout the public assembly area. This includes areas in and behind individual booth spaces.

Note: Small amounts of brochures and other literature for distribution may be stored under tables fronting the booth space when approved.

Fire Department - Fire Prevention Division

Harold Scoggins, Fire Chief
Address: 220 3rd Ave S, 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: 220 3rd Ave S , Seattle, WA, 98104
Phone: (206) 386-1450
Contact Us

The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) has 33 fire stations located throughout the City. SFD deploys engine companies, ladder companies, and aid and medic units to mitigate loss of life and property resulting from fires, medical emergencies, and other disasters. The Department also has units for ...