Fire Safety for Temporary Structures and Events

Marquee, event tent

Planning an event often involves the use of temporary structures such as tents, marquees, and stages. These structures are vital for hosting guests, providing shelter, and creating an atmosphere. However, ensuring these temporary setups are safe from fire hazards is crucial for the well-being of everyone involved. This blog post provides comprehensive guidelines to ensure fire safety for events utilizing temporary structures, focusing on material safety, effective evacuation plans, and general fire safety practices.


Material Safety

The choice of materials used in temporary structures can significantly affect fire safety. Here are key considerations for selecting and using materials safely:

1. Use Fire-Resistant Materials:

  • Opt for materials that are either non-flammable or have been treated with fire retardants. This is especially important for drapes, tents, decorations, and any fabric that covers large areas.
  • Check for certifications or labels that confirm the fire-resistant properties of the materials.


2. Secure Electrical Installations:

  • Ensure all wiring and electrical installations comply with safety standards. Poor electrical setups are a common cause of fires in temporary structures.
  • Use cables that are suitable for outdoor use and protect them from damage by routing them away from high-traffic areas.
  • Have a qualified electrician inspect the electrical setup before the event.


Evacuation Plans

An effective evacuation plan is essential for ensuring the safety of attendees in the event of a fire. Here’s how to prepare a functional evacuation strategy:

1. Clear Signage:

  • Install clear, visible signs that indicate emergency exits and evacuation routes. Lighting for these signs should be reliable, especially in low-light conditions.
  • Consider the needs of all guests, including those with disabilities. Ensure that evacuation routes are accessible to everyone.


2. Sufficient Exit Points:

  • Design the layout of the event to include multiple exit points. Exits should be evenly distributed around the event space to prevent bottlenecks.
  • Keep all exits and evacuation routes free from obstructions at all times.


3. Regular Briefings:

  • Brief all event staff and volunteers on the evacuation plan. Ensure they are aware of their roles during an emergency.
  • Conduct a walk-through with the event team to familiarize them with all safety procedures and exit locations.


Fire Safety Practices

Implementing good fire safety practices can prevent the occurrence of fires and ensure a quick response if a fire does break out:

1. Fire Extinguishers:

  • Place appropriate types of fire extinguishers throughout the event space, especially near areas identified as higher risk (e.g., kitchens, electrical equipment).
  • Ensure that staff know how to use the extinguishers and understand which type of fire each extinguisher is designed to combat.


2. No Open Flame Policy:

  • Unless necessary for the event, implement a strict no open flame policy. This includes candles, lanterns, and any equipment that generates heat or flame.
  • If open flames are essential, ensure they are kept away from flammable materials and never left unattended.


3. Regular Inspections:

  • Conduct regular checks before and during the event to ensure all fire safety measures are in place and functioning.
  • Have a safety officer or designated individual responsible for these checks.


4. Communication:

  • Maintain effective communication channels among all staff members. Use radios or other communication devices to alert the team about any fire-related incidents or safety concerns immediately.


Safety should never be compromised, especially when dealing with large groups of people in temporary structures. By adhering to these guidelines on material safety, evacuation planning, and fire safety practices, event organizers can significantly mitigate fire risks and ensure that their events are not only memorable but also safe for all participants. Remember, preparation and prevention are key to effective fire safety management at any event.

For expert advice on fire protection and prevention, contact Martyn Young Fireproofing Consultancy today on 07585 896648