Collingwood fire chief cracking down on tents without fire rating
Collingwood Today

By next year, there will be no canopy tents allowed at events in town unless they are fire-resistant.

Fire Chief Ross Parr said he’s long had a concern about the tents used at special events - like the ones used by vendors - that are not fire resistant.

“The tents are connected,” said Parr. “If something happens, it’s all going up.”

Parr is referring to the tents used by vendors at events like the Collingwood Farmers’ Market, various trade shows, and the Collingwood Elvis Festival.

Tents treated with a chemical used for flame retardant burns slower and takes longer to catch fire than a tent not treated. In fact, an untreated tent can catch fire and burn in seconds.

By 2020, no tent without a fire rating will be permitted at a local indoor or outdoor event, whether run by the town or a private operator.

“It’s a safety issue,” said Parr. “The number one goal of this is just for safety.”

Parr reviews every application for a special event permit that comes to the town of Collingwood. During set up, fire department staff visit the site to make sure there is ample access for emergency vehicles, they inspect areas where food is being cooked, and, of course, they check for fire ratings on tents.

“This will be their final notice,” said Parr. "I can't comment on what other municipalities are doing. But this is what we're doing." 

There are already rules in place prohibiting cooking with an open flame under a tent, but cooking with other heat sources is permitted.

Parr said most people are already following the tent rule and making sure the shelters are flame rated.

And yes, the Collingwood Fire Department’s tent is fire-resistant.

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