A nonprofit publication of theKentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Keven Moore: As the pandemic continues, are temporary outdoor dining structures really safe?

As a second surge of COVID-19 cases spreads across Kentucky, indoor dining is once again restricted. As the weather begins to turn colder, restaurants in a last-ditch effort to survive are scrambling to erect tents to continue to serve patrons in an outdoor dining environment.

I respect their efforts and up until now, restaurants have been able to rely on their sidewalks and outdoor patios to allow their patrons to properly social distance. However, they are now looking for ways to provide greater distance and warmth for their outdoor patrons, as many jurisdictions have allowed the use of tents among restaurants and other businesses.


然而,像小男孩在布鲁斯·威利斯米ovie “The Sixth Sense,” as a risk management and safety professional, I see dangers everywhere and it’s not just an airborne virus.


In the early 1990s, while in college at Eastern Kentucky University working on my Masters in Loss Prevention and Safety, we all learned of all the man-made disasters and tragedies that helped form my profession and countless safety standards and fire codes.

在这种情况下最大的一个悲剧是哈特福德马戏团,于1944年7月6日在康涅狄格州哈特福德发生。在Ringling Bros.和Barnum&Bailey马戏团表演期间,火灾爆发了6,000至8,000人出席。它是美国历史上最严重的火灾灾害之一,造成167人并损害700多人。火灾的起源从未确定过,但被怀疑是纵火或不小心丢弃的卷烟。

Because of the paraffin wax waterproofing of the tent, the flames spread rapidly, helped by the wind. The waterproofing indeed protected the tent from the rain, but it was extremely flammable. Many people were badly burned by the melting paraffin, which rained down from the roof. The fiery tent collapsed in about eight minutes according to eyewitness survivors, trapping hundreds of spectators beneath it.

Because these tents are temporary structures, many assume that precautions for fire protection and life safety aren’t needed since these structures are outdoors.

According to a National Fire Protection Association article dated July 20, when erecting a tent or membrane structure, multiple safety precautions must be followed. Restaurants, businesses, or other groups planning to use a tent must contact their local and state authority having jurisdiction and that all applicable requirements should be followed; all plans for tent usage should be reviewed by a qualified person.

NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, and NFPA 1, Fire Code, contain requirements that address the use of tents and membrane structures, including a provision stating that tents can only be used temporarily and should not be erected for more than 180 days. Also, the means of egress must comply with the requirements for the occupancy of the tent. Additional egress features should include exit markings and emergency lighting within the tent, along with measures to ensure that exits from the tent cannot be blocked.

NFPA 1和NFPA 101都要求帐篷材料满足NFPA 701的火焰传播性能要求,纺织品和薄膜火焰传播的火焰传播的标准火试验方法。这是测试组织对帐篷织物的测试,如果结构通过测试,则会发出证书。

Keven Moore在风险管理服务中工作。他拥有肯塔基大学大学的学士学位,从肯塔基州东部大学和25多年的安全和保险业业经验。他也是一个专家证人。他和他的家人住在列克星敦,并在列克星敦和肯塔基州北部作品。可携带宠物kmoore@roeding.com.


临时structures that are not required to obtain a KTS model approval letter are tents used for recreational camping; individual fabric canopies which are open on all sides having a maximum size of 700 sq. ft. or multiple canopies placed side by side not exceeding 700 sq. ft; and temporary structures utilized for a private event as defined by the Kentucky Building Code.

Here are some additional safety considerations to be taken into account when erecting these temporary outdoor dining structures.

• All tentsand membrane structure locations must be approved by the AHJ, who could be the local building department or fire department official in charge of inspecting and approving the use of the structure.

• All tentsand membrane structures should not block fire department access and should not be located too close to other buildings or lot lines.

• All tents膜结构不应阻挡来自其他建筑物的出口手段。

• All tentsand membrane structures should have at least a 10 ft (3 m) distance around the tent that is free of combustible material and all combustible waste should not be stored within 30 feet from the temporary structure.

• All tents膜结构应在多个帐篷的桩基之间保持至少10英尺(3米)的距离,以提供来自帐篷的出口的手段。

• All tentsand membrane structures should maintain adequate emergency exit access from the restaurant or business that was in place before the placement of the outside tents or membrane structures must be maintained.

• All tentsand membrane structures must be adequately roped, braced, and anchored to withstand prevalent weather conditions. All tents and membrane structures should be properly secure in case of wind (40MPH basic wind speed and 90 mph 3-second gust).

• 号码帐篷或膜结构所需的出口是由规则设定的,并取决于乘员负荷并由您的AHJ批准。他们都应该被标记和点燃。

• Egress pathways在帐篷内部必须始终保持清晰,畅通无阻(包括电线,绳索,GUY电线和锚)。

• Aisle waysinside the tents and membrane structures must be provided from seating areas and must remain unobstructed and should have a minimum width of no less than 44 inches.

• All tentsand membrane structures should have a permanently affixed label bearing the tent or membrane structure size and fabric or material type.

• In addition要贴上标签,帐篷和膜结构的所有者应具有证明符合国家防火协会(NFPA)701 ASTM E84测试要求的文件。

• All tentsand other membrane structures should be flame retardant and comply with Chapter 31 of the 2015 International Fire Code standards.

• Smoking should notbe permitted in tents or membrane structures and “no smoking signs must be posted. Open flames.


•灭火器should be accessible within 75 feet walking distance and their locations identified inside the tent.

• Open flames除非被消防码官员批准,否则也不允许在任何帐篷或膜结构的任何帐篷或膜结构中允许。为此目的,术语“开放式火焰”包括蜡烛和/或任何发射火焰火或热量的装置。

•发电机和other internal combustion power sources including liquid fuel for diesel fuel, must also be isolated from contact with the public by fencing, enclosure, or other approved means.

• All flammable gas应标记液体,适当地储存以防止意外倒装和固定以防止篡改。

•户外便携式gas-fired heating appliances are prohibited in tents and membrane structures.

• Electrical heating来源必须遵守NFPA 70。

• Outdoor cookingthat produces sparks or grease-laden vapors cannot be performed within 20 feet of a tent or membrane structure.


• LP-gas equipment必须遵守O.F.C.规则61和国际燃料气体代码,必须通过指定的距离与帐篷和膜结构分开,这取决于容器的尺寸。

• Temporary electricalwiring must comply with the National Electric Code (NEC).

• All electrical cordsmust be protected from GFCI, even those connected to portable generators.

Be safe, my friends.


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