Fire Regulations for Seattle

As interpreted for NWAA artists by Lt. Tom Heun, Seattle Fire Department

Participating show artists MUST be compliant with Seattle Fire Regulations. If your booth is the problem and you can’t easily fix it, you will be asked to leave and your booth fees will not be refunded. 

A single booth out of compliance with Seattle Fire regulations can shut down the entire show. 


All cloth, etc. hung from walls or ceiling (drapes, table coverings, signs, split bamboo, plastic displays, decorative materials and the like) must be certified fire resistant. See “Specifically approved” below before panicking.

Things that can’t be flame proofed like oilcloth, tarpaper, sisal paper, nylon and certain other synthetic materials are prohibited. Burlap, dried flowers and other dried organic materials are also prohibited unless they are part of the product being sold.

Fabric meeting electricity or hot lights is the fire department’s main concern. Seattle Fire Code says all fabric within 18 inches of an ignition source must be fire resistant. The Fire Department notes that since you cannot control what happens in your neighbor’s booth, your walls must be fire resistant, even if you are not using electricity yourself. 

If your fabric is not inherently fire retardant (IFR), you must pay a qualified vendor to fire proof it for you and your certificate is only good for 1 year. If you had fabric treated last year and haven’t washed it, ask the certifier if they can just renew your certificate, rather than re-treating the fabric. This is much cheaper and they may do it if they can still feel the treatment in the cloth. 

You must bring a copy of the certificate with you and have it visible in your booth 2 hours prior to the show opening, even if you are not there.

Specifically approved:

  • Pro panels are fine, no fire-proofing needed
  • The white sides of most pop-ups are fine: there should be an IFR tag in them somewhere
  • Pole and Drape rented through our supplier
    • IFR fabrics like Polysheen, banjo cloth and the like should have an IFR certificate or labels sewn in the drapes. Be sure you get the certificate if you purchase IFR yardage. It should say it meets “NFPA 701”.
    • Since IFR can’t be removed in laundering, this certificate is good for the life of the fabric, not just a year.
  • Signage (paper, vinyl etc.) which covers less than 25% of the area of the booth wall and is separated from the adjacent booth by a certified flame retardant drape and is not within 18 inches of power cords, lights or other ignition sources on your side of the booth (regardless of what your neighbor does).
  • a reasonable amount of wrapping paper and other packaging materials under your front counter

No canopy or ceiling is allowed on your booth at indoor venues without a special permit. Up to 16 sq. ft. of certified fire retardant fabric covering a dressing room is allowed, as a shield from the security cameras in the ceiling at some venues.


  • Cable tie or otherwise secure any lamps that might fall, especially clamp lamps
  • Make your electric cords neat and tidy and use the thicker, outdoor approved cords if you can.

For further information see: Flame-ProofingandStorage.pdf