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Party/fiesta tent guidance for safe use

Lightweight and easy to maintain, plastic framed party type tents have become a good value option to traditional canvas mess tents – however the type of use for them needs to be considered carefully.


(Published April 2022, replacing June 2019)

This guidance will raise awareness of some of the hazards surrounding the use of large, frame based tents to help you assess the risks and work out suitable controls required.

Scouting often uses lightweight, plastic material tentage away as well as traditional heavier canvas tents such as mess tents, patrol tents etc. Lightweight tents are also used extensively at large scale events and often referred to as ‘Fiesta’ or ‘Party’ tents.

There have been several incidents with party tents where sudden, short term bad weather circumstances have led to injury or damage.

The Scouts requires members to undertake and record a risk assessment for all activities and events to determine what is, or is not, safe for their circumstances.

Good information, instruction and training will help you manage and control some of the risks such as:

  • the skill and competence of the persons erecting the tent
  • the age or quality of the equipment
  • the suitability of the equipment for the event
  • anchoring the tent safely

Other elements, such as weather conditions, are obviously not in your control but MUST be considered.  Risk assessment requires you to consider what is reasonably foreseeable (i.e. rack your brains and think of all the things that could go wrong) and to be objective in the assessment.

What actions will “control" the risk? (i.e. eliminate or reduce the risk).

Here are some common hazards:

Construction Tips:

Monitoring (dynamic risk assessment)

Once the tent is up, ensure leaders are weather watching, considering the potential risk from changing conditions and heavy use.  This should form part of the briefing from the leader in charge.

Risk assessment

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