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Parade Rules and Regulations

as established by the

Connecticut Parade Marshal Association

Table of Contents
1.    Who are the Members
2.    Who can be a Judge
3.    Parades - General
4.    Parade Formation
5.    Judging of Parades
6.    Judges
7.    Marching and Maneuvering
8.    Uniforms
9.    Color Guard
10.    General Effect
11.    Ladies Auxiliary / Juniors
12.    Apparatus
13.    Overall
14.    Final Score
15.    Host Unit Responsibilities
16.    Required Trophies or Awards

The membership of the Connecticut Parade Marshal Association is made up of the paid and volunteer fire departments, fire companies, and rescue squads of Connecticut.
One of the goals of the C.P.M.A. and its member units is the improvement of the image of the fire service though the medium of the firemen's parade.
The standardization of the rules governing the firemen's parade, and their impartial enforcement by the judges, are but two of the tools used towards this goal.

A panel of judges is selected from the member units of the C.P.M.A. It is their job to see that the parade rules are complied with and to note all infractions, thereby determining the scores, and winners, in the various categories. 
The judges are required to devote many hours to formal schooling before going "on the street". 
Their method of judging must conform to the C.P.M.A. standards and their performance as a judge is under continual scrutiny. 
For information about the C.P.M.A. and judging, contact the association secretary.

a.    Starting time for all parades will not be before noon nor later than 7:15 p.m. Cancellation notice will be issued via local radio stations and County Call radio no later than two hours before the scheduled starting time.
b.    Parade route will not exceed two (2) miles. The convention excluded.
c.    Parades will start at the scheduled starting time. Units arriving after the parade has started will fall in at the end of the parade regardless of their previously assigned position.
d.    Signs announcing the reviewing stand will be posted on the right hand side of the line of march at a minimum of four hundred (400) feet before the stand. All reviewing stands will be on the right hand side of the line of march.
e.    In the event of an alarm of fire or ambulance call, all units will move to the right hand side of the road until all emergency vehicles have passed.
f.    The host unit should request parade judges preferably by the March meeting. In no case later than (6) weeks prior to the parade date.
9.    The host unit must provide separate music judges for the parade.
h     Host units shall award trophies no later than 2 hours after completion of the parade, providing the judges have completed their scoring.         

a.      The lead unit of each division will march at a distance of approx fifty (50) feet from the previous division.
b.      Units within a division will follow the previous unit at a maximum distance of approximately fifty (50) feet and a minimum distance of approximately twenty (20) feet. A deliberate delay by a unit of 90 seconds or more or a deliberate stop which causes the unit behind them to stop will constitute a violation of sections a and b and subject said unit to a 1.0 point penalty.
c.      Formation of a respective unit shall be as follows: music (if any), colors and color guard, Chiefs and Officers, unit body, ladies auxiliary, juniors, junior auxiliary, apparatus. All segments of the unit will be approximately ten (10) feet apart. (Penalty for violation is 1.0 points) A company banner can appear anywhere in the line of march.
d.      When a unit has thirty (30) fire fighters or less marching it may march single file. When a unit has more than thirty (30) firefighters marching it must not march in less than two (2) files. The color guard is not included in the above figures. (Penalty for violation - 1.0 points)
e.      A representative of the host unit will lead the first division.

a.       To compete for any parade prize or trophy, a fire unit must have six (6) fire fighters or more marching excluding color guard. Apparatus, auxiliary, Juniors, Color Guards and musical awards are excluded under the requirements of this rule.
b.       Any unit conducting themselves during the parade in such a manner as to bring discredit to themselves or the fire service as a whole shall disqualify their unit from competing for parade prizes or trophies.
C.       The sounding of sirens and/or air horns shall be banned except in the event of an emergency along the entire line of march. Violators of this rule will be disqualified and will not be able to compete for any parade prizes or trophies.
d.       Units arriving after the parade has started will fall in at the end of the parade regardless of their previously assigned position. In the event a unit falls in another position they will be marked by the judges as being in the wrong position. (Penalty for violation - 1.0 point)
e.       The use of alcoholic beverages, use of abusive or profane language, or use of water upon one another or upon the spectators will constitute a violation and subject said unit to disqualification.
f.        Participating units will make every effort to have its members march the entire parade route. Penalty for violation is 0.50 points.
g.        Maneuvering that will obstruct the forward motion of the parade is a violation. Drilling while the parade is temporarily halted is permitted with a time limit of one and one half minutes. This rule applies every segment in the unit including music and the fire unit is responsible for their respective musical unit. (Penalty for violation - 1.00 point)
h.      Ranks will be maintained at all times during the parade including during a temporary halt when a unit is at ease. (Penalty for violation- 1.00 point)
i.      Only uniformed department members, uniformed ladies auxiliary members, and uniformed junior auxiliary members will appear in the line of march. Exception will be fire mascots, clergy and military. Each non-uniformed person appearing in the line march will subject said unit to a 0.20 point penalty. (Costumed figures such a Sparky will be excluded from rules h and i)
a.      Judges will be selected from the panel of judges established by the association. Judges must belong to a member unit and be at least 18 years of age. Only four (4) judges are allowed per member unit.
b.      Judges will serve without compensation at association sanctioned parades.
c.      A person who competes in a given parade will not be permitted to serve as a judge at the same parade.
d.      In order for a member unit to have an association sanctioned parade, judges from the association panel must be utilized.
e.      If association judges are requested by the host unit, said judges will judge all fire department categories.
f.      All judging in an association sanctioned parade will he done in the immediate area of the reviewing stand.
g.      In the event of conflicting parade dates between member unit and a non member unit, the member unit will receive preference over the non member unit.

a.       The ranks will be even and abreast.
b.       The file (s) will be, straight.
c.       Cadence will be maintained.
d.       Arm swing will be natural, except when an accentuated arm swing is uniform through out the unit.
e.       A military decorum will be maintained.
f.       Any talking, horse-play, chewing gum or any actions that will detract from a military decorum will not be permitted. The officer in charge of the unit will render a hand salute to the reviewing stand. The remainder of the unit may salute in any other approved manner. (Penalty for violation --0.50 points)
A ten point maximum is awarded this caption. Any and all violations will be noted and each violation will subject said unit to a 0.10 penalty. The total penalty points will then be subtracted from the ten (10) point maximum.

a.       All pieces of clothing will be identical throughout each segment of a unit (i.e. the hat, coat or jacket, shirt, trousers, skirts, shoes, socks, hosiery, etc.).
b.       All accessories, including badges, must be identical. Patches for earned achievements will be allowed, but must appear in the same location on the uniform.
c.       Officers are allowed different accessories to designate their office.
d.       Gloves, if worn, must prevail throughout the segment. Apparatus drivers will be excluded
e.       Sunglasses, other than prescription, will not be worn.
f        The color guard and/or junior auxiliary may wear a different uniform than the officers and unit body but uniformity must prevail within each segment.
g.       No jewelry will be allowed except petite earrings, wedding bands, and watches.
h.      Pagers and EMT kits will be permitted, but all such items must appear in the same location. Their condition will be judged.
A ten point maximum is awarded this caption. Any and all violations will be noted and each violation will subject said unit to a 0.10 penalty. The total penalty points will then be subtracted from the ten (10) point maximum.

a.      A basic color guard will consist of the National Colors guarded by two armed guards.
b.      The addition of more flags and/or guards will add to the score of a guard.
c.      Flags will be carried unfurled at all times except during rainy conditions. (must fly freely)
d.      The National Flag Code dictates that no other flag in a guard will fly higher than the Colors, nor will the staff of another flag be higher than the one bearing the Colors.
e.      The Colors will never be preceded in the line of march by another flag of the same guard.
f.      The Colors will not be dipped in salute at any time.
9.      The Colors will not be moved in a movement to the rear.
h.      A color guard is required to render a salute to the reviewing stand after the guard has entered the judging area. The salute will be held until the guard has passed the reviewing stand and the salute will be recovered within fifty (50) feet after passing the reviewing stand.
i.      A color guard must be comprised of members of the unit with which it is marching.

A basic color guard is awarded five (5) points. Each additional man relative to the guard will be an additional 0.05 point. Maximum number of men in a guard will not exceed eight (8), All marching and maneuvering and uniform violations will be noted and subject said color guard to a 0.10 penalty for each violation. Said penalty points will be deducted from the guards basic score. Penalty for exceeding the maximum number of men in a guard is 0.50 point.
A unit with no color guard will receive a score of 2.00. A unit with a violation of subsection (a) will constitute a penalty and receive a fixed score of 3.00 points. A violation of subsections (d), (e), (f), or (g) will subject said guard to a one (1.00) point penalty. A violation of subsections (c) or (h) will subject said guard to a 0.50 point penalty.

This caption relies on the discretion of the judge. The judge must determine the units marching ability, uniform appearance, and general showmanship plus give credit for the number of marchers.
a.       Scoring - color guard
No Color Guard      5.0
Unguarded Colors     6.0
Range     6.5 to 7.5
b.       Uniform & Marching            6.5 to 7.5
c.       Drill
Straight Through     6.00 Basic
Eyes Right    6.25 Basic
Officers 4 or more    6.50 Basic
Company Movement    6.75 to 7.50
d.       Numbers (Excluding Color Guard &Apparatus)
6 to 9       4.50
10 to 15     5.50
16 to 25     6.50
26 and up    7.50
All scores from sections a-d are added together and then divided by 5 for a final score for the men.
e.       Numbers for Ladies and Juniors                                
5 persons    6.5
6 persons     6.6
7 persons    6.7
8 persons    6.8
9 persons    6.9
10 persons    7.0
11 persons    7.1
12 persons     7.2
13 persons    7.3
14 persons    7.4
15 or more    7.5
f.       All scores from b-d are added together and then divided by four for final score for ladies or juniors
g.       If ladies or junior auxiliary have a color guard and properly guarded 0.10 points is added to their drill score.

a.       To compete, a Ladies Auxiliary or Junior unit must have five (5) or more marching.
b.       All Marching and Maneuvering rules will apply to this segment. Refer to Section 7.
c.       All Uniform rules will apply to this segment. Refer to Section 8.
d.       All appropriate rules from General Effect will apply to this segment. Refer to Section10.
e.       Maneuvering that will obstruct the forward motion of the parade is a violation. Drilling while the parade is temporarily halted is permitted with a time limit of one and one half minutes. (Penalty for violation - 1.0 point) Refer to Paragraph 5.g.

a.      Apparatus is judged on appearance primarily as a fire vehicle. Minor consideration will be given to decorations that do not interfere with the function of the vehicle.
b.      Visible condition of all equipment on the apparatus will be considered
c.      The exterior of the apparatus and all associated equipment will be exceptionally clean.
d.      A certain amount of road dirt on the undercarriage is taken in consideration.
e.      Alcoholic containers on an apparatus will disqualify the piece. Closed coolers will be permitted.
f.      Sounding sirens or air horns in the line of march will disqualify the entire unit including marchers. (Paragraph 5C)
g.      Only a driver is required to be on a piece of apparatus.
h.      More than five (5) individuals on the vehicle will constitute a violation resulting a 1.0 point penalty. 
i.      Any non-uniformed personnel on the apparatus will constitute a violation resulting in a 0.20 point penalty per person.
j.      Each truck is judged within a 1.00 point range based upon 6.00 for antique hand or horse drawn, 7.00 for antique motorized, or 8.00 for front line pieces .  
k.      No score will be given to any vehicle brought through the reviewing area without its own wheels being on the ground.

This caption was instituted to award points to a unit for its contribution to the parade as a whole. The scoring is based on a units physical contributions only.
a.       Musical Unit - A fire unit is awarded .4 point for having a musical unit as an escort.
b.       Fire Fighters - Only ten men will count on apparatus (except for most fire fighters inline of march)                   
6 - 19    0.1
20 - 29    0.2
30 - 39    0.3
40 - 49    0.4
50 - 59    0.5
c.       Women / Juniors
5 - 19    0.1
20 - 29      0.2
30 - 39     0.3
d.       Apparatus - A fire unit is awarded .2 points for each piece of apparatus appearing in the parade. (Max of 0.4 points for this category). This includes motorized, hand drawn, and horse drawn, but it must be or must have been a usable piece of apparatus. Chief cars or other vehicles which carry rescue or similar apparatus will be counted.

a.      Men -- A composite of section 7, 8, 9, 10 and 13.
b.      Women -- A composite of sections 7,8 and 10.
c.      Apparatus -- The final score of section 12.


a.     Five copies of the list of trophies will be provided to the judges no later than one hour before scheduled starting time of the parade.

b.     Five copies of the parade lineup of participating units will be provided to the judges no later than one hour before the scheduled starting time of the parade.
c.     Provide the judges with facilities reserved for their exclusive use for the tabulation of scores after the parade.
d.     Provide a reviewing stand with an American Flag on display. The reviewing stand will be on the right hand side of the line of march. 
e.     Provide judges for judging musical bands.
f.     Provide signs announcing the reviewing stand on the right hand side of the line of march at four hundred (400) feet before the stand.
g.     Provide judges with parking area and transportation to and from the reviewing stand area. 
h.     Provide judges with refreshments.
i.     The host unit will submit a list of their trophies or awards to the association secretary no later than two (2) weeks prior to their parade date.

(For Association Sanctioned Parade)
a.     Best Overall Fire Unit - The winner of this award is not eligible for any other adjudged award providing the remaining units qualify for awards.
b.     Best Appearing Apparatus
c.     Best Appearing Fire Unit in Coats
d.     Best Appearing Fire Unit in Shirts
e.     Best Appearing Fire Unit (15 or under)
f.     Best Appearing Fire Unit without Music
g.     Best Appearing Ladies Auxiliary
h.     Best Appearing Junior Fire Unit
i.     Best Appearing Firemen's Color Guard
j.     Most Men in Line
k.     Unit Coming the Longest Distance
l.     Best Overall Musical Unit
m.     First Runner-up Musical Unit

a. Best Overall Fire Unit *
b. Best Appearing Apparatus *
c. Best Appearing Fire Unit in Coats
d. Best Appearing Fire Unit in Coats Runner-up
e. Best Appearing Fire Unit in Shirts
f. Best Appearing Fire Unit in Shirts Runner-up
g. Best Appearing Fire Unit 15 or Less
h. Best Appearing Fire Unit Without Music
I. Best Appearing Fire Unit Color Guard
j. Best Appearing Ladies Auxiliary
k. Best Appearing Ladies Auxiliary Runner-up
l. Best Appearing Junior Unit
m. Best Appearing Junior Unit Runner-up
n. Best Appearing Aerial Unit
o. Best Appearing Custom
p. Best Appearing Commercial
q. Best Appearing Tanker
r. Best Appearing Engine Tanker
s. Best Appearing Rescue
t. Best Appearing Brush Truck
u. Best Appearing Mini-Pumper
v. Best Appearing Antique Motorized
w. Best Appearing Non-Motorized
x. Most Firefighters in Line
y. Unit Coming the Longest Distance
z. Best Overall Musical Unit
aa. First Runner-up Musical Unit

* Must qualify in 3 parades for End of year awards and CPMA flag, best overall fire unit and/or, best appearing apparatus

Revised edition of CPMA Parade Rules Approved January 24, 2015


Last Updated (Thursday March 15, 2012)