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DISCLAIMER
This page contains guidelines related to fire safety specifically related to "fire dancing", which may also be referred to as "fire arts", "flame dancing", "fire spinning", "flame spinning", "fire twirling", "flame twirling", etc. The information presented here is not intended to be a comprehensive reference. It is extremely important to seek information from multiple references. Flamma Aeterna, L.L.C. makes no guarantee as to the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information. Neither Flamma Aeterna, L.L.C. nor any of its representatives, nor its subsidiaries, nor any of the sources of the information, shall be responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the use or result obtained from the use of this information.
Fire Safety
"Playing" with fire is a dangerous pastime. Fire Mecca believes in the importance of presenting both technical information and philosophical preferences, the latter of which is often missing in fire safety education in the fire dancing industry. Having a well-adjusted mental outlook on safety is just as important as having the tools and rules. Click here for the latest Fire Safety Guidelines and Fire Mecca Rules in outline form.
Know the Law
The best way to find out if you are within your rights to "light up" in any given location is to call the Fire Department. Some fire departments have an inspector who is responsible for checking indoor and outdoor venues for fire safety, others refer you to the Fire Marshall. If you intend to perform in public locations or indoors, develop a personal or business relationship with your contact at the fire department.
Know Your Body: Kinesthetic Awareness

It is not uncommon for fire arts performers to push the limits of their bodies; the desire to entertain our audiences, and play and compete with our peers keeps us going when sometimes we should take a break. Understand your state of health and your state of mind, and become aware of your limits. If you are tired, inebriated, or otherwise mentally, physically, or emotionally sub-par, consider not working with fire until you are rejuvenated. Be aware of your skill level, and practice movements without fire until you and your peers are comfortable with you making the transition to using them with fire.

Know Your Surroundings

Become a good judge of your environment. An uncontrolled audience, dry vegetation, and slippery stages are examples of unsafe surroundings that you should at least be aware of, even if you decide to continue and use fire. Have contingencies for potentially hazardous situations; an unruly audience may call for barricades or a larger-than-usual separation from the performance; dry vegetation may call for a modification of the fuels used, the safety set-up, or the set choreography; a slippery stage may require cleaning, a change of fuels, or a change of footwear. Know your audience, know your partners, and know your environment.

Know Your Props and Equipment

Your props include more than just your firedancing tools; they also include your clothing and accessories. Consider clothing, such as cotton or leather, that will not melt. Clothing and accessories should normally be devoid of frays, fur, and other elements that might catch on fire easily. Accessories should not impede your ability to control your fire prop. If you feel it necessary, protect your hair with a bandana, skull cap, or something similar. However you decide to costume yourself, make sure that you and your safety crew become familiar with how flame and heat affect the materials you are wearing, and how best to react an the case of an accident.

Check your fire props before every performance, and, preferably, before every set. On poi, check your connectors, handles, tightening quicklinks and replacing damaged handles. On staves and batons, make sure your screws and bolts are not loose. The use of sub-standard equipment in performances is all too common; the safety of you and your audience is worth the extra time, effort, and cost to make sure that your equipment is in good shape.

Know Your Fuels

Disclaimer: we make no suggestion of what specific fuels should be used; Inhaling fuel vapors, ingesting fuel, and excessive contact with fuels may be hazardous to your health.

This subject could take pages, as many fuels are available, and opinions abounds on what fuel is best for any given situation. If you are part of a group, research any fuel that you are asked to use, and communicate with your peers if you are uncomfortable with its use. If you perform alone, research fuels to find out what is best for your situation. Fuels vary in flash point (the lowest temperature at which a liquid will ignite), volatility (the rate that something evaporates), and toxicity. The most common fuels are white gas, lamp oil, and kerosene. For beginners, we suggest fuels with a low volatility that are as pure as possible; these fuels will be less toxic and will be less likely to accidentally ignite.

Know Your Safety Set-up

Every individual and group has a different idea of what should be required for a safety set-up. We suggest, at a minimum, that you have one person operating a damp towel who is your safety, and whose attention is solely focused on you. A towel is useful in helping untangle a performer if their equipment gets caught, for putting out clothing that catches on fire, and the water helps carry damaging heat away from your equipment once it has been extinguished. In situations where water is not readily available, Duvetyne, Commando Cloth, and fire blankets are commonly used as safety and extinguishing devices.

Take your safety set-up seriously, and be aware of any regulations your Fire Department or Risk Management Department may have concerning the safe use and storage of fuels, proximity of audience members, barricading of the performance, safety, and preparation areas, and so on. Knowing and respecting stage set-up will garner respect with venue owners, general managers, and your fire department.

  • A fire extinguisher should be present in the case of fuel spills or rapidly spreading fire. Almost any or fire department or venue would require you to have one for public performances.

  • Make sure that you have enough safety personnel to monitor the performance from multiple angles, especially if there are multiple performers; one towel can only handle one emergency at a time, and one set of eyes can only see one side of a performance.

  • Make sure your audience is far enough away that errant equipment will not endanger them, and also so that they are not in the way of safety personnel or preparing performers.

  • Make sure your crew is sober and coherent.

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