Fire & Strings takes safety very seriously. All of our performers carry liability insurance through Clowns of the US, and we strive to meet and exceed safety regulations for "proximate performance with fire before a live audience" at all of our scheduled performances.
Our number one priority is the safety of our audience, followed by the integrity of the venue itself. Our performers are at risk, but they voluntarily take that risk upon themselves. Fire & Strings works very closely with promoters, venues, and fire officials to ensure that risk is not forced upon others.
Below is an overview of the tools, fuels, safety equipment and safety procedures used by our fire team.
Required Information: Before the show, driving directions to the nearest hospital and/or emergency room must be documented. A designated driver and vehicle will be onhand with a clear route out of the venue area before the show begins.
Advance Walkthrough: Our fire safety team members must conduct a location walkthrough at least 6 hours in advance of the show to determine if fire is practical and safe. They will look at such factors as clear, well-marked exits, ventilation, fire alarms and sprinkler systems, ceiling height, construction materials' flammability, and other environmental and safety considerations. Once our team and the client agree that a fire show is possible, we will begin our own fire safety preparations.
Space Requirements: Our Fire Show requires three important and distinct areas: Performance Area, Fuel Station and Spinout Zone. The fuel station and spinout zone will be clearly marked with NO SMOKING signs (which our fire safety team will provide). Our fire performers will light and dance with their fire tools within the performance area (or stage). All fuel containers will be located in the fuel station. Performers will return to this area frequently to dip their tools. Performers will "spin off" all excess fuel from their wicks in the Spinout Zone.
Safe Distances: The front edge of the Performance Area must be at least 15 feet from the audience. There must be unimpeded passage from the Fuel Station and Spinout Zone to the stage. The Fuel Station and Spinout Zone must be at least 15 feet from the stage. The Fuel Station and Spinout Zone must be free of traffic. While the fuel station is "hot" (fuel is in place), these areas must be restricted to our fire performers and safety team members only. Our fire team may erect temporary physical barriers to more clearly demarcate these areas.
Equipment: At the fuel station, our fire team will arrange fire tools and organize and contain fuels with metal dip cans, drip pans and other fueling equipment. Also located in the Fuel Station will be any or all of the following: NO SMOKING signs, orange construction cones, caution tape, fire extinguishers, duvetine (flame retardant fabric) and other safety equipment.
Fuels: The fuel used for most fire performances is Coleman Camping Fuel (also known as "white gas" or "naptha"). Fire breathers use 99% pure Lamp Oil (liquid paraffin). On site, all white gas is stored in secure containers. When preparing a tool for performance, a minimal amount of white gas is poured into empty one-gallon paint cans, into which performers dip their wicks. The dip can is placed inside a 5-gallon drip pan to further ensure no fuel is spilled.
Tools: Our show may use one or more of the following fire tools: fire poi (wicks on chains), fire staffs, fire fans, fire fingers and hand torches. These tools are constructed with materials that far exceed the stresses of performance. Most wicks are made of kevlar. All tools are inspected prior to every show. Any visible signs of wick decomposition, loose fasteners or frayed grips disqualifies the use of that tool for that performance.
Performance: Prior to entering the Performance Area, a performer will dip fire tools into the dip cans and enter the spin out zone to spin out all excess fuel until no spray emits from the tool. White gas evaporates very quickly, so the spin out zone is usually dry in under a minute. The performer then goes to the stage and checks in with one of the Safety Team. Only when the Safety Team has approved the performer, costume and tool, may the performer go on stage. Fire Safety Team members monitor the performance and are prepared to act to forestall any potential emergencies. Once the performance is complete, the performer returns to the fuel station to stow the fire tool. Fire breathers will go on stage with a duvetyne or treated cotton towel to wipe away excess lamp oil between fire bursts. We reserve the right to refrain from any fire act that the fire team considers unsafe for any reason, including environmental factors that may arise during the show.
Safety Protocol: Our performers and fire safety team wear only vinyl, leather, silk, denim, cotton and other materials treated with flame retardant spray. All costume materials are flame tested and shown to be safe. Onstage, fire performers and safety team never wear fur, fake fur, feathers, polyester, lace, or any other materials proven unsafe in fire performance.
At least one trained Fire Safety Team Member will be present for each active fire performer at every show. There is at minimum one safety either on or beside the stage for each simultaneous fire performer on stage. Additionally, one fire safety is typically posted by the fuel station and spin-out zone.
Additional fire safety equipment includes chemical extinguishers, duvetyne cloth and buckets with damp towels. Fire extinguishers are inspected frequently and must have current tags.
Every fire safety team member carries a damp and/or fire-treated towel or an equivalent piece of duvetyne, which is used to extinguish fire tools at the end of a performance. Buckets with damp towels are readily available near the stage, fuel station and spinout zone. The fire safety team member stationed at the fuel station and spin-out zone has a fire extinguisher on hand at all times. This safetyperson helps the performers dip their fire tools, keeps the fuel station organized, and prevents unauthorized persons from entering the fuel station or spin-out zones or smoking in the vicinity.
All fire performers and fire safety team members have been trained in fire extinguisher usage, identifying types of fires and the proper extinguisher to utilize for each type, basic burn first aid including identification and first response burn care, and at least 1 person is trained in CPR.
Please contact Kevin K' Wiley with any questions or for more information.