Fire Performance Safety 101

Fire Performance Safety 101
Ariel Begley
October 2023

There are four essential safety rules to follow for any fire performance:

1) ALWAYS have a dedicated fire safety (or safeties).

  • Your fire safety/safeties should be equipped with the appropriate materials to put out flame (e.g. duvetyne fire blanket, damp cotton towel, fire extinguisher, etc.) and wear fire-safe attire.
  • During the performance, fire safeties should be exclusively focused on maintaining the safety of performer(s), audience members, and the premises.
  • Fire safeties should be ready to intervene if any audience members attempt to enter the performance area. Reminder, any audience participation when fire is present is NOT covered.
  • Discuss a communication plan with your fire safeties before each performance so all parties know what to do in case of an unintended fire.

2) Establish 3 separate and clearly defined areas: Performance area, fueling station, and prop spin-off zone.

  • Ensure your performance area is a clearly defined space separate from the audience/general public.
  • Ensure your fuel station and spin-off zone are a safe distance from your audience and performance area. The fuel station should be closely monitored anytime fuel is present.
  • Never smoke/have an open flame in the fuel storage area. Keep all fuel in sealed metal containers.
  • Any fuel not actively being used should be stored in sealed metal containers.
  • Never spin-off your props inside unless you first wrap the wicks in zip-lock bags to collect the excess fuel. After spinning off your prop, you should always pour the collected excess fuel back into sealed metal containers.

3) Familiarize yourself with the event location and check for possible hazards before every performance.

  • Upon arrival to your event/venue, set the locations for your performance, fueling, and spin-off zones. Be sure to check the performance location for flammables or hazards. Be aware of uneven terrain, low- hanging trees, dry leaves, etc.
  • If performing outside, be sure to assess wind conditions and adjust performances as necessary to ensure the safety of the performers, audience, and venue.
  • Always know your emergency exit route in case of emergency.
  • Familiarize yourself with any local fire bans or regulations/permits that may be required.
  • If you’re not comfortable with weather or event/venue conditions, do not perform with fire.

4) Ensure your equipment, costuming, fuels, and physical/mental state is ready for each performance.

  • Equipment - Check props to ensure they are safe for performance prior to every show.
  • Costuming - Wear natural fibers and/or fire-resistant clothes. Beware of synthetic fabrics that will melt when touched to a flame. When using hair or make-up products, always check the bottle for any high flammability risks (e.g. hairspray, synthetic eyelashes, etc.).
  • Fuel - Appropriate fuels for fire performers include but are not limited to: Lighter fluid, Coleman camping fuel (white gas), isopropyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, and paraffin/lamp oil/kerosene. Never use automotive gasoline (Petrol).
  • Physical/mental state - Before stepping onto the stage for any performance, first make sure you are mentally and physically prepared to perform. NEVER handle fire while under the influence.

Please note, Specialty Insurance Agency expects insured fire performers to be in control of their performance flame at all times. The use of any pyrotechnics, flame throwers, devices that propel flame, or lit projectiles away from the control of the performer are excluded from coverage.

Flame with sparkles on a purple background