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Fire Safety

Fire Safety

So you’ve been spinning and juggling for awhile, and now your looking for the next level, the next thrill, and a splash more danger. Fire spinning is definitely that step up. It pushes your awareness and comfort levels with your prop, while giving you the option to spin and play into the night. The sight and sound of someone spinning fire can be hypnotic and magical, and the control a skilled performer exercises over the flames is mesmerising enough to make everyone want to try it. However, this skill and control comes over time, through much practice, and by following many (if not all) of the points in our safety guidelines.

Fire Safety

  • Cascade Juggling accept no responsibility for any damage to property, injury to persons or death caused by using fire performance equipment or by practising or performing with fire props. Any customer or end user who accepts these risks, also accepts responsibility.
  • Please note that Cascade Juggling will only sell fire props to adults aged 18 or more. Fire performance should only be practised by those with a competent level in the relevant props.

Before you start

  • Practice with your prop unlit till you are feeling highly competent and have a strong understanding of the characteristics of the prop.
  • Check all of your props before you spin, EVERY TIME! Make sure there are no loose or worn parts, and that the props have been maintained well. If in doubt, do not use the prop.
  • Never spin alone, even if you are an experienced fire spinner. Designating someone responsible as a ‘Safety Officer’ is a very good idea.
  • Conduct a thorough risk assessment of the location you intend to use. Don’t spin too close to buildings or trees, try to find where the ground is level and not slippery, and make sure there are no flammable materials close by.
  • Some parks will not allow fire spinning, so please check beforehand.
  • Do not spin fire in windy conditions
  • Wear thick, fire resistant clothing, such as cotton or denim. Do not wear any synthetic clothing, it will ignite easily and burn quickly. Avoid loose or baggy clothing.
  • Make sure you set up your refuelling area away from your safety and performance spaces. Fuel should be returned to a sealed container while you spin fire.
  • BE SOBER! Never use fire equipment under the influence of alcohol, medication or narcotics.

Equipment you need

  • Safety equipment like Fire Blankets, a bucket of sand, a thick damp towel and a fire extinguisher are a must!
  • Make sure you have a fire extinguisher suitable for putting out liquid based fire – CO2 or Foam extinguishers are the best. Water fire extinguishers are NOT suitable. Make sure you and your safety officer know how to use the fire extinguisher and the relevant safety considerations involved in their use.
  • Non- absorbent gloves, to squeeze off any excess fuel from your props back into your dipping pot. Failure to remove excess fuel can result in burning drops of fuel coming off your props, which is a danger to others and bad for the environment.
  • A metal pot to store fuel and dip your props in, not glass or plastic!
  • If you are performing at an official event or in a public place you will need public liability insurance with additional heat/fire cover and you should follow all the terms and precautions laid out in your policy. Failure to do so may invalidate your insurance. We advise all users have proper insurance.

Fuel

  • The only fuel we recommend is paraffin, also known as Kerosene, Parasene, and other brand names. Paraffin burns at a fairly low temperature which helps minimise the risk of burns. It also has quite a high flashpoint (the temperature at which it will ignite from a naked flame) and needs to be soaked in a wick before it will ignite. Paraffin is non-explosive under normal conditions. While there are other fuels suitable for fire spinning, Paraffin is the safest.
  • NEVER USE PETROL, GASOLINE, DIESEL OR THEIR DERIVATIVES – THESE FUELS READILY EXPLODE!
  • Paraffin is toxic, and contact with the skin and eyes should be avoided. If you get fuel on your skin, rinse it off immediately. If paraffin comes in to contact with the eyes, they should be rinsed while held open for 15 minutes, and medical advice should be sought immediately. If swallowed, do not induce vomiting, instead drink plenty of water and seek medical advice.
  • Store your paraffin in metal containers and label them clearly.

Spinning

  • If it is your first time with fire, try spinning in the daylight to help build confidence.
  • Light props away from your face and body, and be aware of others using the space around you.
  • Only perform tricks you are comfortable with. Fire spinning is not the time to try out new tricks or combinations.
  • If you have an audience, keep them at a safe distance. Keep an eye on them, and make sure the safety officer is doing the same so they do no stray into the performance area.
  • Extinguish your props by fulling smothering the wicks in either a damp towel or fire blanket. Start at the end of the wick closest to you, so any remaining flames are pushed away

Storage

  • Store props in a well-ventilated, non-living space – long term exposure to fuel fumes is bad for your health.
  • Do not store props in direct sunlight or high temperature environments
  • Keep fuel and props out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Wick covers or socks can be used to protect the wicks and stop them from marking other objects.
  • Ideally fire props should be stored in a metal container – many insurance companies require this in their terms and conditions.

Fire Breathing and Body Burning

These are the most dangerous of fire arts. We strongly recommend you do NOT breathe or perform BODY BURNING. People have died from poor practice of these arts. If you are going to, research the best practices and dangers thoroughly first. Practice the technique with water first and learn from an experienced performer. Always test your equipment thoroughly for any damage or irregularities before every performance or practice session. The risks associated with fire eating and breathing are significantly higher than with other fire based skills, and as such the safety margin and precautions must be adapted appropriately. Cascade Juggling accepts no responsibility for any injury, both short term and long term, caused by or linked with fire eating, fire breathing or body burning. If you perform these skills you are solely responsible for ALL potential consequences.

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