WildFire Retreat Fire Safety Policies
- Everyone must attend a fire safety briefing. Regardless of your skill level, all attendees must attend a fire safety briefing before lighting up or Safetying someone else at WildFire. Typically, safety briefings are held on Friday and Saturday evenings.
- Always have a safety present and follow safety protocol. Safety protocols are set by the organizers and described during the safety briefings. This includes appropriate clothing, safety technique, field etiquette, fuel depot safety, and approved fuels.
- The Safety Vets and Safety Organizers have the final call on all field related matters. Please listen to them if they ask you to do (or not do) something. Safety Vets are experienced and available if you need help with a fire prop, would like an experienced safety, want to do something cool and unusual (such as a takeover), or if you see a practice on the field that you feel is unsafe. Safety Vets can be identified by their neon glowing armbands.
- Consent is mandatory. Understand that we get attendees of all comfort and skill levels, ranging from complete newcomers to professional fire performers. It is perfectly ok to say no to safetying if you are inexperienced or feel uncomfortable for any reason. We encourage you to speak up and voice your concerns.
- You are ultimately responsible for your own safety. Though we do everything we can to mitigate the chance of any mishaps or accidents, fire always carries an inherent risk. By working with fire or acting as a Safety, you are taking personal responsibility for any burns or injuries you may receive.
- No intentional ground burns or fuel on the grass. Lighting the field on fire damages the grass and is therefore not allowed per JN Webster camp policy. This includes all types of intentional ground burns: circles, lines, and so on. Additionally, please avoid getting any fuel on the grass if you can. If you accidentally drop a prop or a small amount of fuel lights the ground, please extinguish it quickly to minimize the damage.
- You must remain substance free at all times. Alcohol and recreational drug use are not allowed, regardless of legality. This is not just fire safety policy but also general Wildfire policy and JN Webster camp policy.
- All minors who want to work with fire or Safety must be cleared with a Safety Organizer and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The parent or legal guardian must accept full responsibility for the child's safety and actions at all times. More info regarding minors is available on our general policies page.
- Fire breathing is generally not allowed on the burn field. Fire breathing should generally only happen at the designated Dragon Pit area. If you want to breathe on the burn field (i.e., to breathe off of a prop), please check in with a Safety Vet.
- IF YOU HAVE NEVER BREATHED FIRE AT WILDFIRE BEFORE, you must take both parts of the intro to fire breathing class. This specifically covers the unique safety considerations and practices of fire breathing. If you are already an experienced breather, you may talk to the Field Safety Organizer for clearance.
General Safety Guidelines
Checklist For Standard Props (poi, staff, swords, hoops, torches, fans, etc.):
Fuel Dump Etiquette:
Non-Standard Props and Unusual Tricks:
- Look at the field, is there plenty of room to spin and do you feel safe in the current weather conditions?
- Check your clothing - natural fibers (like denim, cotton, leather, etc) are safest. Synthetic fibers can melt and stick to skin if they catch fire, and can cause much more serious burns. Freshly-applied aerosols like hair sprays or bug repellent can also be dangerous.
- Find a Safety and learn their name. Ask someone around the fire pits, this is a great way to make new friends! Make sure you identify what you are spinning and your level of experience.
- Check your prop for wear and tear, loose quick-links/quick-disconnects, etc.
- Head over to the fuel depot to fuel your prop(s). Spin off excess fuel in the designated spinoff area.
- Walk to where you’ll be spinning, avoid getting between other spinners and their safeties. Check in with your safety before lighting up.
- With a nod from your safety, light and have fun!
- If you hear your safety (or anyone else) shout “STOP”, “DOWN”, or a body part (i.e. “ARM! RIGHT ARM!”), stop and check yourself for fire. If it’s small and accessible, you may be able to just smother it by wiping with your hand.
- If you cannot extinguish yourself, stop spinning and hold your prop(s) out to the side so that your safety can come in to assist. You can slowly move them if the fire is below your hands, but be mindful of where your safety is.
- When burn is complete, exit the field mindfully, thank your safety, and make sure your prop is safely placed on a rack or somewhere else safe. (NOT on the ground near the fire pits, this is a hazard. You will be soundly growled at by others if you do this, and your props may be damaged if people trip over them.)
- It’s always ok to decline safetying if you are inexperienced or uncomfortable for any reason. It’s also ok to let a spinner know that you are new to safetying and would like to gain more experience if they’re comfortable with that.
- It’s best practice to know your spinner’s name, so you can get their attention on a crowded field.
- Check your clothing - natural fibers (like denim, cotton, leather, etc) are safest. Synthetic fibers can melt and stick to skin if they catch fire, and can cause much more serious burns. Even if you’re not spinning, if you need to extinguish your spinner, you may be near their lit props.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up (politely please) if you see unsafe practices anywhere on the field.
- Keep your duvetyne in your hands and ready to use throughout the entire burn. Stay standing or crouched, ready to move. Just a few seconds can make the difference between a minor burn and a serious injury.
- If you see out of control fire on a spinner that they can’t handle or don’t notice, call out their name and the affected body part(i.e. “ARM! RIGHT ARM!”), “STOP”, or “DOWN” depending on the situation and put it out immediately.
- To extinguish a spinner on fire once alerting them, use the duvetyne to smother the fire with steady, firm pressure or wiping motion. Do not flap the duvetyne, this will add air and fuel the fire. Think of the duvetyne like your oven mitts, use your hands to directly press into the fire through the duvetyne.
- If a prop is tangled around a spinner’s hand or body, first use the duvetyne to grab the prop directly (like oven mitts), being careful not to trap their hands with it. Firmly pull the prop up and away from their hands, so they can untangle and so the fire is not burning them. Check them for any fuel transfers and that they are ok before proceeding to extinguish the prop.
- Watch your spinner’s space, warn them of encroaching on others and others approaching them.
- Watch your spinner EARLY. Most danger happens early in a spin (watch for transfers etc.)
- Watch your spinner LATE. Accidents can happen as flames die down and people get comfortable/tired (watch especially for chain tangles).
- Extinguish your spinner’s props if they are ready to have them put out, or stay with them until the prop naturally extinguishes. Ensure that their burn is DONE before you walk away.
Fuel Dump Etiquette:
- All fuel that is actively being used should be behind the white barriers.
- No open flame or smoking near the fuel dump.
- Ask the Safety Vet before adding a bucket of a new fuel type (like a mixture). Different fuel types should be marked.
- Fuel should be kept in gallon paint cans, and the gallon paint cans should be kept in 5 gallon buckets, unless they need to be removed to fuel a hoop or other prop. Once finished, they should be replaced in the 5 gallon bucket immediately.
- Covers should always be next to the buckets.
- Other fuel containers (PVC tubes for swords, etc.) can stay nearby, but can not be left where they will be in the way.
- Half empty fuel cans should be kept outside of the fueling area.
- Empty fuel can procedure is to remove cap, stomp flat, and put in a pile/trash can away from the fuel dump. Never replace the cap on an empty can - this can cause an explosion hazard.
- Spin off in the designated area with a bucket if possible, or without if necessary. Return spin off buckets to near the fuel dump.
- Have a member of the group communicate with the Safety Vet at the fuel dump before anyone starts fueling. They can help manage traffic flow and make sure others on the field aren’t surprised by 20 dragon staves suddenly materializing.
- Follow all guidelines for the prop(s) you’ll be using.
- Gather enough safeties for the size of the group, please do not exceed a 2:1 spinner-to-safety ratio.
- Position your Safeties where you’d like to be spinning. They shouldn’t interrupt people already spinning, but can ask other Safeties positioning themselves in the area for an incoming spinner if they could relocate.
- Fuel up and wait the few minutes it may take for your group to cycle through.
- Bearing in mind all other safety procedures above, have fun!
Non-Standard Props and Unusual Tricks:
- Find a Safety who is ready, willing, and able to be with you. For props in this category we require a 1:1 ratio.
- Bring your Safety and your prop(s) to a Safety Vet for a brief introduction and equipment review. Let them know where you plan to spin.
- Fuel up, go to the designated spot, confirm with safety, light, have fun!
- IF YOU HAVE NEVER BREATHED AT WILDFIRE BEFORE, you must take both parts of the intro to fire breathing class. This specifically covers the unique safety considerations and practices of fire breathing. If you are already an experienced breather, you may talk to the Field Safety Organizer for clearance.
- Fire breathing should generally only happen in the Dragon Pit, the end of the parking lot closest to the fuel dump. This is the required location for multiple breaths, multi-person breaths, baby dragons, practicing new tricks, etc.
- If you would like to do a single breath while spinning a prop, you may be allowed to breathe on the field. Consult with a Safety Vet or Field Safety Org before doing so. Give others around you advance notice if possible and pay close attention to your surroundings.
- You must have a dedicated Safety, we prefer a 1:1 ratio for breathers. This may change when doing multi-person breaths, consult the Dragon Pit Safety Vet as needed and use your best judgment.
- Make sure your Safety is comfortable with fire breathing - ideally this should be someone who has also taken at least part 1 of the WildFire fire breathing class.
- Fire eating and fleshing should only happen in the dome. Limited fleshing on the burn field while spinning is ok, warn your Safety in advance if you plan to do this.
- If there is no fuel dump in the dome, retrieve one - check in with the Safety Vet at the fuel dump before removing anything. If there already is a fuel dump present, please check in with whoever is currently using it and share. If you are the last to use a fuel dump and there is no one else in the dome, make sure it is returned to the fuel dump area.
- Never use an eating or fleshing torch with exposed metal in the wick (eg: wire, rivets, screws)! This is dangerous and will burn you! Torches should always be sewn with kevlar thread.
- Think about your clothing. In addition to general safety protocols above, be aware that garment edges can soak up fuel and become a torch.
- Think about your face and skin. Any products on your face or in the area(s) you’ll be fleshing can interact negatively with fire. Clean, well hydrated skin is your safest bet. (Drink your water!)
- Inspect your equipment. Your wicks should be spongy with some give, not too tight, with no frayed edges and no visible fiberglass (it looks silvery-gray on old, burnt wicks). Check the handle, make sure there’s no damage along the length of it. Remember, other props are designed to stay AWAY from your body, we’re putting ours right on our skin on purpose.
- Always have a plan for putting yourself out, don’t light anything you can’t see or reach.
- Bearing in mind all other applicable safety policies and guidelines above, fuel up and have fun!