NFPA Draft 1

14.1 PerformersAll artists shall act in a professional manner and they shall be capable, well rehearsed, and safe each time they light up.

14.1.1 Capable Performers shall not perform under the influence of any judgment or reaction impairing substance. Performers shall be in good physical health, with no temporary or permanent debilitating health issue that could interfere with the planned routine.

14.1.2 Practice Each performance shall be practiced lit two times to verify duration and capability before a performance is attempted. Troupe leader shall verify performers are ready for an audience.

14.1.3* Costume Regular performance costumes shall be made of flame resistant or high heat material if available.

A. High heat material is material that can withstand 800 degrees or more, for more than 3 seconds Each part of the costume that is not flame resistant or of high heat material shall be checked for flammability, and flame retarded if needed. Before the performance, the performer shall practice lit in the expected costume two times to insure safety.

14.2 Safety Personnel – Each performance and lit practice shall have at least one spotter ready to meet fire emergency needs, with additional spotters and guards as needed.

14.2.1 Guards* Guards shall provide audience containment duties, keeping audience away from performance area, fuel station, and spinout zones.

A. Fire safety training is beneficial with guards, but not required.

14.2.2 Spotters Spotters shall be in charge of onstage and backstage fire safety including emergent and intentional wick extinguishing. Spotters shall be aware of the aspects of fire performance and familiar with the routine to be performed. Spotters shall be trained in flame extinguishing, response times, untangling equipment and audience control. 

In the case of multiple stray fires and the spotter needs to make a choice over which to manage first, any fires in the audience shall be top priority, and second priority shall be curtains, decorations, or anything flammable in the venue. Once those needs are managed, then the performers shall be extinguished.

14.2.3 First aid training Troupe Leader shall have first aid or medical training. For large performances, the venue shall provide on-call ambulance or medical team for the event who shall be aware of the duration of the performance.

14.2.4 Equipment Intentional extinguishing shall be permitted to be managed with a safety towel or damp cloth, flame treated cloth, or high heat material. Spotters shall be dressed with the same care as a performer and shall have a safety towel at all times. 

Fire extinguishers shall comply with NFPA 10 and shall be provided by the troupe.

Fire extinguishers shall be placed in the following locations for the performance:

  1. Front of the stage
  2. Back of the stage and near the fuel station

14.3 Tools Performers shall use well-maintained tools and they shall be constructed to prevent uncontrolled wicks and, they shall be regularly tested to insure capability.

14.3.1 Wick Attachment Wicks shall be attached to the fire tool through wire, screws, or bolts and shall run through the wick and device.* Glues or friction shall not be the primary method of wick attachment. Wicks shall be made in such a way as to prevent loss of any part during use

A. Typically this is achieved by using fireproof materials in construction.

14.3.2 Handle Attachment* Shafted tools shall either be made of fireproof materialsor have a protective covering that extends at least 4 inches beyond typical flame contact zones (for a spinning staff, this is 4 inches in either direction of a wick).

A. Shafted tools can include clubs or staffs. Flame contacts for spinning staffs are 4 inches in either direction of a wick. Handles shall be attached with wire, screws, or bolts and  balls or tethers shall not depend on glue or friction to remain on the shaft.* Chain grips shall be made of durable materials, or augmented with metal grommets when soft goods are used.

A. Soft goods are materials such as leather or nylon. Chain grips shall be thoroughly checked before each use and shall be replaced at any sign or wear.14.3.3 Connectors If the device has multiple connected parts or chains, the connectors attaching all parts together shall be of a sealed ring type rated above the maximum possible stress that can be applied to the device.  Connectors that could be exposed to heat shall be made of tempered metal Connectors that could be exposed to heat shall not be made of plastics, drop forged, or spring metal.

14.3.4 Checking* Before each use, the troupe leader shall inspect each device to insure that all parts are in good condition and stable. 

A. quick test is to grasp each wick and tug it away from the normal point of contact. Grips and handles shall be checked for security and the wicks shall be tested with any sign of wear shall be treated as a failure.

14.3.5 Fueling – Tools shall be soaked, splashed, or basted so that excess fuel can be completely recovered and sealed, or returned to proper containers* Excess fuel shall be spun off excess fuel in an area free from expected foot traffic and from ignition sources before performing.

A. If available, make use of attachments to catch fuel before hitting the ground, avoiding the spin out zone entirely. Always mop up oily fuels before leaving. Remove oily residue from performance area between performers. Treat mops, rags, or other cleaning devices as soaked wicks.

14.4* Fuels Performers shall have SDS for all fuels used and be familiar with any special needs for them.

A.14.4 The principles of fuel safety are to insure that an uncontrolled burn does not occur, and that the audience and passive safety devices are not affected.

14.4.1 Storage and transport A fuel’s original retail container is usually the best choice for storage and transport. Fuels shall be kept out of direct sunlight and away from sparks or flame. If the original container is too bulky or unavailable, then a sealed metal container inside another container is the best overall choice. Canadian performers shall use governmentally issued containers of the appropriate type. Insure all fuel containers are accurately and clearly labeled.

14.4.2 Backstage fuel All primary fueling shall take place in a designated fueling area.* Designated fuel stations shall be manned by the troupe leader, guard, or spotter until completely secured.

A. Always seal fuel containers and dip buckets when not in use. When at all possible, place the fuel area outside, behind a hard wall; and have a clear corridor from the fuel area to the stage. Never move wet wicks through the audience without escort. Audience and smoking shall be restricted within 30 feet of fuel station. If a hard wall between fuel and fire isn’t available, place a spotter between and insure that fuel containers are sealed before any ignition.

14.4.3 Open Onstage Fuel* If an onstage fuel reserve is needed, effort shall be made to restrict quantity and capability of accidental spills.

A. Highly stable metal containers with self-closing lids are preferred Unneeded fuel shall be removed immediately.

14.5 Performance Care shall be taken to insure that each element of the performance is carried out with safe conditions for the audience and the venue and  at no point shall either the audience or the venue be at risk of sustaining damages from the performance.

14.5.1 Separation Depending on the nature of the audience an adequate separation from the performer shall be maintained to prevent accidental contact.* If the performer will be spinning tools or breathing fire the audience shall be separated to allow guards or spotters to intercept audience members attempting to enter performance area. 

A. Usually 15 feet or a barricade is adequate for separation.* If the performer will be using a tool that is predominantly within their field of vision, implicitly under their control , or the audience does not require excess management (i.e. seated or fenced), then the performer may approach closer pending troupe leader approval.

A. An example of a tool implicitly under their control are tools such as fire fingers.

14.5.2 Performance area The performance area shall be cleared of all flammable materials, or flammable materials shall be treated with approved fire retarding chemicals and tested for combustibility in a safe manner before performance. Props and other terrain features shall be taken into account when designing a performance and performers shall not be in danger of contact with foreign objects. Troupe leaders shall confer with the property owner about the building fire protection systems and evaluate potential accidental triggers. During outdoor performances, performers shall avoid spinning under or near dry foliage.

14.5.3* Flame toxicity

A.14.5.3 Petrol fuels burnt on open wicks always produce toxic fumes, smoke, or other health hazards that are augmented in an enclosed space.

Petrol fuel burning shall be very limited indoors, even in well-ventilated venues. When possible, use high-proof alcohols in place of petrol fuels.

For outdoor spinning, semi-enclosed areas with low wind can be as hazardous as indoor locations. Whenever petrol fuels are used, the most purified fuel is preferred.* Quantity of petrol fuel burned in a show shall be limited so as to prevent an inhalation hazard for the audience.

A. High proof alcohols (Isopropanol) are preferred over petrol fuels for indoor shows Outdoor spinning shall have ventilation or be limited to similar quantities in


14.6 Clean Up 

14.6.1 Immediately after each performance, fuel buckets shall be closed and sealed, fuel returned to approved transport containers, fuel stations locked or removed from premises and any residual fuels mopped up and removed. 

14.6.2 Hot tools shall be wrapped in safety cloth until they cool down andany exotic materials shall be removed, locked or guarded.

The North American Fire Arts Association