Notice!! The following is not meant to be instructions on how to perform with fire, or safety instructions, merely an informational overview of fire performance in general.
So you have seen for performance and are trying to figure out how you have gone all these years without doing it. We have compiled some answers to some basic questions that many people that are new to fire performance want to know. We provide more information with our tool manuals, but this will give you a quick overview.
Your fire tool will come with a reusable wick. The wick will be made of a high temperature durable material that can be used several hundred times if properly cared for. Most tools can be rewicked to extend the tool life. Fuel will have to be added to the wicks by dipping them. Most performers use Naphtha (aka White Gas or Coleman Fuel), Kerosene or Lamp Oil. the fuel is usually put in a paint can or similar container for easy dipping. Do not use gasoline or any fuels you are not completely familiar with. You may have to spin off excess fuel before lighting. A long stem grill lighter is often used to light the tools.
Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it. Practice all moves unlit with the fire tool before lighting it. Always have a safety with a fire blanket watching you when you are performing. Keep fuel away from all performance and spectator areas. have a communication method established with your safety. Only light up in areas that are appropriate.
Most tools are put out by smothering the flame. This can be done with a damp towel, a treated fabric such as Duvetyn or a welding blanket. A fire extinguisher is only used in emergency situation or for a tool that can't be put out by smothering.
If you perform with fire, you can be assured that you will light yourself from time to time. This typically occurs because you transfer fuel from your tool to your clothing. Usually this is uneventful and can be put out with a slight brush of your hand. If you don't see that you are on fire, or you are unable to put it out, your safety needs to put you out by smothering the flame with the fire blanket, or in rare situations, use the fire extinguisher.
What you wear depends on what you will be doing and your level of experience. Avoid any synthetic clothing such as Nylon and Polyester that can melt and burn you. Natural fibers such as cotton, wool and silk are commonly used. While these materials can burn, they don't melt. Chemicals are available to increase the fire resistance of some materials. Clothing made from nomex and Kevlar are available, when maximum protection is needed. Many people perform in bare skin. This reduces the likelihood of getting burnt from flammable clothing, but leaves you more exposed.
These are skills that while not extremely difficult, should be taught by an experienced performer. Eating and breathing can be dangerous and it is best for someone experienced to watch you closely while learning.
Permit requirements vary depending where you live. If you are performing before an audience, you will probably need a permit. Contact your local fire marshal for details. If you are only practicing on you own property, you may not need a permit. Check you local ordnances.
Some shows may require performer insurance. Currently "Performers of the US" insures fire performers. If it is not required, you will have to decide if you need the coverage.
All of the fire tool can be used unlit. In fact, using the tool unlit is the best way to practice for fire, because you will have practiced with the actual tool before hand. If you want something more flashy, we offer some of our tool in glow.
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