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Safety Standards


If we are to make our clients feel safe about hiring fire performers, then we must be safe as fire performers. Underground parties might like the edginess of a performer hanging it all out there with not a spotter to be found, but corporate clients and movie sets demand the tops in safety. If we don't deliver the tops in safety -at every event- we'll never satisfy the truly particular clients.

Therefore, when a Red Swan performer is at any show, representing Red Swan in any way (ie even if we didn't get you the gig, but you pass out business cards), they must at least adhere to the current NAFAA safety standards for proximate fire performance. Local fire codes should also be researched and strictly followed.

When we schedule a show, we will always include a minimum team of spotters appropriate to the expected show. However, if you feel that your show might need a little more safety, it's up to you to be pro-active about securing an adequate team for your specific show.

You will be expected to lead the movement towards safety. You will have to locate and establish the best location for the dipping station, secure it, and insure that flame hazards are kept away (smokers, tiki torches, etc). You need to insure a clear walkway between dip station and stage. And you need to insure that the spin-out residue is not a fire hazard.

You will be expected to provide sufficient fire safety equipment for each show: duvetynes or damp towels, fire extinguishers that have been professionally checked within the last year. You will have to check the triggers for any passive fire suppression equipment onsite (heat, flame, smoke, etc) and insure that you do not accidentally trip them.

Onsite fire tool safety inspections shall be held at least once per performance night. Tighten all modular equipment (poi chains, hoop spines, etc), and perform "yank tests" on all fire tools to insure structural stability. Such tests should be performed on ALL tools, whether they belong to a Red Swan performer or not.

Naturally, no fire act should be performed in front of an audience without a full dress rehearsal. So, all costumes and accessories should be tested before the show. Regardless, fur and feathers should be avoided, as should any loose fabrics which could catch fire and enter the audience area.

Audience separation is the trickiest aspect. Frequently this is the first thing listed in the permitting process. However, every performance is different, and some shows (like movie sets) might not have anything that classifies as an audience. For most cases, the following rule should suffice. Have as much separation as needed (either distance, fencing, or geographic terrain) to allow a spotter to intercept the worst case of an audience member. If the audience is a black-tie affair, then usually no separation is needed. If it's a beer-sponsored car show, maybe guards and fences would be in order.

In the end, you should always err on the side of safety. If the Fire Marshal says you need one extinguisher, but you suspect a second one might give better coverage, then get another one. If you're not sure about a fabric in a costume or stage decoration, offer to flameproof it. And of course, if any performers isn't 100% sharp and ready, for any reason at all, ask them to sit out that show.


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Red Swan Entertainment, fire performance and circus arts talent management.