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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Up in smoke! » » Smoke Alarms on Stage (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Matthew W
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I will be doing a show next weekend and will be opening with fire eating, as requested.

Would the fire eating torches, two lit at a time, be enough to set off a smoke alarm?

I will be on a stage. It is a typical, school auditorium, The stage does not have an extra high ceiling that is used for flying scenery. I am guessing it is maybe 15-20 feet from the stage floor to the ceiling.
-Matt
gsidhe
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Michigan
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Depends on the type of smoke alarms you are using and the fuel.
Heat sensitive alarms are safe- Those that set off sprinkler systems are heat sensitive. Regular smoke alarms might be a problem. Not likely, but possibly.
Stay away from smokier fuels indoors. If you need help with this- PM me.
As always, meet with the fire marshall and have him inspect the building (In most areas, this is the law. Up to a $10,000 fine if ignored and your show can be shut down). He will probably make you demonstrate what you are going to do. That should take care of any fire alarm issues and you will know before hand. Make sure you have proper permits in place and that your perormance insurance is up to date (You do have liability insurance that covers fire, right?).

These are not options. It must be done.

Fire safety is a huge thing with me. Too many performers have screwed up in the past making it harder to book fire shows, in some places making them completely illegal. I'm an open book with this subject...Anything I can do to help, let me know.
Gwyd
Lou Hilario
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Check first if there is any smoke alarms on the ceiling of the stage area. If there is, that would surely trigger the alarms.
I used to do the Burning Gloves to Dove effect, but using double gloves and more lighter fluid to achieve a higher flame. I triggered alarms twice in my experience.
Magic, Illusions, Juggling, Puppet & Parrot Show ^0^
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Matthew W
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I use Ronsonol lighter fuel.

I have only performed fire eating once before and it was outdoors at a private party. Does one need to secure permission for private outdoor events? If so then I screwed up once...

I am not sure if I will be able to do the fire opener for this event, not because I don't want to deal with the safety issues, which I don't mind taking care of, but because I won't have a chance to meet with their towns fire inspector.
-Matt
gsidhe
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Outdoor is usually no problem.
We aren't supposed to discuss fuels openly here, but for indoors that would be the right choice. Little to no smoke. However I am PMing you with a cheaper alternative.
It wouldn't hurt to call the fire marshall to see what the regs are (And what safety precautions you need to be up to code). He might waive the inspection...you never know.
The standard things you need to have on hand would be an ABC fire extinguisher that has been inspected in the last year and either a fire blanket or a water soaked 4'x4' cotton cloth. A spotter of some sort is also a requirement for many venues. Fuels must be labeled as such and a "fire box" is recommended for tool storage when not in use (Red metal toolboxes are perfect for this. No plastic inserts)
Most places require a minimum of 15 feet between the performer and the audience, especially for breathing (Which I would not recommend indoors unless in an arena). They are usually a little more tolerant of eating.
Call them and find out what hoops you need to jump through for them.
Points to bring up- The fire is contained on a wick, one that it not being spun or thrown. You are not breathing fire but extinguishing it.
Hope this helps. Let me know if there are any questions.
Gwyd
Matthew W
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I keep a wet towel behind the supplies I have on my table. It is not 4x4, It is a regular bathroom hand towel. I think it is 2x3 or so. I will get a bigger one.

My fuel is kept in a metal quart paint (bought empty at home depot) can that is labeled "Lighter Fuel." It is the type of.

I have a Fire extinguisher, it is a small one, not the kind that is usually hanging on a wall. I keep it in my suitcase table when do anything with fire, or, when eating fire, it is on the floor next to my table.

My father is always backstage when I do a stage show, helping and watching.

I will get a metal case to transport everything in though. Other than that, is there anything else I need to do?

Thanks for all of the help.
-Matt
gsidhe
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Make sure the towel is 100% cotton. Any polyester is really really bad.
We replace our fire extinguisher every year- It is cheaper to buy new than to have it inspected. Just write the date it was bought on the outside- Usually enough to satisfy the marshall.
Other than that...Sounds good!
G
dio da goat
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I'm probably one of the most anal fire-safety idiots on here. The fuel gsidhe probably sent you is not only cheaper, but it has fewer additives that can cause a problem. DO NOT use this for breathing fuel if that's part of your routine then pm me.

The safety towel idea is good, but you should have someone who knows what to do with it holding it at all times. Remember, remove flame device then smother the flame. Unless it's your face, then wipe away from the eyes. If you're going to be doing a lot of fire performance, you might want to upgrade to another material fire blanket such as duvetyne (a duvy) or commando cloth. These don't need to be used wet and last a lot longer.

Polyester is bad. It doesn't burn, it melts and can reach higher temperatures than your fuel alone. If you absolutely have to wear it as costume, make sure you wear a layer of cotton underneath. It's still dangerous, but at least not AS dangerous. This is often another criteria of fire marshals.

There's a thousand other things I'd like to harp on, but I'm already sure I sound like a wet blanket (bad pun intended). If you want to learn more, let me know.

Safety first safety first safety first. One careless performance years ago cost 100 people their lives and (although trivial by comparison) thousands of performers the ability to perform easily. Good luck to you!
gsidhe
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Dio...
You are my new best friend.
G
Nolaa
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Everyone seems to have done a great job steering you in the right direction, especially with the Fire Marshall. Be good to your Fire Marshall!

Never, ever perform fire indoors before checking the venue over. Heck, you should check outdoor sites too. Always be aware of all the limitations and hazards of your surroundings when working with fire. Especially in a school. You need to be aware of your surroundings before you ever light up. You won't know if the torches will set off the alarms until you see what kind of detectors are equipped and how sensitive they are. A test run is always good in these situations as well, if it's at all possible. And don't just check the alarms. Check everything!

Also, I don't think anyone touched on fueling stations. You want to keep your fueling equipment FAR away from your flame. (The last thing you want to do is kick over a can of fuel while you're holding a flaming torch.) We in the fire arts community call these 'dump stations'. If you PM me (or Dio) we can direct you to some links of how to set these up. Also, make sure your quart container has a lid and is sealed while there is open flame, and never, EVER hit it with a fire extinguisher if it lights. Cover it with your duvetyne/commando cloth or with a lid. (We keep out metal cans in 5 gal. plastic drums with lids for extra safety.)

Safety first, second and third!

Also, if your Dad is at the show with you watching, train him how to put you out in the case of an emergency. He can still enjoy the show while holding a duvetyne, and can see parts of you that you yourself cannot.
dio da goat
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Quote:
On 2009-03-04 17:22, gsidhe wrote:
Dio...
You are my new best friend.
G


Awwe, you only say that because now I'm the biggest safety freak on the forum so the other pyros will make fun of me instead of you now.
gsidhe
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Pretty much...Yep.
But I will give you a run for the money...
Gwyd
Nolaa
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Quote:
Awwe, you only say that because now I'm the biggest safety freak on the forum so the other pyros will make fun of me instead of you now.


It is true...
Stucky
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Also check this site for regulations and info - http://www.nafaa.org/
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dio da goat
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I think the NAFAA does a decent job, and it's considered "good enough" for Cali, but many state fire marshals (fm's) (and spinners in general) feel a higher level of safety should be pushed.

It also gives some insight to performing in various states, but is by no means current or official. Always check with the state fm's of the area you are going to be spinning in first.
Stucky
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This is true, but every little bit helps.
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