onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Been thinking about this a lot recently.

It's been good to see that people have been speaking seriously about the dangers of Fire Breathing, I know of three people who've spent serious time in hospital through breathing accidents. It's great that Pele posted a thread detailing her experience: -

http://www.homeofpoi.com/articles/firebreathing_accident.htm
br>
But what about spinning. It's a lot safer but can still go wrong.

I met a guy on devy green a year back who showed me his arm; during a performance the chain had wrapped round his arm and locked with the wick trapped on his skin.

The scar was a mess, I tried to picture what the scene must have been like with no water or means of extinguishing the flame to hand; the screams, panic and pain.

I've noticed that at all the fire spins, pips etc, it's very rare for people to bring a container of water and soaked towel, even people who are experienced spinners, sometimes using advanced multi wick/giant wick toys.

Prior to seat belt laws it felt safe to be in a car unbelted; afterwards you got so used to belting up that now it feels unsafe to not have the belt on.

Similarly, I used to bicycle and off road unicycle with no helmet- after several months of using protection I now feel naked without it.

Tonight I was doing a fire gig, as I got my big fire rope Poi lit up and felt the heat they were throwing off, I looked towards my water bucket and towel and found it difficult to believe that I used to spin fire without it being there.

I know that bags are easily filled with toys and paraffin, leaving little room for other things, but a open top container can be packed with some of those toys and effectivly take up no bag space, a towel is easy to squeeze in (this assumes that there's a source of water at the spinning site).

For those with transport, it's easy to bring a bucket, towels and water to the site- generally it won't be needed, but on the occasion it is you could be saving someone a lot a pain.

[ 04. August 2003, 14:39: Message edited by: onewheeldave ]


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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flid
BRONZE Member since Aug 2002

flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3136
Posted:i agree. I was a complete saftey nazi for the first 10 months or so of Fire Spinning. After that when i started going to big meets and found there was nothing in the way of saftey I was a little startled, but by this time good enough to not have any accidents. I do think its a good idea thou, accidents happen however good you are. When I do small meets I always take a dry powder fire extinguisher, but its more for show if the police roll up than anything, I'm not sure how fast other people would be at removing the pin and using it whilst stoned

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:A bucket of water and a towel...I know it's a lot better than nothing, but an ALL-FIRES fire extinguisher is the bare minimum I take with me when lighting up.

One of the serious downsides of wet towels and bodies of water (including lakes and oceans) is the very real chance of a steam burn. Steam can act is strange ways in water and in some cases forms a pocket between the hot or burning object and the water surrounding it.

This could mean you could continue to get badly burned whilst your body part is in cold water.

A fire extinguisher (suitable for all types) and knowing where the nearest running water source is your best bet to deal with any unfortunate accidents.

A bucket of water is definitely better than nothing, but I would consider it a temporary measure at best...

In my opinion, of course


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dj_goose


dj_goose

Sunburnt Bournda Beach Bum
Location: A Melbourne boy through and th...

Total posts: 157
Posted:aghhhh....some of the stories i could tell about accidents with fire. I know i shouldn't laugh, BUT sometimes u just can't help yourslef, and to be perfectly honest most ppl bring it on themselves from what i have seen.....I beleive not enough however is said about the possiblity of toxic poisoning from Fire Breathing, i myself ended up in bed for 3 weeks with it when i first started breathing, so along with water to put out fire take milk or something to wash down and dilute any fuel in your mouth

Look to the moon, look to the stars, and if you still can't find happyness...find a bar!!!

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Charles:
A bucket of water and a towel...I know it's a lot better than nothing, but an ALL-FIRES fire extinguisher is the bare minimum I take with me when lighting up.

One of the serious downsides of wet towels and bodies of water (including lakes and oceans) is the very real chance of a steam burn. Steam can act is strange ways in water and in some cases forms a pocket between the hot or burning object and the water surrounding it.

This could mean you could continue to get badly burned whilst your body part is in cold water.

A fire extinguisher (suitable for all types) and knowing where the nearest running water source is your best bet to deal with any unfortunate accidents.

A bucket of water is definitely better than nothing, but I would consider it a temporary measure at best...

In my opinion, of course Hi Charles, we've spoken before about steam burns and I'm still a little hazy on the specifics of them.

You're right about a fire extinguisher, but there are a couple of disadvantages to them: -

Firstly, realistically speaking, most casual spinners aren't going to get them due to expense and weight; as I said above most spinners don't even bother to pack a bucket and towel.

Secondly, in the scenario I mentioned above i.e. burning wick wrapped tight against your arm, I think I'd have a better chance with a wet towel than trying to operate a fire extinguisher one handed.

Of course if there are others present who know what to do then an extinguisher is great, but often we spin solo or with people who aren't necessary going to stay calm and be capeable of helping when things go wrong.

I'm glad you brought up fire extinguishers cos they do seem to be the official recomendation and I think some sort of debate on this issue would be useful, especially regarding the two possible weaknesses I've just mentioned.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:quote:Originally posted by dj_goose:
aghhhh....some of the stories i could tell about accidents with fire. Tell us. That's how people can learn not to make the same mistakes.

The awareness of the dangers of Fire Breathing came about cos a few people shared their bad experiences.

If people are having spinning accidents then it'd be great to hear about them, learn from them and devise strategies to prevent them happening to others.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:.....and here's my contribution: -

This is the scariest fire thing that's happened to me, there was no lasting damage but could quite easily have been.

I was outside my flat doing fire meteors, up to this point I'd always felt totally safe using them.

On this occasion I'd put a new, longer handle on them, I was also too complacement and not particularly alert.

Whilst maintaining a one handed figure of eight I got hit in the eye by one of the wicks- the wicks are quite heavy so it was a bit of a shock.

Stupidly I just brushed it off and tried to continue (ego, neighbours etc), and managed a few seconds before the burning/stinging started.

I quickly put everything out and ran inside at which point it was very painful, quickly got in the bathroom and stared running cold water into it to relieve the burning and wash out the paraffin.

I'd previously read on a safety FAQ that some of the toxic chemical additives in paraffin specifically attack the corneas, so I was very keen to wash out as much as I could.

My eye was locked shut at this point and between washing it I kept trying to pull it open to check if there was any obvious damage.

Was about fifteen minutes before I could open it and, when I did there was a big gray misty patch on my visual field. my heart sank at this point cos I had not idea if it was temporary or permanent.

I spent the rest of the evening running water in the eye and making a big effort to stay calm and not dwell on the fact that I may have ruined the vision in one eye.

I did consider very seriously getting to the hospital and decided against it. In hindsight it was the right decision in this situation cos it would have meant an hours taxi ride (when I would have no access to water for the eye) and probably a 4-6 hour wait in Northern General casuality dept waiting to be seen.

When I went to bed I still couldn't see, but the next day it had stared to clear.

Next day went to the hospital to find out if there was any danger of future problems from the chemicals, they checked for abrasions but, as other people have mentioned on other threads, they seem to have no knowledge/database about the effects of paraffin and the additives it contains.

What can we learn from this: -

Don't be complacent, especially when using new toys or toys whose lentgh you have altered. (Be especially careful with one handed figure eight meteor moves, it's a very unstable pattern until you've practiced loads)

Access to water, I was so very lucky that I was outside my flat, if this had happened in a field or at a pip I would have been stuffed.

Possibly a eye washing cup like the ones you get with optrex would be a good idea?

That hospitals don't have much idea when it comes to some of the injuries that can occur with paraffin, perhaps it would be a good idea for some responsible person to work on a paraffin FAQ maybe liasing with Pele, the doctors who treated her and other people/doctors who've encountered these situations.

This could then be posted on HOP as a resource that hospitals could access and printed off by individuals to carry when doing fire/gigs in case of accidents.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Here's a link to a good thread on fire safety: -

http://www.homeofpoi.com/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=000009#000011
br>
one of the replies has several links to other fire safty sites/threads


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:quote: Steam can act is strange ways in water and in some cases forms a pocket between the hot or burning object and the water surrounding it.
OneWheelDave, Is that not specific enough when talking about a stagnant bucket of water? What was not touched on is that water that has been turned to steam (such as wet shirt with a blanket over the top) it can travel through a number of materials.

It's like the slightly nicer version of melted plastic!

Thank you for sharing your experience above as well. It goes a long way in my mind to explain why we should NEVER spin fire alone, and preferably with the right equipment and some friends who know how to use it.

Sure, there will be people who think the fun of fire is worth the risk, until they get badly burned, handicapped or killed.

And that people who try to help others who have caught on fire, often end up mutilated or killed themselves, so don't think its just yourself who might get hurt.

What people often forget is that fire can easily get out of control, at which point it can burn down a whole neighbourhood and kill hundreds of people.

Try this scenario out...a leaf blows into your fuel tin. you dunk your Poi in, the leaf sticks to one of the heads, you light up, the leaf lights up, and a small piece of the leaf, on fire, floats up into the air and lands on a tree in your neighbours yard. What equipment do you need to put out the fire in the tree before the whole neighbourhood goes up in smoke?

If you don't have the money to buy a fire extinguisher, I believe the responsible thing to do would be to not spin fire.

Heavy, but in my opinion human lives and property make the fun of a burn pale into insignificance.


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Charles, sorry to be persistent on the steam burn thing, but I'm still hazy on how relevant it is to using a container of water/towel for safety in spinning.

I've done a search on the subject and from what I understand steam is only going to be produced where there is a lot of heat i.e. if someones clothes are well alight and they jump in to a river.

What I'm trying to get to the bottom of is how relevant steam burns are going to be where the relatively small contained fire on a wick is concerned.

I consider water/towel to be useful because it has come in handy for me on several occasions, not dire emergencies but just getting hit by a wick and slightly burnt- immediate dunking in water takes out the heat.

Also, in the case of my getting hit in the eye by a meteor wick- water was invaluable, a fire extinguisher would have been useless.

There are many situations in which a fire extinguisher is the thing you need, there are equally many where water is the better option.

For spinning in buildings, a fire extinguisher is essential, but I don't spin indoors.

Of course the best thing is to have both, but, as things stand at the moment, I really believe that for the spinning I do, in the locations I do it at, given a choice between a fire extinguisher and water/towel, I would choose the water/towel.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Charles:
If you don't have the money to buy a fire extinguisher, I believe the responsible thing to do would be to not spin fire.

Heavy, but in my opinion human lives and property make the fun of a burn pale into insignificance. I do have the money to buy a fire extinguisher.

However my intention for this thread was to sort out some good solid basic safety advice that could be followed by all spinners.

Many spinners will not get a fire extinguisher because they can't afford one and because it is a extra, and relatively bulky/heavy item to carry in addition to fuel, spinning toys, water etc.

Yet they will continue to spin.

My observation is that the majority of non professional spinners take no safety precautions whatsoever, I am hoping that threads like this will encourage people to think about bringing along water/towels etc.

This will not guarantee 100% safety, but will be a big improvement on the present situation.

Of course, if they bring water, fire extinguishers, have first aid/burns training, never spin alone etc etc they will be even safer, buit that is not going to happen.

Me and you are after the same thing, useful safety info that everyone can use; I just want to make sure that it's realistic and practical.

definatly not arguing with you here, even if we don't agree on everything I think it's making for an interesting thread that will prompt people to give this subject some thought.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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dj_goose


dj_goose

Sunburnt Bournda Beach Bum
Location: A Melbourne boy through and th...

Total posts: 157
Posted:I have heard of but never seen, (it might even be a very common thing) a type of gel pack which is made specically made for burns, and i beleive that if it is wrapped around a buring object is will sufficats the fire without ne steam almost instantaniously and the gel inside it is meant to be the best thing for burns since......well.....the last best thing... neway onto stories of the dangers of fire.Have u eva noticed how when ppl first learn how to do something for the first time they start to think they are god and that they can do anything and it wont hurt them, well the point is that it generally doesn't hurt them but it does everyone else around them....
1- I watched an indiviual breathe parrafin onto an open flame not expecting such a large explosion....no..i lie...two ppl did it at once on the same flame...ne way they ended up engulfing a spectator in a big fire ball, which gave her such a shock she had an epelectic fit
2- i sawa friend of mine try to breathe fire off of Poi, and it didn't occur to him that the flame would in fact travel upwards straigt into his outstreched arm and set his shirt on fire
3- i have some homemade Poi made out of some thin chain and it got wrapped around my friends arm while he was using it and the chain twisted around on itself and tied itself in a knot. He now has a permanent scar of chain links around his wrist...(burning flesh really stinks)
4- And lastly, though there are many more....my ex-girlfriend fre breathing in the dark without looking to see waht was above her and set a whole garden on fire.....

neway....if neone knows nething about those gel packs, i would love to know more about it...where to get them etc

cheers


Look to the moon, look to the stars, and if you still can't find happyness...find a bar!!!

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i8beefy2
GOLD Member since Mar 2003

i8beefy2

addict
Location: Ohio, USA

Total posts: 674
Posted:Gellpacks? Hmm sounds interesting. I have a friend who goes to the University of Akron which is one of the leading universities for research in polymer engineering. Two things related to fire have come from his experiences there.

He actually invented (The only other people to succeed in his method, and who subsequently patented the idea, were at MIT I believe) a nanofiber wrap for burn victims which could be spun onto the burn as a bandage. The cool thing was that the bandage would not stick to the wound (As anyone who has had a real bad burn knows bandages tend to do). Something maybe one day we can all make use of, hehe.

The other accidental invention was a plastic that didn't burn. A bunch of kids started putting all kinds of stuff in a pot and left, just messing around. The next day their "invention", a polymer bowl which had hardened overnight was sitting on the teachers desk when they came in. They thought they were busted and in trouble. But he proceeded to take a sledgehammer to the creation, without anything breaking from it. Then he filled it with water and proceeded to boil it. Remember this is a plastic. Whatever they had done, they fell upon some kind of plastic that was almost as strong as steel, and did not burn... but no one could remember how they did it.

Anyway, I just wanted to share the polymer bandage thing, the other one was just a funny story that somewhat related to fire that I thought I'd throw in.


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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Hey Charles...mind if I give it a try? After all, I was known as the Safety Nazi for a reason.

First of all, thanks to everyone for sharing their incedents. It is appreciated. I am noticing most of them are related to Fire Breathing, which is of no great surprise to me. It is THE MOST DANGEROUS fire act anyone can embark in, however, fire is dangerous, even a flicked cigarette can cause massive distruction (another story for another time).

Anyway...

Steam Burns. Actually, damp towels can be very dangerous if ineffectively used. Let's say that you are burning merrily along and you get tangled. Your safety (and there should be one per two fire peeps) runs up with the damp towel and drops it over the fire, the fire juts out from both sides of the towel as it tries to get to oxygen not only burning you more but also burning the safety. Scenerio 1, saw it first hand a few years ago. Not pretty.
Take that same set up and have the safety lay the towel over the wick. Now, normally this is good as it does put the fire out HOWEVER the dampness of the towel heats up. The safety is supposed to pat around the fire source to assure that all pathways for oxygen are cut off. This results in a steam burn on the safety from the fire evaporating the water of the towel and compound the burning on you, because while the fire is out the burning metal is not being cooled and the hot burning bits are still against the flesh, continuing to burn. This is why towels are dangerous for this use.
In this instance, dunking said body part in the bucket is preferable as it cools everything instantly but again causes steam (hot metal + water = hot steam) from which steam burns can result.
Now your best bet in this incedent is actually a Fire Blanket. This means something of a heavy wool weave such as military blankets or a Fire Blanket which folds up relatively small and is very light, so the carrying excuse can not be used. It should be laid over the tool/area as per the towel and then removed so the bits can be taken off the person. It saves compounding the burn and the safety is not burned so s/he can keep attending the injured firie. Dumping the bucket is no garuntee to put the fire out. And Fire extinguisher is overkill. Fire Blanket is also a great way to put out tools when you are done, btw.

Now let's say your shirt or clothing catches fire.
A damp towel is fine here. Stop, drop and roll with it is better. I have smothered someone and dropped and rolled them when their shirt caught fire. Communication is needed for this though, to make sure that the tools are out of the way and not being rolled on top of.

So, you may be wondering when should the bucket of water be used? Technically, it shouldn't. Keep the water in the container and use it if you get burned so that you have clean, cool water to wash over a burn (sitting it in stagnant water causes the water to heat up to body temp and therefore not help slow the burning process as much as a continual stream of cool water).
Water should NEVER be used on a fuel fire. You know the addage oil and water don't mix? It is just as true here, what you end up with is a puddle surrounded by lit fuel that is being pushed around by the flow of water. I know people that this happened to, and they had a hell of a time putting it out by stamping on it and trying to find dirt to cover it with. This also answers Charles "what if the leaf burns" scenerio and also the all too common, "What happens when my wick/sparks fly off accidentally and catches something on fire?".
Any fire large enough to have water thrown on it should be put out by an ABC drychem fire extinguisher, which, btw, in smallest form cost no more than $8 and weigh less than 6 pounds. Which is less than most people's gear costs and weighs. In my eyes, there is absolutely NO EXCUSE to be without one, and it is irresponsible to do so. Sand is also something people use but should not as embers continue to burn under sand and can reignite when something dry lands on it. As a once girl scout I know this happens, for more evidence, ask Malcolm about his car.

Evidence of spinning related accidents, by professionals...not all accidents are by people who do not know any better, or who do not have safeties on hand, but are called accidents because they can happen to anyone at anytime...

Dangerboy. Several years ago he was doing a show with the Fire Whips he had made based on a professionally given design, he had used them countless times before and something went wrong. He did not get tangled, no...the flame went up the handle of the tool and his hands burned. He hand 2nd and 3rd degree burns covering (I believe) at least 7 fingers and most of both hands. It was an absolute tragedy that could have been worse had he not have had good safeties on the spot.

Knagi. Now, he had been working on getting his safety together and really smoothing out the kinks when he had a Poi wrap his wrist. He had a serious 3rd degree burn which had to be treated by the medic on site on his wrist. I have seen photo's, it is nasty.

And my personal favorite...About 3 years ago a boy who shall remain un-named thought he would be extra safe by wearing wet clothes with dry clothes over them to do some fire play. It went BADLY wrong and he cooked himself like a lobster. His dry clothes caught fire, heated the water on the damp clothes and caused him to have 3rd degree steam burns over a good share of his body. His friends did the stop-drop-and roll, but since the water of the clothes was already heated the burning process continued. He was admitted to the ER and remained in the burn unit for a fairly long time. He had taken what he thought was good safety precautions, even had friends who knew what to do, and was injured far worse than if he had have stayed in dry clothes.

The biggest part of even being any level of fire spinner has nothing to do with how cool you are but everything to do with how safe.

Part of everyone's safety kit should be:

A cell phone in case something goes really bad
A bottle of water (the bigger the better)
A Fire Blanket
A Towel
An ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher (no excuses!)
A small first aid kit including:
bandages, gauze, burn cream, eye wash kit, charcoal caplets, sterilizing mouth foam, paper bag (for controlled breathing)

And, most importantly, someone sober enough to remember how to use everything.

I can not emphasize enough how important it all is, and if carrying stuff is the complaint, then perhaps a different hobby should be in order. Harsh but true. I have been around long enough to see some bad sh!t happen to good people who just failed to use their best judgement when it came to playing with fire.

On a side note: which is very depressing, in the past 1 1/2 years I have counted 6 Fire Breathing accidents and 1 death to people on this board alone, not to mention all those others who have no clue what they are doing who are not on the board. Breathe safe everyone!


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Achluophobia
BRONZE Member since Jul 2003

Magical Sock Dancer
Location: Newfoundland, Canada

Total posts: 255
Posted:After reading this thread, I'm starting to think the idea of jsut throwing a bucket of water on the wicks and any other fire when something goes wrong isn't that good of an idea.

Right now I've never spun fire, since I've only been at Poi for around 6 weeks I think, and I'm only 15 and my mother would never let me try that, unless I was a lot better at it. When I do try spinning with fire I will have plenty of safety stuff around. I love the fire safety threads on this site.


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Cheers Pele, that's really informative.

The story about the guy with wet clothes is really sad. It's the kind of idea that seems to make sense and it's tragic that someone going to such efforts to make things safe ends up hurt so bad.

For me the thing that makes me think about safety most is when I hear about things that have gone wrong.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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