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Forums > Help! > Finding the right words (contains rant)

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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:A little while ago I was whether I wanted to join a fire troupe. I went along to watch a display of theirs (before xmas) and although they seemed to be not doing great (i.e somewhat messy weaves/butterflies etc) they all seemed to be ok people and I figured with constant practise they might get to an *acceptable* level

having seen all this I agreed to join as a teacher/performer.

In order to try to get to know the people better I went out for a meal followed by a spin with them the other night. Other hoppers were there too and we nearly had heart attacks when one of them (troupe leader, no less) started spinning wire wool so that it showered half the people there!! I mean WTF??? this guy has been spinning for four years (I think) and he has no concept of safety!! frown

That didn't exactly get the evening off to a good start. As this was a 'playing' practise rather than a practise of routines, they were all having a go with fire poi/staff etc.

I've never been so freaked by fire in all my life. We had numerous safety violations: people spinning too close to other people, people doing moves they weren't competent with, people singeing chest hair 'for fun'. I couldn't relax enough to enjoy a spin cos I was too paranoid about accidents/turning my back on people, and I repeatedly had to tell people to move away from our fuel dump with flaming toys: by the time I left I felt like a total nag.

After all this, I'm going to distance myself from the troupe as quickly as possible. I have arranged to meet with the troupe leader to talk about it (he doesn't know what I'm going to say yet)

I plan to explain my concerns over safety and the lack of competence within the troupe, and also to give him a copy of the backyard spinning safety vid as done by this fantastic site smile swiftly followed by telling him that I quit.

has anybody got any suggestions/helpful advice for other safety points I should bring up?

Oh yeah, I'm not sure if they are actually covered by insurance. First they said they were, now they're not so sure eek

Oh and the next toy they are buying for the troupe is a fire whip eek eek eek


Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

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Dunc
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands

Total posts: 7263
Posted:How can they not be sure? Either they are or aren't, if they're performing paid displays without it they're certainly not worth spinning with.

Does any of them actually do whip?? Do they realise how hard it actually is to do well?!

Looks like you're best off away from them mate, unless they can grow up and sort themselves out.


Let's relight this forum ubblove

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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:before xmas the said they were covered by university society coverage. The other day they said they weren't sure

not sure if any of them does whip and I don't want to be around when they do. I was offered a chance to have a go at it, but I said I have a rule of practising with a prop for at least a month before setting it on fire

I know I'm doing the right thing, I'm just worried about them hurting themselves and others. What other safety stuff should I suggest to them.


Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

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animatEd
BRONZE Member since Aug 2004

animatEd

1 + 1 = 3
Location: Bristol UK

Total posts: 3540
Posted:I have university society coverage.

That covers in the university Union Building, and nowhere else. It doesn't cover me for fire either.

Run A Mile!!!

(but before you do that, you may want to give them the number of an insurance provider) ubblol


Empty your mind. Be formless, Shapeless, like Water.
Put Water into a cup, it becomes the cup, put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Water can flow, or it can Crash.
Be Water My Friend.

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Gayle......!
SILVER Member since Jul 2004

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol !!!!!!

Total posts: 2444
Posted:Guy,

I think by your first post, you know what you need to say:

Insurance is one, playing too close to each other, to near the fuel dump, showering people in wire wool. If they cannot see that these are hazardous enough as it is, then i don't think you need to point out any more.

I don't think you need to come down on the "nazi saftey" side, but i think you can distance yourself from them on these things alone - i don't think you need to come up with anything else. Either that or volunteer as a "safety" monitor and your word is law. I think this is a great opportunity for you to get a fire performing group off the ground.

If i was you. I would approch the person you're going to speak with in this way.

First tell him, you want to step down as teacher/performer. And offer to explain your reason why. If the guy says "fine, whatever!" then walk away. If he wants to know the reasons why, give him the reasons. I would say, any person with no knowledge of fire safety will think you're going over the top. So, for every negative, give a positive as well.

For instance. I think you have too many people performing/practicing in a confined space. This could be countered by having a two person at a time rule making sure that they are a suitable distance apart.

You have no insurance. However, this can be purchased from so and so for this much. I feel this will greatly improve your chances of being booked for a better paying gig and i for one will not perform without it.

you are spinning too close to the fuel dump. This is unsafe and i suggest you have a fuel dump monitor and the area is cornered off.

If you take this approach, then if they don't listen - walk away knowing you did all you could. If they do listen and are prepared to appoint a team to look out for these sorts of dangers - maybe the you and the other hopperS? then you should have a good fire performing group on board.

Maybe use examples of other groups - burnt toast, pyroflow, carpe ignem and teepooka. show these people their websites, these are the pros after all. Show what lengths they go to. I know durbs was looking into risk assessment. Show them that taking the care to make sure they are safe will lead to better opportunies.

I think you're on the right tracks, and i think you will be able to say the right things. If not, maybe an open letter to the group might help. That way you might appeal to the other members who share the same views. This will put pressure on the people that don't.


Gayle.....!

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Motley
GOLD Member since Oct 2005

Motley

addict
Location: UK

Total posts: 434
Posted:Guy you might also want to bring up their "fire bucket" which actually contained rather more paraffin that I had anticipated and no thought was given to how they were actually going to put it out. They eventually decided to try to turn the bucket over to put it out which resulted in rather a lot of paraffin (burning) spilling over the grass and probably making a horrendous mess not to mention that they tried to stamp this out afterwards.

I was rather pissed off as well mate, and to be honest the thing I was most concerned about is them jeapordising our sunday meets, that night we had visits from a local councellor and the police, which is more than weve seen in 6 months of spinning on PP. I'd say give them a wide berth and let them do their own thing, I just hope, as I say it doesnt end up messing up our meets


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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:Thanks for the advice people.

Tom: eek I (thankfully) missed that part. I'm just sorry I ever got you guys to go down there in the first place. Needless to say, Sunday was completely different to the first practise meet I went to. If I'd known it would be ANYTHING like that I would've run a mile in the first place


Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:post deleted
EDITED_BY: LazyAngel (1137698998)


Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

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jo_rhymes
SILVER Member since Apr 2005

jo_rhymes

Momma Bear
Location: Telford, Shrops

Total posts: 4525
Posted:I agree Guy. They were total pillocks. I dont mean to be a bi-atch but they seemed like a bunch of incompetent gimps with inflated egos.
I didnt much appreciate being showered in paraffin and wire wool, and I didnt think the curly haired dude letting some random stranger having a go on his fire staff was such a wise move either.
My advice: we should start our own troupe! oh hell yeah!! they were losers! biggrin


Hoppers are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

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Beth


Beth

Miss Whippy
Location: Cornwall & Oxford

Total posts: 1262
Posted:I had this exact same problem Guy. The fire troupe, and i use the term very loosely, at my uni wanted me to join them as a teacher after they saw me spin. I said no because they were totally unsafe, putting lit torches into a dunking pot, letting complete noobs firebreathe, etc. etc. (theres a thread or two about it somewhere) and they also had no insurance for public, paid displays.

Distance yourself from them. If they are a univeristy society then go to the Union Societies Secretary and complain. Take all the safety stuff from this site and explain it to the guy. Hopefully he will take action and either ban this society or at least make them get insurance.

On the other hand however. This 'troupe' are endangering their own safety and the safety of their audience. You know how to conduct yourself safely in a performance environment. These guys could benefit hugely from your teaching.

So its a choice really, you either quit and leave them to it, or you educate them on what they're doing wrong. shrug


Aim high and you'll know your limits, aim low and you'll never know how high you could have climbed.

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VampyricAcid
SILVER Member since Jun 2005

VampyricAcid

veteran
Location: My House

Total posts: 1286
Posted:they were nice people, but their attitude to fire was immature and just plain stupid, the excuse for showering everyone with wire wool was "i've never done it before i didnt know how far it'd go", now, if that was the case with me i'd go twice as far just to be sure, but the fire bucket was the icing on the cake for me, average sized metal bucket, with wht we found out to be about 3 inches of parafin in the bottom, no way to put it out, no fire blanket, no extinguisher, not even a proper way to carry said bucket back to halls.

and they cant have Society Insureance as they aren't a society. i retract my statement from early on in the evening saying shall we come here again, after the behaviour im just worried about the public attitude towards spinners in cambridge going down the pan


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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:Well, in the interests of fairness, here's the reply I got:

I respect what you have said and were I in your position I would probably have voiced the same concerned, but allow me to address your points so that you know that I've either taken them on board or at least make an excuse or two...


When performing at university events fire jugglers are covered by the PLI paid for by the entertainment crew at the event. The only other times that we use fire are weekly practices on the common - do you have insurance for those spins?


I have looked into insurance for the troupe, but currently for the gigs that we are looking at it doesn't seem necessary, as they're all essentially university events.


Wire wool: I hadn't used wire wool before, and I was completely taken by surprise by the size of the fallout from that. Since that first time, though, I have always used it safely.

I always personally vet each member of the troupe for competence and give them a full safety talk before allowing them to light up, including where to spin, what to do if something goes wrong, etc. I am also particular about what I let the members of my troupe wear when they spin. Those people who aren't ready to light up aren't allowed to light up. However, at the Sunday meet there were a number of people who had come along because they just wanted to spin and weren't members of the troupe, and I can't vouch for them or their behaviour, just like I can't e.g. vouch for the safety practices of your friends, who were nevertheless spinning with us.

In many ways I'm ashamed that you had to see the Sunday practice, because it's very atypical of what we do in firetroupe generally. First of all, we only very rarely use fire anyway, once a week at most, the rest of the time (6-10 hours a week) we spend working on technique and routines. The sunday spin was an informal meet up to which I invited all the firespinners I knew, as it was the first of the term.

While you brought up lots of valid points of safety, do realise that I have been spinning for a very long time, and am capable of dealing with emergency situations should they arise. More than one of the troupe have full first aid qualifications, and there was a damp cloth and a burns first aid kit.

I hope, even if you do decide to disassociate yourself with the troupe, that we don't part on bad terms.


Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

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jo_rhymes
SILVER Member since Apr 2005

jo_rhymes

Momma Bear
Location: Telford, Shrops

Total posts: 4525
Posted:hmmm,, nice reply. However, do you honestly think they spend 6-10 hours a week practicing??!!
And not doing wire wool before?! well he should have gone as far away as possible just in case!
It was nice of him to get back to you though hug


Hoppers are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

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VampyricAcid
SILVER Member since Jun 2005

VampyricAcid

veteran
Location: My House

Total posts: 1286
Posted:"However, at the Sunday meet there were a number of people who had come along because they just wanted to spin and weren't members of the troupe, and I can't vouch for them or their behaviour, just like I can't e.g. vouch for the safety practices of your friends, who were nevertheless spinning with us."

sorry is that aimed at OUR safety practices?


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animatEd
BRONZE Member since Aug 2004

animatEd

1 + 1 = 3
Location: Bristol UK

Total posts: 3540
Posted:"Wire wool: I hadn't used wire wool before, and I was completely taken by surprise by the size of the fallout from that. Since that first time, though, I have always used it safely"

Hmmm... I don't buy that. How did he find out about spinning it? By watching someone else? Seeing photos? SUrely that would have given him some idea about how far sparks fly... Why did it surprise him? what did he think happened when you spun Wire wool? Surely, being in university, he should have known that the force of him spinning the poi would send the sparks flying out?

It does annoy me when students in higher education lack even the most basic common sense. I mean, if they can't understand things like that, how the hell did they manage to get into Uni? confused


Empty your mind. Be formless, Shapeless, like Water.
Put Water into a cup, it becomes the cup, put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Water can flow, or it can Crash.
Be Water My Friend.

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Skulduggery
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Skulduggery

Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
Location: Wales

Total posts: 8428
Posted:On the topic of the wire wool, I would have to say that if he didn't know that it was going to spit hot molten metal so far, he hadn't done enough safety research before hand.

Isn't the main part of fire safety, be prepared. In being prepared doesn't that mean researching the tools you use to perform with fire? It's one thing to research doing something, and then accepting the dangers that puts you in, but its a whole other thing to put others around you in danger. It sounds to me like he didn't research enough and put others in danger.

Written by:
Since that first time, though, I have always used it safely.



Did I read your post wrong but wasn't this all last sunday? How many times is "always" in the space of 6 days?


Written by:
I always personally vet each member of the troupe for competence and give them a full safety talk before allowing them to light up, including where to spin, what to do if something goes wrong, etc.



How can he vet them for competence when he himself has admitted incompetence?

I say walk away from this group as fast as your legs will take you.


Feed me Chocolate!!! Feed me NOW!

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