Forums > Help! > Please! Our fire jam is out of control!

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face.the.llama
stranger

Member Since: 5th Jul 2007
Total posts: 8
Posted:In PDX we have our fire jam every first and third Sunday. and it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and many of the people I dance with. Over the past months, less safety has come, and I can't complain, cause like others, I haven't brought any. But after last Sunday, I'll be changing my habits.

Where this used to be fun. always safety around. a nice crowd, and our drum circle, and knowledgeable and considerate fire dancers... we didn't have to watch our backs..... Now we have drunks and druggies taking over, spinning near the fuel, spitting lamp oil over the crowd in attempts at fire breathing. We are scared we are going to lose it. We had a massive fire last sunday.

Recently I was dipping, and I turned around and there was someone spinning less then a foot from my face, and they didn't notice. NEAR THE FUEL NEAR MY FACE! I'm sure I'm not the only one there who has had this happen. Drunks who have never spun before, let alone fire, just spinning spastically with no regard to what is around them

Read the thread, in the below link, to get a better idea of what happened.

http://tribes.tribe.net/portlandfire/thr...86-08b9975ec267

This isn't just a party, it's not regulated by anyone, but we are willing to strap down and regulate to save it.



Now my questions are:

Considering that not everyone shows up every time (so no consistency) what should be required of every fire participant when they come? Things on sharing equipment. Ways to get police involved when a crazy invades, without getting ourselves in trouble. (The officials know about the event and come by sometimes, and haven't shut us down) what should we do to make ourselves more organized so that if/when something does happen, we will more likely be able to stay open?

How do we mark off areas? like, distance required from spinning space and fuel to smoke. Any suggestions on marking off areas.

AND we want to make a smallish, but informative, brochure to pass out to the fire dancers, drummers, and crowd, so they can know what they need to do to protect themselves and others. What all should be in that (can be bigger then small, but for cost reasons. (A LOT OF PEOPLE GO TO THIS!)

Locations on good information for safety kits and practices for large amounts of people (say as many as 30-40 fire participants). How many safety stations (we have as many as 10 people spinning at once)? and what should be in our first aid kits. And what to do for immediate care (before arrival at the hospital).

what do we do in case of a big fire like what happened before? How do we approach a dangerous person with lamp oil spill and a lighter in hand?

ANY TIPS ARE HELPFUL.. except shutting it down or moving... Its being considered.. but we need to try and save it before we resort to that... What are you guys doing to regulate your jams?


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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:I'd suggest changing evenings to the first and third Saturdays instead smile

You could mark off areas with tape, but I doubt the drunks and druggies would see it and would just wander through it.


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Spanner
Spanner

remembers when it was all fields round here
Location: in the works... somewhere...
Member Since: 27th Feb 2003
Total posts: 2790
Posted:From the tribe thread:



 Written by

And if some drunk tweaker is causing havoc, get them off the censored stage area and take their gear away.





Persuading them off the stage area and away from others may just about be feasible, but I can see taking someone's gear away from them, drunk/drugged or not, leading to a nasty situation.



 Written by

Oh yeah, and stop lending your gear to just anyone who asks.





^^^ This: well-behaved spinners need to identify the kinds of things they can easily solve before they can expect anything from the rest, prevention is better than cure, etc.

Plus: don't leave gear around so that any random can pick it up without asking.

All of the above should go for fuel as well.



 Written by

We set up, rope off, whatever, a fueling station with cans in buckets, lids nearby, ensure that there is a safety or two or three, adequate extinguishing materials, maybe print off a couple dozen copies of Tedward's regulations or the local codes, talk with these kids, talk with these kids, police the fueling station, (if y'all really care i won't smoke near the fuel), and generally educate the folks who don't know better.





Emphasis mine: whether people really care about it for whatever reason misses the point - it should be about whether it's safe.



Whatever your ideal for a spin is, what actually happens tends to fall anywhere between a little below that standard if people are only making genuine mistakes, or a lot below due to some people who unfortunately will always will do the bare minimum that they can get away with.

That's nothing personal against the guy as his advice is well-intended but it's a good example of one kind of attitude which is fuelling this.



Similarly, if you restrict the audience to a small area, some people will inevitably spill out, but could you find a position at which they wouldn't be so close to the fire circle even if they did stray?

It's not just about keeping the fire away from the audience but vice versa and as there are children involved I don't think you've got much choice but to try it before someone gets hurt.

In fact, I'd go as far as to suggest banning fire breathing for that very reason: you wouldn't bring a flamethrower anywhere near a kid, so why a fire breather?



I understand there are usually 2 or 3 safety people but I think they need to be performing specific roles, with at least one acting as a fuel guard and another as a patrol around the circle or audience.

If they can't commit to the whole evening, you should have at least one extra person who can take turns to stand in for them so they can go off to socialise, but preferably more if available when it gets busier.



If you boycott, they may just carry on in your absence.

If you move the time and/or place, it may only provide you with temporary peace until they hear about it.



I don't think you need to shut it down and rules are difficult to enforce but as there seems to be enough people concerned enough about it, I still think you have a good chance of changing the bad attitude.

Everyone promoting good fire safety needs backing up and maybe using a common peaceful protest tactic against saboteurs would help, which goes something like this:



When someone sees a spinner misbehaving, they shout "stop!" and point to that person, which asks everyone to stop spinning and not to start until the danger has passed.

If that isn't enough to shame them into stopping, the next shout should be "sit down!" with people then preferably sitting down altogether for the maximum impact, which also lets everyone, including police/fire/safety officers, see who is misbehaving more clearly.

The next step would be to chant at them (something like "you're a censored and you know you are" but preferably your regional variation of something less provocative on the same theme wink)



Making good use of peer pressure can go a long way towards shaming someone into behaving safely, especially as it's a nuisance for everyone to have to keep stopping.

It does sound extreme but hopefully you shouldn't have to keep this up for very long until you see things getting back to the way they need to be and then you can work on keeping it that way smile


"I thought you are man, but
you are nice woman.

yay,

:R"

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Fearpig
Fearpig

member - tee hee "member"
Location: Bethnal Green, London
Member Since: 6th Sep 2003
Total posts: 279
Posted:It might be really obvious but it sounds like someone needs to take responsibility for the event! Or share the responsibilty between a group of you.

The flyer / pamphlet is a great idea!

In your flyer you can even include something along the lines of "the person in the hi-vis jacket marked 'FIRE MARSHAL' is god and their word is LAW" that way its obvious who is in charge and they have more impact when asking people to stop / behave / go away, as a side effect people are less likely to go "Who the hell do you think you are" if you have Fire Marshal written across you in big letters!

Go and talk to the police... if they are aware of what to expect then it just makes things run smoother if you ever do need their help.

Personally I would ban fire breathing as there is just too much associated risk. (sorry all you fire breathers!)

Stake out and hazard tape an area for spinning and a seperate refueling area.

Ensure that you supply water buckets, damp towels and fire extinguishers - You should be able to sort a kit out for around 20 and for the size of event I would suggest at least a few kits dotted around the area.

I really like the stop and sit down bit suggested by Anna above its suprisingly effective. Also make sure that every one knows who everyone is - introduce yourself to people who don't know you, give them a flyer and talk through the rules with them


"Whats wrong with the cat?" - Mrs Schrdinger

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Fearpig
Fearpig

member - tee hee "member"
Location: Bethnal Green, London
Member Since: 6th Sep 2003
Total posts: 279
Posted:I forgot to say... in case of a big fire - call the fire brigade!

You should takle the blaze only with appropriate equipment that you are familiar with and without endangering yourselves or others.

If the fire is encroaching on a refueling area, try and remove other sources of fuel... however be extremely careful! Parrafin is often (and should be) stored in a sealed steel container to prevent accidental ignition. The downside with this is that a sealed container can exlpode under heat - I've never seen this happen to a performer but please be careful.

...if in any doubt at all, ring the fire brigade!


"Whats wrong with the cat?" - Mrs Schrdinger

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face.the.llama
stranger

Member Since: 5th Jul 2007
Total posts: 8
Posted:HAH. well that's a good idea. but being that parking is free on sundays, I don't think we'll get many votes for switching days.

And yeah, some of us are thinking that taping it off would just put to much regulation and people might stop going. I kinda think.. if we tape it off till things chill a bit. just to establish where people should be, and shouldn't be. maybe that will help.

thank you


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ElectricBlue
ElectricBlue

Now with extra strawberries
Location: Canberra
Member Since: 11th Feb 2002
Total posts: 810
Posted: Written by

taping it off would just put to much regulation and people might stop going.



If people don't want to come any more beacuse you are implementing safty precautions then one might suggest that they are the people you don't want coming any way?


I {Heart} hand me downs and spinning in the snow.<br /><br />

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face.the.llama
stranger

Member Since: 5th Jul 2007
Total posts: 8
Posted:I'd be scared to go up against someone, who I don't know what they are on, and how they will respond to it. they may be so desentisized that they don't feel pain or fear of any sort.

as for resricting where the audiance is, I was thinking more along, just keeping them out of a certain area (where we are spinning or fueling and not where they can hurt our safety things).


I like that "stop!" bit. cause that would be really annoying for everyone, and then they would push a little more for people to behave safely. Almost seems scary! hhaah. having people chant at you. :-) great idea, I"ll bring it up in our discussions about what to do.

Thank you so much! this has been very helpful :-D


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face.the.llama
stranger

Member Since: 5th Jul 2007
Total posts: 8
Posted:that is true. but when I started coming to the event, there was a certain freedom involved, and everyone had the right to it, because we were all safe spinners an respected eachother and our onlookers.

I would like to tape it off till things chill. but a lot of people come here because they feel that they are free to dance where they like (because we are(WERE) careful).

I duno. You make a good point. Was just a complaint about the idea that one of my friends came up with. And he's one of those safe spinners who watches out for the ones around him, and stays sure that he is being safe.


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ElectricBlue
ElectricBlue

Now with extra strawberries
Location: Canberra
Member Since: 11th Feb 2002
Total posts: 810
Posted:It sounds like a pretty scary situation although freedom is good having people off their faces and Spinning Dangerously it a great way to get that sort of activity to get banned from a park.

To me it sounds like you need to get together with the more responsible spinners and start your own jam at a different time/location where you can set your own basic rules from the get go. With good structure from the beginning even large fire jams can run successfully but the trouble starts when it goes from small and casual to big and there are no ground rules or understandings about how to behave.

By the sounds of it you need to distance yourself from this group as quickly as you can before you go down with the sinking ship.

Maybe you could start a jam on the sat night and put out a hat? that way audiance members could contribute to paying for the space?


I {Heart} hand me downs and spinning in the snow.<br /><br />

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GeoffonTour04
enthusiast
Location: Oxford
Member Since: 30th Nov 2005
Total posts: 360
Posted:On the subject of putting fires out, don't throw water on burning fuel, it spits & spreads, get a couple bags of sand & spread that over it, it'll soak it up & smother the flames.

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Kathain_Bowen
Kathain_Bowen

Good Ol' Yarn For Hair
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Member Since: 24th Jan 2006
Total posts: 422
Posted:It sounds like you've got a new crew of people spinning unsafely, mixing with an old group of spinners. It also sounds like you've got a crew of people who were smaller and more tight knit, who did their safety stuff out of habit and practice but without any firm and fixed rules or regulations. The upside to this is that it can be rather like an open community. The downside is that groups of people who have operated as such may be less likely to adopt change, especially in the form of rigid rules.

Were I in your shoes, I would get the main spinners together for something like an open forum to discuss the issues you are seeing. While rigid rules may not work out well, you may find compromises to address the situation. If possible, get your local fire marshall and/or law enforcement involved in your burns to help with crowd control, especially if you are already pressed for safeties. Perhaps your crew could establish a group fuel site monitored either by a volunteer from the group or fromm your local fire department.

If the situation doesn't improve, or if no compromises can be found, walk away. The risks being taken are not worth the lives of your audience, your safety, nor yourself.


"So long and thanks for all the fish."

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Gnor
Gnor

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Perth
Member Since: 31st Mar 2003
Total posts: 5814
Posted:We have a had a similar situation and a few of us ones who really go to sociallise and learn and teach moved for a while after making our feeling pretty clear why we were doing it.
It made a small meet but when us long termers went back the message had got through mostly and its been ok.
The nice weather brings out the spectators and the nobs who dont care if we lose our lovely spin spot.
We had had a few weeks of talking constantly to these people about
not vandalising
not littering
safe spinning practice
We had a meeting of all present with two of loud and respected spinners chairing it to spread the word of
why we had the meeting
what we wanted to change
and asking for help from those present to spread the word. Then we left for a while when no real change was seen.
We had to be careful not to present an exclusve front to these people who were shitting us or they would have no reason to help us stop the crap behavior.

So its been not too bad since but the litter and noise has started up again but itll be cold soon and the voyeurs and theitr rubbish and noice will leave.

So no real help.....other than try talking to them in a nonconfrontational manner.


Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:This sounds like a case for... errm, whoever.

'Seriously' I can't see much alternative to an (semi)authoritative figure (errm, one who radiates 'natural' authority, as in "kind but firm").

You might consider to set up a meeting with the regulars and come to common agreement. Certainly the situation is already at a stage where correction is 'difficult' because you gave these ppl a lot of your territory, which to reclaim won't be easy.

If you involve law enforcement, they might just crack on the entire thing, rather than weeding out the individuals. They usually are not keen on getting drawn into the particulars and won't take risks every time you have your jam. If you have a good, compassionate contact within the police station you might be able to talk to them, other than that I would really try to sort it out within the group before that.

My personal stance towards firebreathing is crystal clear and everything I see and hear about them reconfirms me in my approach: complete ban.

Marking off areas won't be easy as well. Whenever it's a jam, especially when drugs of any kind involved ppl don't give a *uc*.

Spanner raised some very good and valid points, all of them will fail as long as there is nobody with the mental and physical appearance to 'enforce' them. Talk to your buddies and raise all your (personal) concerns. It depends on your aim and intent, yet consider that as the last resort you might have to bite the bullet and let this one go - set up another event of this kind at the same time in a different place. Be firm from the start.

A pamphlet or flyer (to me) is just 'the easy way out'. I don't have to talk and take on responsibility, read it for yourself... usually at night time nobody reads a flyer, at best they put it in their pockets, only to throw it away the next morning, or use it as filter for their spliffs. A flyer will not replace one-on-one communication.

Still it is possible to change the messed up state this jam is in at the moment. Would you call me 'mental' if I now advise you to sit down and visualize the "perfect jam", the exact way you would like it to happen? Put more energy and attention into the desired result, rather than exasperating on the condition it is in now.

I understand "PDX" to be the airport code of Portland - unfortunately nowhere near my walkabouts... and I'd be too wary of the wrong guys 'carrying' as to talk to any of them in a patronizing manner.

Sorry not being of too much help on this one.

All the best of luck

hug


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stout
Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada
Member Since: 12th May 2004
Total posts: 1872
Posted:Hey...your idiots that show up at your fire jams sound just like our idiots that show up at fire jams.

These guys, the ones who're either ripped out of their heads, very cliquish, or just plain stupid in their anti-authoritarian "don't pee on my parade man..." do a really good job of elevating the stress level of what should really be a fun evening.

I could produce a large list of moronic things I've seen at our fire jams over the past five years, but I won't bore you with it except to say that on more than a few occasions, I've actually moved my fuel far, far away from anybody else's fuel, just in case there's a problem ( like that guy who's "act' consisted of some sort of flammable aerosol spray and a lighter ) it won't involve MY fuel.

The only suggestion I can offer is to move the whole thing, something I've been advocating for a while but that comes with it's own set of problems. One being...how important is publicising your jams in effort to attract an audience ? Personally, I'm not fussed about the audience as most of them seem to be teenagers walking around drunk, who just happen to stumble upon the jam.

I tried doing the policing thing...all I got was ya ya ya whatever.

Fire safety's an interesting topic, as far as I can see, it's oft talked about, seldom practiced. I assume you guys are using white gas...we do, and there's a vast sea of ignorance out there when it comes to dealing with safety issues re different types of fuels.

Had the burning poi handles accident happen yet ? I saw it twice last year, and from people who should have known better.


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Pyrolific
Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Member Since: 10th Jan 2001
Total posts: 3288
Posted:yeah its a pain. We moved our fire jam when it got out of control (large groups of non-spinning really drunk people breaking glass and acting in a very dangerous manner) but you have to realise that it will probably also have a bit of an adverse effect on your 'vibe', and it might take a few years to re-build it.

--
Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!

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Charles
Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland
Member Since: 27th Jun 2001
Total posts: 3989
Posted:Pyrolific has hit the nail on the head.

The only real way to establish rules is to move and start as you mean to go on.

Chances are, an open public space, in full view of the road or where there is a lot of foot traffic will always attract those who are not the best to have around, and will make the event biggeer than it should be to retain safety rules.

It can seem really hard to find a new place, publlic enough yet private enough to allow things to start again but it seems to be the only way to have a chance of it working.

Finally, it simply won't work trying to reason with people who don't agree with your definition of safety. There is no point in putting energy into it if there is more than one person that does things you are not confortable with.

If your saftey guidelines are not followed, you must be i control of the fuel dump. Pack up the fuel dump and leave as a group. Don't say anything, don't wag your finger don't say it is their fault.

Simply pack up the fuel dump and leave.

This will stop the people form dangerously spinnig fire, and will have a dramatic effect on those who turn up without gear or fuel or safeties/

It's hard, an dnot what we want, but safety is always paramount.

Imagine just one person having 40% burns due to the current situation.


Pack up and leave. If you have to do it every time, then relocate but always be ready to do it and do it without talking, so there can be no arguing...


HoP Posting Guidelines
* Is it the Truth?
* Is it Fair to all concerned?
* Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
* Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

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Charles
Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland
Member Since: 27th Jun 2001
Total posts: 3989
Posted:In my opinion, of course... wink

HoP Posting Guidelines
* Is it the Truth?
* Is it Fair to all concerned?
* Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
* Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

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Gidg
Gidg

Super Gidg!!!!
Location: Portland Oregon USA
Member Since: 11th Apr 2003
Total posts: 8506
Posted:Charles, I do like the idea about moving the Fire and Drum Jam and it has been suggested. But finding a good location is going to be something. We also want to be able to work for the drummers because they are so much a part of the community and the jam.

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is NOT.
Proud member of the HoP DPS.
Sanity is a highly overrated state of mind.
I'm normal ... it's everyone else that's crazy.

Gidg

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face.the.llama
stranger

Member Since: 5th Jul 2007
Total posts: 8
Posted:alas. The Jam has been shut down. Thank you all for your help. We tried. but the city decided it was a no go. we are going to talk to our new fire marshal when (s)he is elected and see about getting permits to spin.

BUT our drummers are now getting shut down at midnight as well . and it's possible that they will have to go away because across the parking lot they are opening up a (go figure) residential fire station. heh. mmm


thank you all again.
-Jenny


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Gidg
Gidg

Super Gidg!!!!
Location: Portland Oregon USA
Member Since: 11th Apr 2003
Total posts: 8506
Posted:eek When did that happen? I knew that the firestation down there was going to be opened temporarily but this is the first time that I've heard of a residentail one being opened.

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is NOT.
Proud member of the HoP DPS.
Sanity is a highly overrated state of mind.
I'm normal ... it's everyone else that's crazy.

Gidg

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