Forums > Social Chat > Call to change First Act Fire Insurance - Equity recommended

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sichaineyBRONZE Member
242 posts
Location: bournemouth/dorset/uk

Hello Community,

As some of you are aware the FIRE cover Equity currently recommends via First Act Insurance is inadaquate for your average fire show.
If you are with Equity and would like to see a change please comment below, if your not with Equity because of the restrictions in place please comment below.
Sensible posts only please as this is a serious matter for many performers. FACEBOOK page here -

LETTER TO EQUITY sent September 09

Dear Equity,

I'm emailing in response to our telephone conversation earlier today regarding restraints placed upon the "fire top-up" offered by First Act the designated insurers for Equity. Firstly I would like to explain my position within the community as well as my knowledge regarding the safe practise of fire.

My name is Simon Chainey head of a performance group called F.L.A.M.E which is now in it's 4th season and currently working all over the UK, as well as the performance side we also host a circus festival called the Southern Lights Circus Arts Festival ( ) the festival is aimed at amateur and professional performers within the circus community and has a very strong fire manipulation/performance presence. The festival currently operates at 500 people. I'm also present on all of the circus forums via the internet.
I also hold a day job as a full time Fire Fighter which I have held for 7 years thus giving me extensive knowledge of safe practises with fire.

One month ago I took the step to join Equity as I saw this as a progression within my performance career, I intended to hold all my insurances through Equity and it's associated insurers. After I joined I was passed to First Act to "top-up" my policy with regards to fire, upon receiving the fire criteria I soon released I was unable to follow the guidelines set down with certain restrictions in place. The following points listed below make the policy unrealistic for a Fire Troupe to be insured. I'm well aware of many groups who are insured via this scheme and are unable to meet the demands thus making them not insured.

LEVEL OF COVER: Currently First Act are only able to offer 2 million cover, where as most councils ask for a cover of 5 million. I fear groups will hand over their 10 million cover offered by Equity and keep the under insured fire element quiet, this now creates a situation where if something was to happen the group would not be insured.

STORAGE OF FIRE PROPS: Its stated that all fire props are to be kept in a locked metal box when not in use. Some pieces of equipment are large/awkward shapes and to be put into a metal box is unpractical i.e. Fire hoops and Fire staff's. Does the prop have to stay in the metal box up till the point it's ignited? Again this is something that groups are unable to stick to.

If all props weren't to be prepped until they were in a designated area this would eliminate the need for metal box storage.

QUANTITY OF FUEL ALLOWED: The policy states that only 2.5 litres of fuel may be carried. An average 4 person fire show would use anything up to 8 litres per show and a group could be booked to perform 6 shows over a weekend.

Ideally this would be raised up to 50 litres and stipulate that all fuel to kept in the correct containers (jerry cans) and only the fuel needed for the show to be present within the area. Flammable sticker on the vehicle carrying the fuel and possible a COSHH sheet present within the vehicle.

I appreciate why these measures are in place but I feel they are aimed more at your classic street show with a fire juggling section. This policy greatly inhibits a working fire troupe to the point where I have had to go back to my old insurance group to ensure I'm properly covered. I would like to see if these points could be addressed and possibly come with a "add on fee" to enable fire troupe's to be properly covered.

EDITED_BY: sichainey (1263810486)

614 posts

I couldnt agree more.

sichaineyBRONZE Member
242 posts
Location: bournemouth/dorset/uk

We have approached Equity regarding our concerns and in turn they have approached First Act regarding our issues. They have asked us to submit a revised policy wording so First Act can take it to their actual insurers. If you have any suggestions then please email me at or post on the Facebook page. Any ideas or suggestions need to be received by 10th Feb. A copy of the contract is on the FB page ...... all be it a little blurry. Please forward this email to people you think may benefit.

We also asked the question regarding working as groups and when do you become classed as an employer. See the reply below.

The employment situation is a legal situation applying to insurance rather than something invented by First Act. Employers liability insurance and public liability insurance covering a company starts applying where there is a master-servant relationship within a contract. So, if you employ someone and direct their performance then you would normally be liable for their actions etc. If all of the members of say a troupe are equal within it and no master-servant relationship exists then this employment situation does not exist. Equitys public liability insurance policies are designed for individual performers but are still applicable when all artists are Equity members and each is responsible for their own performance and not under the direction of an employer / producer and each can still be regarded as fully freelance. I hope that is clear but just wanted you to understand that this isnt a First Act stipulation but applies universally.

EDITED_BY: sichainey (1264251314)