What About Safety? Isn't It Dangerous?

Yes it is dangerous. Don't ever forget it.

When the torches are cold you can grab the burning end and drop it without harm. When they are hot you will get a blister at least. Don't juggle close to cloth. Don't juggle close to other people. Certainly juggle well away from your fuel store. Keep a fire blanket on hand and preferably an extinguisher if you think other things may go up. Keep a sensible first aid kit (lint-free bandage, water is a minimum).


If you get a burn, wash it gently and put a loose bandage over it to keep it clean. When you get into the light check it over, pick any bits out, clean it more carefully and bandage it without getting anything like cotton wool near it. Antiseptic is not necessary usually---burns just need to be kept clean. If you want to use antiseptic do but remember it also tends to kill your skin cells so it doesn't help the healing, just the cleanliness). If someone gets fuel in the eye or a burn near the eye (or other sensitive place) get medical assistance. Burns should be held under cold water (preferably running; if still, swirl the water or the burnt area) for at least 3-5 minutes. Burns go deep quickly and the heat has to be drawn out slowly. It really takes a good long time to cool a burnt area.

Fire Extinguishers

You can buy surprisingly small fire extinguishers ("for kitchen, car, or boat") at any hardware store -- given that they're cheap, small, and lightweight, you might want to add one to your prop kit. Daniel Turbogek provides this warning about dry all-purpose fire extinguishers:

Do not use on people! The powder can cause breathing problems and is bad on the eyes. Never point near someone's face (actually, avoid anywhere from the waist up, because the powder can spread pretty far) -- use a blanket or large thick towel to smother the flames on your body (or throwing partner).

I always have two volunteers, one to hold the blanket and one for the extinguisher. Brief them and have them repeat your instructions. Make sure the extinguisher holder understands that they are there only to prevent burning of grass/theater/equipment.

Torch Safety / Juggling Information Service / help@juggling.org
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