Do's and Don't Of Fire Performance Legalization

Do’s and Don’t Of Fire Performance Legalization

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Feature photo courtesy of Tedx Bushwick

Are you ready to head to the fire department and establish a real system for fire practice and performance in your area?  Fire Performance regulations agreed upon by Fire Departments and members of our community are already in place in cities like Seattle, New York and even states like Nevada thanks to leaders like Tara Mc Manus, so getting them in your town seems like it should be a done deal.  Not so fast!  There’s a lot to consider, starting from whether or not you should initiate the process at all, to building a relationship and presenting your community in a positive light, to potentially being the one to help dictate the law!  There’s a lot on the table.  Tara has been an usher for a legalization system in NY that keeps our community there safe, in good standing, and helps them avoid as many expensive permits as possible.  It takes a lot of information to help you figure out the full action plan for your local community, so after watching this interview, I recommend you check out her other content at the bottom of this article to get the full story.

If you have a local fire marshal who drives by and waves then …you’re fine.  Maybe you don’t need to instigate but in a lot of cases the community is getting bigger and bigger and that’s going to create a lot of fear in the fire department. It’s a good approach to walk into their office and humbly present yourself as a fire performer.


You don’t want to say “It’s my right.” but rather “This is something that’s happening.”


If fire performers want to insult each other, they go for safety first.  When [the fire department officials] see bickering in the community, it really works against us.


What I really wanted the fire department to do is inspect a venue once a year for a hundred bucks.  I wanted them to say “this is the stage where the fire performance will happen, here’s the C15 certificate for the flame retardancy of the curtains, here are the fire extinguishers which are up to date for a year, and these systems will always be in place for the next year.”


The monster is already out there, we just need to make sure it’s responsible.


Tara Mc Manus interview with fire arts magazine

Some references mentioned in the interview and provided by Tara:

A Floasis step by step guide for becoming licensed in New York City (excellent reference for a process that can be established in you area)

NY Fire Department Certificate of Fitness Study Material (an excellent guide for what fire performers should know before speaking to their fire department or applying for a license.  Also for what a fire department should look for in a safe and knowledgable performer)

The North American Fire Arts Association 

Flow Arts Institute Fire Safety Course (training and content can be viewed for free, only pay to take the test and get your certificate)

Other content by and about Tara that presents a full view of this ongoing process.

Flow Arts Institute Media: How to Speak to Your Fire Marshal Article

GigSalad : How to legally perform with fire in NYC

NY Post Article: The one place in NYC where you can play with fire

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Mariya K is the creator of Fire Arts Magazine as well as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator at the She is ultimately the Creative Director at Fire Arts Magazine