Intro: How to Protect Yourself While Fire Juggling
The motivation for making this instructable is to share the safety measures i take while fire and pyrotechnic juggling/manipulation, in order to avoid potential health problems associated to the inhalation of toxic particles and vapors. My personal lemma towards protecting your health is: "better safe than sorry".
I have been fire juggling for 6 year and now i am approaching retirement :) during this time i have taken lots of risks (human fireworks) and made a lot of mistakes regarding health protection, since the beginning of fire juggling i have come a long way and improved the safety measures necessary to avoid potential heath problems. I am now at a point where i feel comfortable doing a fire show knowing that i am doing all i can to minimize my exposure to the hazards of fire juggling.
Regarding fire hazards, fire burns are not as harmful when compared to inhalation of toxic particles and vapors (in my opinion). If you burn your skin, it will grow back, if you damage your lungs it is a hole different story.
In this insctuctable i cover the appropriate clothes to where when fire juggling, and the respiratory protection gear i where during a fire show.
This first video is a promotional video showing some of the safety measures evolving thought time.
This second video shows my last performances fully geared and protected.
Step 1: The Problem: Open Flames and Hydrocarbon Poisoning / Toxicity
The problem is easy to identify: Fire juggler are exposed to open flames and toxic fumes when performing!
Open flames can cause skin and hair burns and Hydrocarbon poisoning can cause respiratory problems.
I avoid using the smelly toxic fuels, i normally use uncolored withe spirit and fire water.
Some fuels are worse than others, but keep in mind they are all toxic and potential health dangers.
99.9 % of fire juggler don't protect their lungs while fire juggling, in my opinion it is a mistake, a mistake that i also made in the beginning of my fire performances, but as i will show here, protection measurements are quite easy to implement.
Step 2: Full Body Clothing
To minimize skin burns, the less skin exposure the better. How do you cover yourself completely and still be able to preform complex moves?
Solution: using a Kimono Karate suit that is 100% cotton.
The kimono karate suit is perfect for fire juggling, it is made from thick 100% cotton and coverts most of the lower and upper limps as well as chest and back.
Step 3: Hands Protection
A important part of fire manipulating is the ability to grab a burning object with your hands, if you don't use hand protection, you cant use your hands in a emergency situation. Having your hands protected from fire gives you a lot of confidence during your performance.
Solution: Wet Kevlar gloves or cotton gloves or both at the same time
I personally use a pair of Kevlar Gloves and wet cotton gloves simultaneously. One on top of the other. I also use a cotton wrist protection sleeve, that protects my wrists.
Step 4: Class 2 Full Face Mask
For face skin and respiratory protection i use a NORTH Safety panoramic full face mask 5400 class 2, it allows 200º panoramic view, very durable and comfortable on the face. Nominal protection factor of 1000 and weighs in at 437gr and respects EN140 Norm.
The mask has 2 functions, face skin protection and toxic vapor filter.
Recommendation: Periodically check if your mask's silicone seal is still isolating the environment inside your mask and the exterior environment. If this seal is compromised due to were, change your mask for a new one. I change mine every 2 years or so. Also clean your mask regularly under water.
Step 5: Class 2 Mask Filter
The filters i use are CLASSE 2 - ABEK2P3. These filter protect against organic and inorganic vapors as well as solid and liquid particles. They have a double aluminum housing, have active carbon with a filtration efficacy of 99.995% of particles 0,3um and weights in at 347gr.
They are priced at 20€ a unit, and come in a box of 4 units. They defensively do the job, they protects you from the smoke and from the toxic vapors. They are so good that you can not feel the smell of a cigaret in front of you.
Recommendation: Replace the filter whenever you feel the smell of toxic fumes. I replace mine every 4 performances or so, it depends, some last longer (5 performances of 7 minutes) some last less (2 performances of 7 minutes). After using the filter don't forget to lock the filter with the front and back lids, and sore in a clean place.
Step 6: Cleaning Your Skin
After the performance i immediately take a shower to clean and remove the smoke particles in my skin and hair. Use a nice shower glove to rub the particles out of your skin. Don't forget that your skin is your biggest organ, and it will eventually absolves the toxic deposited fumes and gases on the surface.