Rave Safety

A couple of years ago I died at a rave. Well, not really a rave ... a 'desert gathering' ... principally indistinguishable from a rave. The reasons for my minute and a half of death are complex but primarily result from a heat stroke that was caused by improper hydration. Fortunately, there was a nurse onhand to revive me. Ever since then, I've been a water nazi (Ve have vays of makink you drink!). So, I present a few thoughts on party safety here...
Hydration and heat
Okay, so the score here is to only go to parties that have an outdoor area. Don't go to parties where the promoter isn't smart enough to find a place for you to cool down. Take water with you. Most parties will allow you to carry in sealed water. If they don't, make sure to have enough cash to buy it. If you don't, demand a refund and go somewhere else.

If you're going to an outdoor party, take shade. The simplest shade structure can be built with a blanket, two posts and stakes. Get creative. If you have two cars, you can close a blanket in the doors between them and get some shade. Also, take more water than you think you're gonna need. Outdoor parties are usually an open and sharing crowd, someone else might need some. Any you have left over could be used again, used to drown the inevitable fires that show up, or used to water the local plants.

When drinking water, make sure to drink YOUR water. Unscrupulous people show up at raves that haven't gotten PLUR and occasionally slip things into the water they give other people. If the water tastes funny in any way, a sip shouldn't hurt you. If your water leaves your sight, treat it as foreign. But do drink water, drink a little more than you think you need. My personal rule, especially in the desert, is to drink until you're satisfied, then take a sip more each time.

Drug Safety
Okay, it's never good to take drugs, blah blah blah, listen to the man, pay your taxes, watch TV instead, use an anti-drug, only users lose drugs, etc. End commercial. Begin reality. People take drugs, and a very few people at parties may try to slip you some. To avoid the latter, never take anything not factory sealed from people you don't know. It's a simple rule. Parties are all about the love and some people try to exploit that; maybe getting a little more love than you wanted to give them. Be safe. Take the raver test to see if the rest of this is for you.

When chosing to take illicit substances, I have a few general rules. First, find a dealer that you can trust. This is harder than you think. Get to know them, talk to them about their habits: do they test their product, do they take it themselves, do they at least test each batch on a willing guinea pig before selling any? All good questions. That's a start. A good dealer should be able to tell you precisely how their product will affect you: "long trippy roll", "short intense roll", "mellow trip, lots of visuals", "big head trip".

If you must get your stuff from people you don't know, ask the promoter if they know and trust the person. If the promoter doesn't know them, chances are the dealer just showed up at the party. Find people that are having the kind of fun you'd like to have, get them to tell you where they got help, or have them get yours for you. Make sure you get the same stuff they got, not "something better". If you can't establish trust, don't buy.

Even if you can establish trust, it never hurts to get a testing kit. Currently I only know about kits for ecstacy, but it's worth looking around periodically. If you want to get an E kit anonymously, do to a party where dancesafe will be and shell some out there.

There are two ways you can come into contact with fire: bonfires at an outdoor, or fire performances anywhere. Both require specific handling.

Bonfires. Most people still have the sense that they were born with, even when things "get a little busy." If you're altered, keep a safe distance from the fire, you should be fine. But safety comes in the setting up and extinguishing of fires. Build you fire as far away from plant life as possible. It may not be too much of a problem in northern latitudes, but the closer you get to the equator, the more you need to watch out for wildfires. When you are the last to leave, make sure you put out the fire correctly: drown, stir and feel. you need to make sure the fire is completely out before you leave it unattended. DO NOT cover a fire with sand. Sand can blow away, restarting the fire, and a buried fire can light the roots of nearby plants.

Fire performance. Many fire performers make sure to clear out a good area to perform in, many have safety equipment, many check their tools before each performance, and many perform sober. Some don't. Clearly and simply, if you don't know the performer, haven't worked with them on their routine, or they don't see you - STAY THE FUCK AWAY! I've seen too many people walk right through a fire performance without the performer seeing them. All it would have taken was a shift in the routine to cause a strike. Fire performers make it look easy, but those little balls of flame can reach 750 degrees farenheit. That's hot enough to weld metal.
     And please, don't try to put out a fire performer who has lit themselves. You could take a strike from their equipment, scare them into a bigger mistake, or cause them to lose a wick that could light someone else. If you MUST do something, get in front of them and shout your message briefly: "hair on fire!" They'll quickly realise that you're talking about them. Fire performers must first accept the fact that they'll get burned sometimes. If they light themselves aflame, it's part of the learning process. Usually, they'll figure it out before it damages them seriously.
     Sometimes, a performer with intimate contol of their flames will bring people into the performance. I will, occasionally, 'slice' people with my fire sword. I only do it with people I know, and know they will not freak at the proximity of the flame. If a perfromer asks you to come into their performance, do only what they tell you to do. Unexpected actions can lead to disaterous results. If someone near you 'gets the treament,' don't assume you will. Often the performer is timing their fire in their head, and may not have time for you, may not know you as well, or just may decide to stop. Don't approach them unless they call you...
     Should an accident occur, and you or someone near you gets hit with a wick, smother the flame quickly. Fire wicks are dipped in fuel that can transfer to clothing during a strike. Some performers use this fact in their shows. It can be dangerous if you don't have the right clothing. If you're on fire, heavy denim is the only thing you're gonna want to use to smother the flame. If you don't have jeans or a towel handy; stop, drop and roll. If you see safety people coming with damp towels, or extinguishers, let them do their job. They're probably more familiar with it than you are.

This one's simple folks. Use a condom. If you just met someone at a party, use a condom. If you're on E and it sounds fun, use a condom. If you're trippin and it seems safe, use a condom. How do you have your cake and eat it too? Take condoms with you. If you're in any situation other than one with your life partner trying to have a kid, use a condom. Drugs do funny things to the metabolism, and they can even screw around with long-term pregnancy control. Use a condom.

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Last updated on 27-Jun-01