LightMan (lightmanca) wrote in burning_man,

A word about safety from the JRS...

Hi All! I know many probably get the weekly JRS emailer, but I think this is a very important message, about NOT doing really stupid things. I read this earlier today, and was thinking about this while driving home from my "supply-gathering mission". It is incredibly sad that 2 people last year went to BM to be free, and have a great time, and wound up dead. Another person was apparently seriously injured from burns.

Actually think I'm going to be thinking a lot about this on my way to BM. I've ran through coals at BM before, although they were coals that had mostly burnt out, and I planned my path through carefully. But still one of these people could have been me in previous years to one degree or another--last year I ran through them just wearing sandals!!

Folks, let's have fun, but be responsible, for yourself and others. Look out for another, make sure you have someone sober in group, if you need one. As I'm buddhist, I'll be really chanting for no deaths or serious injuries this year. If enough of us put out this vibe through whatever you believe in, maybe we stop it from happening.

Take care All, and I'll See You On the Playa!!!


---------------------------the following is the post from the JRS-------------------------


Kev and I were having a chat with Dave over pizza at Chez Pt. Richmond,
and he suggested we write you with this suggestion for JRS. It's not
something we've seen before, and it's never really come up in most of the BM
circles we hang with or even in the survival guide, but I think it's
important information to include to the burners at large.

Every year, when the burns begin, some bright soul decides it might be fun
to run over the burning coals. Now, we all know this is ill advised and we
all know this is an A-Number-One way people get messed up at BM. The thing
is, many people who get hurt aren't usually the ones who take the first
walk. It's a crowd mentality thing: someone sees someone else do it, and
then six or eight people do it until someone trips, goes head first into the
fire, and gets carted off by medical. People only stop AFTER someone gets
really hurt.

Sooo... maybe it might be a good thing to point out in a JRS... before they
hit the playa and before they get themselves in a state where they aren't
thinking clearly... to let people know that playa coals aren't like those
you see firewalkers undertake in their backyards. There is usually a lot of
debris, glass, nails, wire, corrugated metal from the burn platforms,
two-by-fours and other hazards that cause people to lose footing and trip.
Once you go down, you're toast... literally. I'm wondering if it might be
appropriate to make people aware that playa fires are not for firewalking
because there's a lot of things burning in those fires beyond coals. If we
can get those first few people...if only one or two of them... NOT to take
that initial walk, then others won't follow. And if we can make an effort to
let people know it's a reallly, reallllllly bad idea, then you won't have
those people on the sidelines cheering them on and stirring the
less-enlightened members of the crowd to make the run.

And if people recognize what a bad idea it is, the ones who are more sober
can stop those who aren't BEFORE they run across.

This has become a very big thing for us because last year we witnessed just
this type of thing happen in the Mausoleum burn. All of a sudden, from
around the crowd of those enjoying the embers, one guy ran across the coals.
Then another. Less than a second later, three or four went. All the time,
people around the fire watched and cheered. Then, finally, in a crowd of
five or six, one guy tripped, fell on all fours, and then (as he) attempted
to get up using his hands, he tumbled into the fire, again and again.
Fortunately, we happened to have a five gallon jug of water with us, which
we doused him and his hands with. The skin was peeling from his fingers to
the bone as I poured the water over him. After medical carted him away, I
had as close to a complete and utter mental break as I ever wish to have. I
became completely hysterical. And you know me: I don't get hysterical.
Though I know this poor guy will have physical scars much deeper and painful
than I can imagine, the mental scars that experience left with me (and many
of the other witnesses that night) almost caused me to never attend BM
again. It took me months of recuperating to get to a point where I can talk
about it, and that came only by the grace of becoming e-pals with the best
friend of the guy that died in the Dice Bar fire in a similar way...

So many people get hurt this way... and not just the ones who get burned.
It's sickening to see. It's scary and horrifying and unspeakable... It's
what I imagine hell must look like. And, for the most part, it's completely

Anyway, just food for thought...

Love ya, grl.


I can confirm that there were two tragic burn incidents at Burning Man last
year. Both the Dice and Mausoleum burns had careless participants involved
in serious accidents. The man from the Dice burn did die of infection 8 days
later. During exodus from the event on Sunday night before the Mausoleum
burn, a man driving an overloaded trailer tried to regain control of his
fishtailing vehicle and swerved into oncoming traffic and lost his life in
the explosion that ensued. This is serious stuff folks. We're all sad about
these event-related losses. They can be avoided. YOU must remember to be
self-reliant and cautious. Take care of yourself. You're in a highly
connective environment, and it's designed to erase boundaries and give us
cause to trust others. It's a place to play and draw a new line in the sand
for yourself. However, it is a city of 25,000 people. Use common sense. Be
kind to others. Be safe. Be smart. Have fun!

Maid Marian

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