Our Fire Breathing Policy
You've probably seen, either in person or online, a fire breather - someone who spits fuel onto a flame, resulting in a fantastic ball of fire.
We get it, fire breathing is pretty awesome looking. I mean, who wouldn't want a human dragon at their event? It's so cool and your guests will be blown away!
But here's the thing: fire breathing is super dangerous and extremely unhealthy. And it's for those two reasons Flames of Plenty doesn't offer fire breathing, and why we want to educate people about the risks.
So here's the low-down on fire breathing...
It's very dangerous, very unhealthy, and potentially fatal
As fire dancers, we keep ourselves safe by wearing protective clothing, so that if one of our fire props hits, say, our arm, our arm is protected by our arm guards.
But fire breathers don't have the benefit of wearing anything protective over their faces. Otherwise, they wouldn't be able to spray the fuel from their mouths. Therefore, fire breathers' eyes, noses, mouths, tongues, ears, facial hair and skin are left exposed to a flame that is extremely close to their faces.
"Blowback", or when the flame comes backward towards the breather's face, can literally light the breather's face on fire. This happens when the flame comes in contact with residual fuel on the surface of the face or inside the mouth and ignites. The internet is filled with videos and stories of fire breathing accidents that led to permanent disfigurement and even death.
Fire breathers regularly suffer from ingestional toxicity, stomach ulcers, fire-eater's pneumonia (hydrocarbon pneumonitis/chemical pneumonia), inhalational injuries, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and cancer (because constantly putting a fossil-fuel based substance in your mouth on a regular basis will screw you up over time. Would you put lighter fluid in your mouth even once? How about once a week?)
But if you are a professional and you practice, it's safe, right?
Even the best fire breathers, with years of experience, end up injuring themselves. And even if they never once burn themselves or another person, they may pay the price later with stomach ulcers or cancer. Plus, injuries don't just happen on stage. They happen during rehearsals, too. Practice makes perfect, but in this case, practice also means risk of severe injury. A hula hooper can practice with an unlit hoop to become a better, and thus safer, dancer, but an unexperienced fire breather must practice with fire in order to improve, thus increasing the risk exponentially.
Fire breathers are darn expensive.
There are a few companies around Bay of Plenty and the rest of New Zealand that offer fire breathing, and we are often asked if we can recommend any. We don't, for two reasons: 1) recommending a company would be an endorsement of fire breathing. Because we don't agree with it, we don't want to encourage it. And 2) Fire breathing may likely be out of your budget. One fire breather for just 10-15 minutes of breathing costs at least $1,000. If your budget isn't a grand, then you may be able to find a breather who is less experienced and doesn't carry liability insurance, which is super risky and something we strongly advise against.