Safety Third

Safety Third

When attending organized Burn events, participants agree not to hold organizers liable for injury or death. The playa is not a safe place — it’s full of distractions, many of them mounted on wheels, shooting fire, or both. One attends with one’s consciousness wrapped in a fragile fleshy suit that, when damaged even in seemingly inconsequential ways, is subject to infection by outside life forms, catastrophic loss of containment fluid, or even total failure of support systems.

There are two ways to react to this state, better known as the human condition. One is to make safety the focus of everything, even if this creates an environment harmful to pleasure and personal satisfaction; this viewpoint is common in the default world where even playgrounds have become too safe. Many citizens of Black Rock City, a place where people can and have died, embrace a different philosophy: Safety Third. This rallying cry can also be heard almost anywhere Burners and other passionate humans gather, from Pyropolis in Central Texas to Oakland’s Big Art Studios.

It is not that the community encourages taking needless risks, but more that it is up to each individual what risks are needful. For the most part, each person may be as reckless as they want provided they do not endanger others — the job of the Rangers is not to keep one from doing something stupid, but to prevent that stupid act from causing too much collateral damage.

From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon!

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