NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - 16

Dispatches

C O D E S & S TA N D A R D S

PLAYING WITH FIRE

A VETERAN FIRE DANCER SETS OUT TO GIVE THE PRACTICE
MORE PROMINENCE IN NFPA CODES AND STANDARDS

n 2016, Ashley Bertling

I

had been a fire dancer
for over a decade. She
had founded Chicago-based Pyrotechniq
Productions, an event entertainment
company whose performers eat,
breathe, and dance with fire. It was
spring and she was preparing for a
job with a client in Chicago when the
client called her in a panic. The local

fire marshal, the client said, wanted to
make sure Bertling and the other performers' clothing for the performance
would comply with NFPA 701, Standard
Methods of Fire Tests for Flame Propagation of Textiles and Films. It was the
first time Bertling had ever heard of
NFPA, let alone the standard.
"I had performed all across the
United States, and I had never
been asked to provide this kind of

information," Bertling says. "We did our
best to comply, but it was unattainable."
At the direction of the authority having
jurisdiction, Pyrotechniq ended up
performing the show with LED lights
instead of fire, despite already having
spent over $700 for their clothes to be
treated with flame-resistant chemicals.
The gig only paid about $300.
The experience left Bertling feeling frustrated but, more importantly,

TIM GORDON AND SONY PRODUCTIONS

By Angelo Verzoni

16 | NFPA JOURNAL * M A Y / J U N E 2 0 2 0

Dispatches_05.20 V4 FINAL DCS.indd 16

5/1/20 11:10 PM



NFPA Journal - May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NFPA Journal - May/June 2020

Contents
NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - Cover1
NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - Cover2
NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - 1
NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - 2
NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - 3
NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - Contents
NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - 5
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NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - 104
NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - Cover3
NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - Cover4
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