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Guideline No. 8: Open Flames | Safety Guidelines for the Film and Television Industry in Ontario

  • ISBN: 978-1-4249-9952-1
  • Issued: November 1990
  • Revised: June 2009
  • Content last reviewed: August 2010

Open Flames

This guideline is intended to provide recommendations on the safe use of open flames on production sets.

It is recognized that there can be unforeseen or unique situations which might require on-site judgement differing from these guidelines and such judgement may have to be made in the interest of safety of cast and crew.

  1. The Special Effects Coordinator and the Stunt Coordinator should be consulted regarding all necessary fire prevention, medical, and safety precautions which should be undertaken on a set where open flames are involved. A special note should be made in the safety section of all call sheets when fire stunts are to be performed or when the burn is to occur at a safe distance from the actual filming location.
  2. If a substantial fire effect may damage property, the landlord and appropriate fire and government authorities should be contacted prior to the use of open flames, whether at the studio or on location.
  3. When torches, candles, fireplaces or other open flames are used on set, such use should be under controlled conditions with due caring for the safety of all involved.
  4. The Departmental supervisor responsible for the open flame effect should designate competent personnel for the handling, placement, safe use and securing daily of any open flame devices. See also requirements for storage of cylinders for compressed gas in sections 42-45 of O. Reg. 213/91 and section 49 of Reg. 851.
  5. All stationary open flame fixtures should be secured.
  6. Flammables and combustibles shall be stored a safe distance from open flames. Where necessary, and in accordance with WHMIS requirements, materials shall be stored in approved and labeled containers.
  7. All connected fuel lines, fixtures and appliances, for the use of open flames, shall be approved by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) as required by section 4(1) of O. Reg. 212/01 (Gaseous Fuels) made under Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000.
  8. All cast and crew, including stunt performers, should be notified in advance of their involvement with open flames and briefed on any action and safety issues prior to shoot day.
  9. When fire is used, a fire extinguisher must be in close proximity and personnel trained in its use should be identified and standing by. Additional requirements for fire extinguishers are found in section 123 of Reg. 851 and sections 52-55 of O. Reg. 213/91.
  10. Appropriate fire authorities should be contacted prior to the use of open flames, whether at the studio or on location.
  11. The person responsible for flame ignition should ensure a clear line of sight of the flame and/or maintain direct communication with a designated observer.
  12. When flammables and combustibles are used on set to act as a fire accelerant, continual ventilation should be initiated until ignition or clean up and storage is completed. Additionally, such materials should always be kept in approved equipment and/or containers.
  13. Any stunt, SPFX and props personnel directly involved with interior fire sets should wear protective fire equipment (i.e. nomex suits). Sections 25 and 26 of OHSA set out duties of employers and supervisors respectively with regard to the use of personal protective equipment by workers. Section 28 of OHSA sets out duties of workers.
    1. All wardrobe and wigs to be used in any type of burn should be treated with an appropriate fire retardant or should be of a high cotton or wool fabric content due to the melting properties of many synthetic materials.
    2. Appropriate fire retardant covers should be provided for the camera, where applicable.
    3. Water gel should be used at all times on all exposed areas of skin, including the Performers' hair if it is uncovered.
    4. A Performer should have the option of wearing a natural hair wig.
  14. If the stunt is a "partial burn" there should be no fewer than two (2) safety people, each equipped with proper fire extinguishers.
  15. Note:A "partial burn" is defined as: “When a Stunt Performer carries an amount of fire limited to a restricted area of the body (i.e., an arm, a leg or a portion of the torso) and does not inhibit the sight or breathing of the Stunt Performer”.

  16. If the stunt is a "full burn", there should be no fewer than three (3) safety people, each equipped with proper fire extinguishers.

    Note: A "full burn" is defined as: "When a substantial part of the body is on fire or when the flames reach or interact with the head area and could limit the sight or breathing of the Stunt Performer. Any fire gags (stunts involving fire) where a breathing apparatus or eye protection is required".

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