- Public Safety
- Division of Fire & Rescue Services (DFRS)
- Office of the Fire Marshal
- Flame Effects Before an Audience
Flame Effects Before an Audience
The use of flame effects before an audience presents itself with the potential for a high degree of risk to persons and property. The Frederick County Office of the Fire Marshal (Fire Marshal) wants to assure that these types of activities are conducted in a safe manner and in compliance with established codes and regulations.
Flame effects include the combustion / burning of any solid, liquid, or gas to produce thermal, physical, visual, or audible phenomena before an audience.
The use of these flame effects must be approved by the Fire Marshal prior to any use.
Fire Prevention Code
The Fire Marshal utilizes the requirements of the Maryland State Fire Prevention Code, and the Frederick County Fire Prevention Code when approving the use of flame effects before an audience, specifically, NFPA 1, Fire Code: 18.104.22.168 and NFPA 160, Standard for the Use of Flame Effects Before an Audience.
Failure to comply with the requirements of the Frederick County Fire Prevention Code is considered to be a civil fire code infraction. A $500 civil fine may be imposed for each infraction.
Additional Fire Safety Provisions for Temporary Installations
If the Office of the Fire Marshal determines that a need for fixed or additional fire-protection equipment or standby fire safety personnel exists, this equipment or personnel must be provided at no expense to Frederick County.
Fire Extinguisher Requirements
Four or more fire extinguisher of the proper class and size as required by the Office of the Fire Marshal must be readily accessible while the flame effects performance is being conducted.
In all cases, at least 2 pressurized water, Class 2-A extinguishers, and 2 Class 10BC extinguishers, shall be provided, in addition to those required by NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, for the building.
The extinguishers shall be placed so that at least one each is located on opposing sides of the performance where flame effects are used.
Standby Fire Safety Personnel
If standby fire safety personnel are required, they must be approved by the Office of the Fire Marshal.
- Permits are required through the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office for the use of any flame effects before an audience.
- Approval and inspection is also required through the Frederick County Office of the Fire Marshal.
Approval of Flame Effect Plan
- A plan for the use of flame effects must be submitted to the Frederick County Office of the Fire Marshal.
- Approved plans must be maintained and readily accessible at the site and will also be subject to inspection by the Office of the Fire Marshal.
Failure to comply with the requirements of the Frederick County Fire Prevention Code is considered to be civil fire code infraction. A $500 civil fine may be imposed for each infraction.
Testing and Evaluation
Flame effects shall be evaluated to verify that spectators, performers, support personnel, and the operator are not exposed to a hazardous situation when the flame effects are activated as designed or anticipated.
On an interval acceptable to the Office of the Fire Marshal, flame effects shall be inspected for normal and safe operating condition and retested for operation as designed and anticipated.
Documentation of the testing and evaluation shall be permitted to be prepared by a third party acceptable to the Office of the Fire Marshal. The documentation shall be made available to the authority having jurisdiction as a part of the application for approval of the effect.
The premises where flame-effect devices are installed or fired must be maintained in a neat and orderly condition.
The flame effect operator must inspect all areas of the site where flame effect materials and devices are ignited before start up and after shutdown.
- Smoking is prohibited in the area where fuels used in flame effects are present.
- Smoking by performers as part of the performance shall be permitted where approved by the Office of the Fire Marshal.
Rehearsal & Pre-Show Operations
The flame-effect operator shall advise all performers and support personnel that they are exposed to a potentially hazardous situation when performing or otherwise carrying out their responsibilities in the vicinity of a flame effect.
Performers and support personnel familiar and experienced with the flame effects being used shall be permitted to be in the area of a flame effect, but only voluntarily and in the performance of their duties.
Show operations must be carried out in accordance with the plan approved by the Office of the Fire Marshal.
- Post-show operations shall be in accordance with the plan approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
- Fire and life safety systems that have been interrupted shall be restored immediately after completion of the flame effect.
- When restoration of fire and life safety systems is necessary, it shall be conducted by a person trained in the operation of all aspects of the systems.
Note: The Frederick County Office of the Fire Marshal must be contacted before any fire and life safety system is taken out of service and immediately following the restoration of any fire and life safety system.
Flame-effect performers, operators, and assistants must be protected by clothing or other means suitable for their exposure to the flame effects.
A means to render the installed flame effect system(s) inoperative when not in use must be provided.