Health & Safety

Please note that BitF 2021 has been cancelled. The information on this page has not been updated for the next BitF event, likely in 2022.

If you need help, ask a Ranger! You can find Rangers walking the event in pairs wearing blue BC Rangers t-shirts and carrying radios. They can call on-site medical, fire personnel, security, harm reduction or Production Team members as needed. You may also find Rangers at Ranger HQ, which is shown on the map. Rangers are burners who volunteer to help out their fellow community members. Some things Rangers help with include: act as a source of information, respond to emergencies and coordinate appropriate resources, help disoriented participants find their way, and mediate disputes between participants.

Paid medical and security staff are on-site 24 hours a day. Access their help by asking a Ranger or Production Team member, or by finding medics at the Medics Station (see the map). Participants with known, life-threatening medical issues are encouraged to check in with the medical team upon arrival: consider providing a photocopy of your ID and Care Card number, with a brief description of the medical condition, medications and allergies. Information provided will be held confidentially as per privacy laws and destroyed after the event.

Our community aims to provide a respectful space for all participants and consent plays a critical part. BitF can be an overwhelming environment, and we want to ensure that we co-create a safe space for radical self-expression while protecting against harassment and assault. There are also many diverse participants present, and where one person’s self-expression and another’s boundaries intersect, both parties are responsible for negotiating the interface.

With respect to anyone’s physical person, only an enthusiastic “YES” means YES. Anything less is not consent. Rather than risk confusion, create a space where a “no” is always heard and respected, whatever form it may take. Coercion or emotional manipulation to get a “YES” is NOT consent. If the action persists, it may be cause for EXPULSION from the event.

Communicate actively and often. Consent to one thing does not imply yes to any another.

Know your personal boundaries, and be comfortable expressing them.

Respect the moment and know that comfort levels differ at different times with different people.

Always ask about and respect the boundaries of others, even if you already know that person.

Be mindful of intoxicants. Remember, under Canadian law, anyone under the influence of intoxicants cannot consent to contracts OR sexual contact.

Need help in a situation that involves threatening behaviour, or a sexual assault or domestic violence? Protocols and supports are in place for these situations. Seek assistance from any person with a radio (Ranger or Production Team member), at Ranger HQ, or the Medical Station.

Theme camps that involve explicit sexual activity will be clearly marked and only open to participants 19+

Harm Reduction at BITF 2019: Sanctuary and Resource Station

Harm Reduction at Burn in the Forest 2019 will include education, prevention, monitoring and aftercare services. Although this event is promoted as a family-friendly, drug free event, the Safety team recognizes that some problematic alcohol and/or illicit drug use may be present. Fortunately, substance use has never caused any significant issues in the past. Through education and prevention efforts, the Safety team hopes to maintain a low level of risk.

The 10 Principles and Harm Reduction

The Sanctuary and Resource Station promote radical inclusion and provide an opportunity for volunteers to gift their time (also participation and immediacy), to help other people through their tough times (communal effort). In turn, BITF participants who use harm reduction services can continue to be radically self-reliant and radically self-expressive, and therefore further fulfill their own civic responsibility. No person is an island; we are all social beings who need each other’s help!

Education and Prevention

Education and prevention will be provided at the Resource Station, which includes an Information table with harm reduction supplies, and a Testing table. The Resource Station will be open Thursday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 18:00 daily. Confidential testing will be provided by a staff member from the Interior Health Authority (IHA) of British Columbia. An IHA staff member will advise participants of results, and may suggest disposal of substances.

Monitoring and Aftercare

The Sanctuary will provide monitoring and aftercare services, working together closely with the medical team. Sanctuary is a place of refuge for participants who, for whatever reason, are feeling temporarily overwhelmed. Sanctuary is a relaxing and cozy space, with dedicated, trained volunteers who provide peer support, helping participants through difficult emotional issues, exhaustion, issues related to pre-existing psychological disorders or temporary issues while in an altered state. Shift Leads are mental health professionals who will oversee participants in the Sanctuary, determine if additional medical care is required, and facilitate transfer to onsite or other medical services as needed.

  • Wood burning by participants is not allowed except for pre-approved art pieces; conditions in the area are often very dry and wildfires can start easily from any ignition source. The nearest fire response is almost an hour away. Please be cautious at all times and help us not be part of the problem.
  • Camp stoves and propane BBQs are permitted – be extremely careful.
  • Do not flick your cigarette butts. Ever. Bring a portable butt tray (film canisters and altoids tins are great) and take great care when putting out your butts.
  • Fire performance will only be allowed in the fire performance area, and with fire safety personnel in attendance. No impromptu fire jams will be permitted.
  • Fire extinguishers are located at every event generator.
  • Propane fire pits are allowed to be used onsite if they meet the following criteria.
    • ULC Rated (ie. bought from a store and unmodified);
    • Placed on an insulating surface – such as a piece of plywood larger than the fire pit – which prevents grass from fire;
    • There must be a fire extinguisher on hand at all times,;
    • The fire pit cannot be left unattended.

If you do choose to bring a generator, please consider the following guidelines:

  • Place the generator on a less-combustible surface such as a piece of plywood in order to keep hot components separated from the dry grass.
  • Bring the quietest generator you can afford and the smallest that will meet your actual needs.
  • Don’t run your generator late at night or early in the morning.
    Place the generator as far from other camps as possible.
  • Cover your generator with a sound shield or baffle or outfit it with a motorcycle muffler.
  • NEVER bury it to shield the noise.
  • Make sure people can’t trip over any power cords.
  • Always turn it off if no-one is in camp
  • Take great care when refuelling any personal generators, to ensure that no fuel spillage ensues.
  • Refuelling must take place on a spillage tray similar to Burning Man.

There is a small lake on the property approximately 15 feet deep. Use this lake at your own risk. The water is above your head in places.

Do not drown in the lake.

There are leeches in muddy parts, although the beach side and the dock area should be clear. Some people have experienced swimmers itch at times in the past.

Do not drown in the lake.

There may be debris in the water – be careful, and do not drown in the lake.

We have debated the need for lifeguards, swimming prohibitions, and other measures to mitigate risk. We have decided that we trust each other as adults, so don’t eff it up for everyone by drowning in the lake! Do not let others drown in the lake.

Understand that contrary to Hollywood portrayals – a drowning person is usually silent and may not be moving much. This is because water in the lungs and shortness of breath inhibits vocalization, and decreasing blood oxygen makes muscle movements increasingly difficult. Never hesitate to ask a swimmer if they need help if there is any doubt about their situation. A non-response means they need help.

©2021 Greater Vancouver Interactive Art Society