Health and Safety

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.

  • NO OPEN FLAMES at all – that means no fire spinning, no propane fire pits, no heaters with a flame, no cigarettes
  • Personal (flameless) heaters and camp stoves must be attended to at all times while in use
  • All heating devices MUST be CSA approved
  • Fire extinguishers are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED

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 river that runs through the property.

Do not drown in the river.

The water may be running very fast and could easily carry you away if you lose your footing on the rocky bottom.

Do not drown in the river.

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

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 river!

Do not let others drown in the river either. 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.

©2023 Greater Vancouver Interactive Art Society