The Science of Fire Safety

The news article shown below caught my eye this morning, especially since I perform with fire. The article reports a revolutionary way to extinguish fires with "a hand-held electrode, or wand".

As a performing juggler, I juggle, manipulate, and occasionally "breathe" fire. I began performing with fire since 1999 and I understand the risks involved. Working and performing with fire is a serious piece of business. So it is fitting for me to remind readers to pay heed to both the well-worn cliche, "Do not try this at home" (or anywhere for that matter) and the other oft-heard warning, "Don't play with fire".

The article explains how scientists understand that fire puts people "at risk" and so have been researching how to extinguish fires more efficiently. Their research in an Instant Fire Suppression programme culminated in a working prototype hand-held wand to extinguish small gas fires. The wand demonstrates a new technology: the application of electromagnetic and acoustic waves to put out the flames. It was named by TIME Magazine as one of the 50 best inventions of 2011.

Watch the demonstration at

This research is fascinating because it shows that there might be (in the future) a much neater way of putting out fires without the use of fire extinguishers or fire hydrants or other conventional methods of extinguishing fires.



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