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"Juvenile" Fire Play

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  • "Juvenile" Fire Play

    Here we are worrying about children playing with fire, and we find "children" (drunk ones at that) playing with fire.

    Zippo Manufacturing Company: Playing With Fire

    Firehouse.Com News

    Playing with fire? The popular flip-top lighters made by Zippo Manufacturing Company are on tour and hitting nightclubs across the county. Two men, Tricksters Booty and Mr. Twistyneck, use the lighters in a stage show where the two tricksters demonstrate tricks that can be done with the lighters in an attempt to promote the product and the company. However, some people, including the president of the National Fire Protection Association, James M. Shannon, say the tour, and the Web Site www.zippotricks.com, are not only promoting the Zippo lighters, but fire play.

    Shannon wrote a letter to the president of Zippo, Greg Booth, on June 3, asking him to considering taking down the Web Site that teaches, in detail, more than 500 tricks that can be performed using the lighters, as well as reconsider the 10-city nightclub tour. The tour began in April, just months after the nightclub fire in Rhode Island that claimed 100 lives and injured close to 200.

    In a press release from NFPA, which released the letter from Shannon to Booth after failing to receive a reply from Zippo, Shannon wrote, "NFPA encourages you to reconsider this campaign and abandon all promotions, tours, and Web Site material connected with it. Promoting fire play is not the type of strategic marketing the public would expect from Zippo Manufacturing."

    Firehouse.Com was unable to reach Booth, but in the July 17 issue of The Washington Post, Booth is quoted saying that he does not believe the tour or the Web Site is promoting playing with fire. According to the Post article, Zippo, founded in Bradford, Pennsylvania in 1932 by George G. Blaisdell, took over the Web Site that was not affiliated with Zippo, but had been up for six years, in an attempt to “control” its content make it “safer.” He also told the Post that the purpose of the tour is to get young men to buy his product.

    In a phone interview, Shannon called Zippo “irresponsible” and said that the company is doing nothing but promoting playing with fire. “Playing with a lit lighter is encouraging people to do that,” said Shannon.

    A communications associate in the marketing department at Zippo, Chris Funk, said that remaining dates for the “Hot Tour” have not been confirmed, but that the event will begin on August 15 and run into the first week of October. When asked about the use of fire at nightclubs during these tours, Funk said that two performers each perform tricks with one lighter and that there are no additional fluids or materials used that could catch fire. There is no fire shooting and the performers are on a stage away from the audience. “They take full precautions, there are fire extinguishers on hand to make sure,” said Funk.

    Kevin, who gave his first name only, one of the owners of The Machine Shop located in Flint, Michigan, called the “Hot Tour” that stopped at his club in April something “completely different” than the type of show that caused the Rhode Island club fire. He said his venue hosts a lot of concerts and that although they have had pyrotechnic performances in the past, and despite having fireproof carpet and a steel roof, since the Rhode Island incident they have stopped allowing their usage. He called the men who put on the “Hot Tour” professionals and compared their show to using a lighter at bar. Kevin did say that the club had fire extinguishers near by in case anything did happen, but he said he had no worries about bringing the tour to his establishment. Around 400 people attended the event and Kevin said it was a great show and a lot of fun. “Put it this way, I would have them back,” said Kevin.

    The general counsel for Zippo, Charles Duke, said that while Zippo understands the concerns of some fire officials, it is unfair to compare the "Hot Tour" to the tragedy in Rhode Island. He called what the men do on stage "more like a magician doing a slight of hand thing" and mirrored Funk's comments that the demonstrations are done in a very controlled manner with protective precautions taken.

    As far as who views the Web Site, Duke does not believe that many young children visit zippotricks.com. He said that the statistics that address children playing with fire usually refer to children six years old or younger. "Look at the statistics, the people accessing the Web Site are not the same people, [cited in the statistics]" said Duke. Duke went on to say that Zippo is working on ways to make it more difficult for children under 16 years of age to enter the Web Site.

    While the tour may not include pyrotechnics, Shannon still feels that Zippo, through the Web Site and the tour, is encouraging playing with fire. “When you put things like this up on the internet you know things are going to happen. Someone is going to get hurt or killed,” said Shannon. The Web Site is currently accessable by all, including children and presents step-by-step instructions, photos and video clips that demonstrate tricks like the “Rocker” and the “Double Toss.”

    Following complaints, Zippo has put up a disclaimer, which states that those under 16 years old are required to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian to view the site. The disclaimer states that lighters are hot, can start fires and burn people and that children should not perform tricks and adults should do so at their own risk. Shannon said that putting up a warning is the type of thing that draws children in. He went on to say that Zippo is “all of a sudden” trying to address some problems with the Web Site, like taking down a picture that showed burning flesh.

    “The basic point is that they should not encourage people to play with fire,” said Shannon.


  • #2
    Oh great, so now we might see instances where ADULTS? will be doing their version of JACKASS THE MOVIE, using zippo lighters because he "saw it on stage".

    He called what the men do on stage "more like a magician doing a slight of hand thing" and mirrored Funk's comments that the demonstrations are done in a very controlled manner with protective precautions taken.
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    • #3
      It is pretty damned sad that in these times we live in, a company can't just develop a unique promotion for its products without some people, rightfully so, worrying about some buffoon hurting himself imitating it.

      It is a sad state of affairs when "mature", "responsible", "adults" don't know that they shouldn't do such a stupid thing if they don't know how.

      On the bright side of things - Stupid people equals job security.

      Did I mention that I hate living in the modern era sometimes.
      Last edited by DaSharkie; 07-19-2003, 08:58 PM.
      "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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      • #4
        The zipperheads at Zippo just gave us a little more "job security"... as well as candidates for the Darwin awards!
        ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
        Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY


        • #5
          Re: "Juvenile" Fire Play

          [i]The disclaimer states that lighters are hot, can start fires and burn people [/B]
          well gee if they post that on the site it must be alright then.
          NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
          IACOJ Attack

          Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.


          • #6
            well of course, people will see that and say "oh dear, i didnt know that. i'll be more careful from now on"


            • #7
              We just had an apartment building fire this week on my shift caused by children making flamethrowers out of hairspray and lighters. Wonder if they saw the show also?
              Proud to be an American, Union Firefighter!


              • #8
                Coming soon to an area near you, courtsesy of Zippo Productions-"Honey, I Burned Down the House"
                United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.


                • #9
                  From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, A column by CHARLES MEMMINGER

                  This column contains writer’s ruminations!

                  IT seemed to me that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane."
                  That could be the epitaph for author Doug Adams, who authorities say died of a massive heart attack last week at the age of 49. I prefer to think that Adams, one of my favorite writers of all time, simply has joined one of his ever-resilient characters, Arthur Dent, hitchhiking through the cosmos, attempting to save Earth from destruction to make room for an intergalactic freeway.

                  Adams' four-book "trilogy," which began with "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and ended with "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" is a quirky collection of insights about life, disguised as a hilarious tale spread across the fabric of space and time.

                  The opening quotation actually comes from one of Adams' characters, Wonko the Sane, who withdrew from society after finding the instructions on a box of toothpicks. ("Hold stick near center of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt in next to gum. Use gentle in-and-out motion.")

                  Adams wrote that book nearly 20 years ago. He could not have known how much more crazy the world would get. Today, there would be a warning on the toothpick box advising you not to stick yourself in the eye.

                  Because of Adams, I became a reader of fine print. We have become so used to warnings on everything, from Q-tips ("Entering the ear canal could cause injury") to computer printer ink cartridges ("Do not drink"). We know, or course, that the detailed instructions and dire warnings are simply a ploy by manufacturers to avoid being sued. The lawyers demand that such obvious dangers be stated in print because there are a few brain-dead people who will drink printer ink and jam a cotton swab into their brains through the ear canal.

                  Few of us even notice the warnings anymore. We know that only an idiot would strike a match without closing the cover. But we also know that there are a few people who have to be told to "Strike on back," even though the strike pad is only on the back of the match package. Do people really have to be warned that Zippo lighters "contain flammable gas under pressure"?

                  My shaving cream container warns users "not to spray toward open flame," a scenario that rarely comes up in a bathroom.

                  A warning on a box of staples states "Handle with care. Staples have sharp points for penetration." Don't people know that? The main job of staples is to penetrate things for which sharp points are mandatory.

                  Johnson's Baby Powder warns it is "for external use only," to keep, I suppose, people from using it as coffee creamer. And even Band-Aid bandages need a warning: "Package contains latex, which could cause allegoric reaction."

                  I thought of Doug Adams while on my exercise bike, where there is a warning label that says in part, "Replace label if illegible or removed." Wonko the Sane might wonder how you can possibly replace something that is illegible or not even there at all.

                  The more I read the small print of life, the more I'm convinced that Doug Adams flagged down a passing Vogon starship and headed for the restaurant at the end of the universe. So long, Doug, and thanks for all the books.

                  And finally...this sign outside a fire station in New Jersey:

                  Caution- Firefighters responding may be hazardous to your health.

                  Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                  Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                  *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                  On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


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