Letters to the San Francisco Fire Department about Permits

Permit update: I’ve been told by mutliple people, including Captain Matthews, that the SFFD “is not going to deny the permit BUT…” and after the “BUT” seems to be different things that I’m not clear about. Nor has the SFFD been able to give me a written set of guidelines outlining what is required to get a permit for Fire Dancing.

Needless to say, I’m frustrated, having spent a lot of time on this already.

I’m sharing this on my blog so I have a written account of the activity as it has transpired and to share with the community, both in an effort to keep you apprised of the situation as well as educating you for your future needs.

Below are copies of the two letters I have sent so far. In addition, I have left a voice mail with Capt. Matthews asking her to send this information and asked during my initial meeting with the SFFD for a written copy of the guidelines last week on April 15.

Emailed April 23, 2009:
To: Capt. Sofia Matthews
CC: Lt. Alec Balmy and Lt. Manuel Pegueros

Captain Matthews:

I am contacting you to make a second official request for the guidelines for acquiring a fire permit for performers in San Francisco City, including the information you require from a Fire Protection Engineer.

Without a clear understanding of what your organization needs — what information, in what format, of what type, with what level of detail, with whatever stipulation made known to us that already exist — I do not understand how you can possibly expect us to comply.

I really want to work with the SFFD, and without this information, it is impossible. I understand the SFFD is here to keep safe and protect the people and property in the city. This is of paramount importance to me as well.

That said, your organization needs to work with me to help me comply. Thus far, since the SFFD is reorganizing its policies, I feel like I have been caught in the middle of a political nightmare. I would like to prevent this from happening in the future by getting clear *written* guidelines. I would then like to submit a sample permit — not a real application for a performance where a deadline is present, but a test one — so that I can be sure I know what is needed when the time comes to get my next permit and your organization can be confident the written requirements you’ve sent me are complete.

Please let me know how quickly you can provide this information. I have also left you a voice mail to this effect and this email is a follow up to the attached email I sent last week.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.


Isa “GlitterGirl” Isaacs
Founder, Temple of Poi
415.424.8581 (voice mail)


Emailed: 4.17.2009
To:  Cpt. Matthews, Lt. Balmy and Lt. Pegueros


In an effort to comply with the new requirements for the fire permitting
process for fire dancers, I’m interested in getting the specific codes and
guidelines of the NFPA that need to be met for future permit applications. I
am in the process of looking for a local fire protection engineer so that I
can acquire the appropriate formulas and justification the SFFD requires to
approve a performer’s permit as I want to make the application process as
smooth as possible moving forward.

Can you please provide me with the code numbers so that I can sound somewhat
articulate about my needs when I approach the engineers? I feel somewhat
clueless as to what I am asking for. ;)

It would be ideal if the SFFD could provide me with a written description of
what you’re looking for so I can comply in full with these requirements and
I can hire an engineer and ensure I get what I need and don’t waste my money
and their time while also fulfilling the SFFD requirements.

Please let me know when the SFFD can provide me with such a description and
the relevant code numbers.

Thanks so much for your help. I look forward to your response.


Isa “GlitterGirl” Isaacs
Founder, Temple of Poi
415.424.8581 (voice mail)