Safety and Awareness Information 2014

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There are a lot of law enforcement organizations who have authority over Burning Man and the areas surrounding it. Burning Man is held on land owned by the Federal Government, subject to a special permit which Burning Man negotiates each year with the State and Federal governments. The large number of agencies involved means that you need to be very aware of the rules and regulations and make sure that you exercise common sense and good judgement.

Law Enforcement Agencies on Playa

Law Enforcement Agencies in surrounding areas



  • Black Rock Rangers are Burning Man’s volunteer non-confrontational mediation group and can help you resolve problems that you can’t resolve yourself. They can also help people who may need extra support during this intense experience.
  • Rangers are not law enforcement, and can't arrest anyone. They are not there to stop crimes or to report people to law enforcement, but they may get involved in situations that have that result if warranted for the safety of participants at the event. There are certain Rangers who do have the ability to eject people from the event. They can be called in for serious circumstances and take such action if warranted.
  • Rangers have radios and the ability to call in other services (law enforcement, mental health, emergency services, etc) as needed.
  • When in doubt, flag down a ranger or go to the nearest ranger station to request assistance.
  • The Black Rock Ranger Headquarters is located on the Esplanade near Center Camp. The Ranger Outposts are in the 3 & 9 o’clock plazas, on C Street, just behind the plazas.

Emergency Medical Services

  • If anyone requires medical assistance, contact an Emergency Services Department volunteer or a Ranger.
  • There is a Medical Clinic near Center Camp at Esplanade & 5:15. There are smaller Emergency Services Stations in the 3 & 9 o’clock plazas.
  • EMS are on duty 24 hours a day, and can provide emergency evacuation if needed.

Mental Health Services

  • The emergency services department has a trained mental health team which can assist with anyone who is experiencing any mental health issues or is overwhelmed by the experience in any manner.
  • They can be reached through a Ranger (flag one down or go to the ranger stations) or through EMS at one of the EMS locations.


  • It is important to note from the outset, that anything which is illegal in the rest of the state of Nevada or under Federal law is STILL illegal at Burning Man. All of it.
  • Medical marijuana cards are not recognized by the federal government, and the State of Nevada does not recognize medical marijuana cards from other states. Having a medical marijuana card will not help you at Burning Man.
  • On a practical note, please always exercise discretion and good judgement with anything that you put into your body. Burning Man is a very extreme environment and is not the time to take risks or experiment with new things. Always know your limits. Always have someone who can watch your back in case you run into issues and always watch out for the health and safety of those around you.
  • - lots of good information about your safety, all substances, and how to test them.
  • The purity of anything which you get is always in question. Be careful, there is always bad stuff on market. Every year, people take things which are not what they think they are and which pose a danger to their health. Good judgement and lots of caution can help save you from a medical emergency or otherwise unpleasant experience. Remember, trust and reputation are as important on playa as they are in NYC.
  • Handle your shit and don't be a burden. Know your limits, and respect them. Nobody likes to spend hours caring for someone who was irresponsible and overindulged in alcohol or anything else.
  • Just like in the default world - never go around asking for any substances from people that you do not know and never offer anything to someone who you do not know. Burning Man is based on a gifting culture. Gifting means that things are offered to you, not that you ask for it. Anyone who is going around asking for something is either (a) not part of our community and not aware of our norms or (b) working for an agency that can get you into trouble. Yes, there are a lot of undercover agents at Burning Man and at all events in NYC.
  • REMEMBER - no matter how hot someone is and no matter how much you think you want to get into their crotch - if someone asks you for something illegal, the answer always is "I do not have anything and I do not know where you can get anything". Every single year, someone gets into trouble because undercover agents approach someone else on the playa and that person leads the agents right to the tent of a person who has something illegal. It is incredibly irresponsible and really disgusting. Discretion with what other people are doing is even more important than discretion with what you are doing.
  • Discretion goes a long way. Really. Overdoing it can never hurt, but being irresponsible can get you and everyone around you into a difficult situation. Never talk about anything illegal publicly. Never tell other people what you and others that you know may have.
  • Keep our camp safe - never do anything illegal in any open area within our camp, and never advertise what you are doing. If others in the camp know about it, it means that it is public and people outside the camp may know about it. If you are putting the camp in danger with your activities, you will be asked to leave the camp immediately.
  • Certain areas on playa are very heavy with Law Enforcement activity, but never assume that you are safe from it wherever you are. In particular, be cautious when at any of the major sound camps (especially the 2:00 and 10:00 rows, which are referred to as the rave camps by law enforcement), the man and the temple, any major art burn, and any of the deep playa art car parties such as Robot Heart.
  • The possession of any illegal drug with intent to distribute is a more serious felony offence. Possession of large quantities or a variety of drugs may be interpreted as evidence of intent to distribute. Giving illegal substances to someone else could be considered drug trafficking, even if you do not take money or other compensation for it.
  • Having Drug paraphernalia in your possession is a crime in the state of Nevada. Therefore, even if you have no illegal substances, if you have the paraphernalia you can be arrested or issued a citation and have your tent/rv/etc searched (see info on searching below).
  • As a general rule, any law enforcement agency needs a warrant to enter your tent or RV. If Law Enforcement asks to come in or otherwise search your private space, NEVER LET THEM IN. NEVER OPEN DOOR TO THEM.
  • The exceptions to the warrant requirement are when police have probable cause to believe that a crime is in progress inside the space or if the crime is in plain sight. Sight, sound and scent of illegal activity counts as plain sight and probable cause. Always be aware of where you are and who can see in or smell anything. In some extreme cases, Law Enforcement officers may take your tent or tow your RV to their headquarters and keep it there until they get a warrant. So always be careful.
  • As a general rule - the more steps you take to make your vehicle or tent private, the more expectation of privacy you will have against an unwarranted search. On the other hand, if your tent has no walls, or your vehicle doors are always open, then your right to privacy may be diminished.
  • If you are arrested, the police do not need your consent to search you and the area “close by,” which usually means just the room you are in. In this case, the police may not use the arrest as an excuse to search adjacent tents or RVs where there is no evidence of criminal activity. However, law enforcement often take a lot of liberties with the definition of the area close by, and you do not want to be fighting this in court. Therefore, anything which you do that leads to the involvement of law enforcement puts you at risk and also puts everyone in your camp/pod at risk. Please be considerate of this and do not do anything to draw attention.
  • If there is reasonable suspicion, law enforcement officers can pat you down but you do not have to consent to anything more.
  • - this is a good website with information, as well as with fines schedule for people pleading guilty to lower crimes to avoid a record. Basically, you pay a high dollar amount and hopefully not have anything go on your record.


  • You must reveal your legal name when asked by any law enforcement officer.
  • You have no legal obligation to answer anything else, but you can be taken into custody if you refuse to answer things and law enforcement has probable cause to continue to investigate or make an arrest.
  • The vast majority of the time, law enforcement will just issue a citation or a warning and nothing more. Dealing with law enforcement in an intelligent manner can help minimize the impact of any interaction which you have with them.
  • Law Enforcement must be able to verify your identity. Your social security number is generally enough to verify that, and so you will usually want to provide that to law enforcement if they ask.
  • Law enforcement can never force you to go back to your camp to retrieve a government issued ID. If you do allow an officer to take you back to your camp, you may risk having your tent or RV searched.
  • Keep a copy of your license on you at all times, so that you have id but you do not risk losing your real license or other government ID. This also helps for camps that serve alcohol, and will ID you. You may want to put name, camp, emergency contact, insurance information and critical health info on it as well, in case you are unresponsive for any reason and people need to track down your friends or otherwise provide you with medical care.
  • If you have an arrest/citation or other engagement with Law Enforcement, especially if it involve illegal substances you may not want to reveal to them where you camp. Be aware that there have been reports of law enforcement following someone after an arrest or citation, to see where they go. The first tendency is to get back to where your belongings are, but you may want to wander a while and make sure that you are not followed and that you do not lead law enforcement back into your home base where they can continue their investigation.
  • If you are stopped for questioning - ask politely if you are under arrest or free to go. If you are informed you are free to go, you can leave. If you are under arrest, you have a right to ask what you did and why they are detaining you.
  • NEVER bad-mouth the officer, yell, act like an ass, or run away. Even if you believe law enforcement is acting unreasonably, confronting an officer or running away could lead to your arrest.
  • NEVER volunteer any information that may incriminate you. Remaining silent is your constitutional right. Do not believe a police officer who says they will simply “let you go” if you hand over any controlled substances or contraband or just tell them what you were doing.
  • If you observe an incident with law enforcement - do not get involved. Call others over if that makes sense and if you think extra eyes will help the situation. Take notes of officer’s names and badge numbers and what agency they are from. Note what they did and what happened. File a report ASAP at the nearest ranger station (located at 3:00, 9:00 and near center camp)


  • Urination and defecation on the playa is a violation of federal regulations. You may be issued a ticket that will cost you hundreds of dollars.
  • Driving on playa in violation of any of the rules is a crime. Going over the 5 MPH speed limit is a crime. It also means that your entire vehicle will be searched and you will be harassed extensively.
  • Law Enforcement are watching to ticket anyone that drives across playa during the event (includes Sunday and Monday at the end of the event).


  • Out frontage is public space and open to anyone who is not a danger to others.
  • Our private camping space, however, is PRIVATE. Nobody belongs there unless they are camping with us or a specifically invited guest of someone camping with us.
  • WRISTBANDS - we have them for a reason. They are useful to see who is part of our camp for meals and other camper-only items. However, they are also there to protect our safety. If you see someone in our camp who you do not know, especially if they do not have a KK camp wristband, please approach them and start a conversation. Ask them if they camp here, who they are, and who they may be looking for. If you have any inkling that they may be there for nefarious purposes, do not allow them to wander in our camp. Make noise, get others over, find someone in charge. There are people who may want to come into our camp for reasons which are not positive, and it is up to all of us to watch for this and protect us all.
  • Your guests are YOUR responsibility. Anyone that comes into your space should be trusted by you, and you are responsible for them and for whatever they may do in our camp.
  • Guests are not camp members, even if you are fucking them. Water, food, showers, etc are shared resources which we work very hard to bring and which are in very limited quantities. If they are used by people who are not a part of the camp, it can lead to camp members not having enough for their own use. Remember, gifting is only with things that belong to you - camp resources do not belong to you but are shared with everyone else.
  • LOCK AND SECURE YOUR SHIT (especially during man burn) - sadly, things do get stolen sometimes.


  • Always remember, CONSENT IS SEXY AND ENTHUSIASTIC CONSENT IS EVEN SEXIER. Really. Get it and keep getting it.
  • Consent should be communicated clearly, and preferably verbally. Uncertain consent is not proper consent. Thinking that you got consent is not the same as actually getting consent.
  • Consent is MANDATORY before engaging in any physical contact with another person, as well as before engaging in any sexual play that is verbal or any power exchange which has a sexual connotation. This includes spanking, hugs, and any other similar behavior. NEVER lead with an expression of your sexual desires and what you intend to do. For example, it is not ok to tell someone "I want to pull your hair and fuck you" without consent for that verbal sexual exchange in advance (and yes, this has happened to people many times). It is not ok to assume a dom/sub or other BDSM relationship with someone unless they have consented to that.
  • Consent is not permanent. It can be withdrawn at any time.
  • Consent is imperative, but it is just the beginning. We can never underestimate the importance of using good judgement in order to make sure everyone is always comfortable and there are no problems for you or for people you interact with.
  • In any sexually charged situation, please be aware of who you introduce to such a situation, and how they may react to the experience. It is of the utmost importance that people do not hurt anyone else or get hurt themselves. Do not introduce anyone to a sexually charged situation who is not used to that sort of thing unless they are prepared, ready and eager to experience it. Do not ever encourage people to come if they are worried that they may be uncomfortable. This could easily lead to a bad outcome for them and others around them. It is always tempting to drag some hot thing that you just ran into to the orgy you are having, but bear in mind the risk that they may pose to themselves, you and everyone else there. Trust is developed over time, not instantly gained because you are turned on by someone you just met.
  • There is no right and wrong way to engage in sexual behavior and to structure the sexual relationships in your life. While it is nice to give advice, please don't be a bully and do not push people to have the experience that YOU think they should have. Let their comfort levels and feelings guide their experience.
  • Avoid the peer pressure trap. If a group you are camping with or hanging out with is engaging in an activity or behavior you aren't comfortable with, you DO NOT have to play along or participate. Our camp is large and we have many different types of people with many different interests and comfort levels. You are in control of your choices and of what you want to engage in.
  • Remember, when someone says "no" or indicates their lack of interest, it is not the start of an negotiation - it is the final answer. It is not ok to continue to groom, reach out to, repeatedly ask, touch, etc in hopes that the no will become a maybe or a yes. We all want to have a good time, but pushing too hard puts everyone in serious risk and makes people very uncomfortable. If someone changes their mind and decides that now they want you, they will come find you and let you know.
  • ALWAYS be courteous and respectful, even if someone is rejecting you. Make them feel comfortable and never lash out or otherwise make someone feel bad about their decision not to engage.
  • If someone may be in a state where they may not be able to make proper decisions, do not engage in any sexual interactions with that person. Offer assistance and support and try to get them to a safe space where they are with people who know them well.
  • It is always better to pass on a potential sexual interaction then it is to engage in something which will be regretted by someone involved after the event. This is a terrible situation for all the parties involved. Let your brain and heart be the guide, not your sexual desires. Always err on the side of safety and restraint. You do not want to do anything that can hurt someone or make someone else. In addition, rumors and accusations travel fast on the playa. Even if you did nothing wrong, the truth which exonerates you and your camp will never travel as fast or as far as the ugly things you are accused of. Do not put yourself in a situation where you are ever vulnerable to that.
  • Make proper choices when it comes to consumption of alcohol or any other substances. If you are a virgin, inexperienced, or you are not sure about your intentions, you need to stay pretty sober in any sexually charged situations so that you can make the decisions that you want to make. If you see people who are new, please encourage them to stay pretty sober themselves.
  • Speak up on your behalf and on behalf of others. If you see something that bothers you, say something and involve others as needed.
  • Protect each other - if you are unsure whether somebody is happy with the attention they are receiving, ask the person who may be in trouble and intervene if they want it or if they appear to be unable to make decisions for themselves. Sometimes, it is appropriate to be a buzzkill for the safety of everyone involved. Remember, we are a family and a community, and we take care of each other. If a situation is beyond your ability to assist with or you are not sure what to do, alert other camp members or camp leaders. If necessary or advisable, get a Ranger who can call in other resources.
  • Trust nobody. Predators exist everywhere and Burning Man is no exception. Be careful about your drinks and be careful of your surroundings. If you think you may be losing control of yourself, seek people you trust and let them know and they can take you back to your tent or another safe space.


  • The legal drinking age is 21. Like in the rest of the USA.
  • Giving alcohol to minors is bad, mkay?
  • be aware of undercover agents who come and ask for alcohol, especially if you are tending bar somewhere. Always ask for an ID
  • If you give alcohol to a minor, you can be subject to huge fines for you AND for the camp giving the alcohol out. You will not pass go, you will not collect $200.


  • Like anywhere else in the world, this is a very serious crime. It can also lead to a search of your vehicle and that can open you up to all sorts of other problems.
  • DUI regulations and open container rules apply to art car driving as well.
  • Art cars - booze must be in a compartment separate from driver and out of the reach of the driver.
  • Nevada law allows an officer to use reasonable force to obtain fluid/breath samples to test for DUI. So give the sample if asked for it.


  • Always obey all posted speed limits and all road regulations.
  • The speed limit drops very quickly on the road out to Burning Man a few times, when you pass through the small towns. Law enforcement patrol that area heavily. Speeding will cost you a lot of money and hassle.
  • The road out to Burning Man is very dangerous. Drive very carefully. Do not pass anyone. Be patient, we will all get there. The shoulder is soft in much of the area and not suitable for driving. Do not pull over unless it is an emergency. Accidents kill and maim people seriously.
  • If you are stopped by law enforcement - On request, show police officers your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
  • During a traffic stop, the same search requirements apply (probable cause or ask for consent from you, and ask if you are being detained etc)
  • If you're given a ticket, you should sign it; otherwise you can be arrested. You can fight the ticket in court later.
  • Gate Road - recently this has become a serious gauntlet of law enforcement officers pulling people over as much as possible, for any reason. DONT GIVE THEM ANY REASON. CHECK ALL VEHICLE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS, MAKE SURE YOUR LICENSE PLATE IS NOT BLOCKED BY BIKES, THINGS TIED PROPERLY, ETC. NO OPEN CONTAINERS IN OUR VEHICLE.
  • Erratic Driving is grounds to be pulled over
  • You are responsible for anything illegal which someone may have in your car. Please have open and candid conversations with everyone who you ride with regarding this and please make them aware of your comfort levels and the risks that you are comfortable with.