Carry your ID on playa

While Black Rock City is a magical place where you can be whomever or whatever you want, there are still instances where you’ll want to carry a valid ID, including but not limited to:

  1. If you get hurt on playa and are transported while unconscious, we can identify you.
  2. In case you get arrested and have to prove your identity to law enforcement.
  3. If you’re 21 or older and want to be served alcohol anywhere in BRC.
  4. If you are driving a motor vehicle of any kind — including a Mutant Vehicle.

Telephone services

In the interest of Immediacy (see the 10 Principles), cell phone use is highly discouraged in BRC. Luckily cell phones don’t really work out there anyway. Limited cell service and public telephones are available in the town of Gerlach, 12 miles away.

Black Rock Rangers

Black Rock Rangers patrol the city, but they are not law enforcement personnel. Black Rock rangers are participants, volunteering to help other participants in the Burning Man community just like you. You can identify them by their khaki-colored attire, featuring the familiar Burning Man logo in brown on their backs and chests. You can request their assistance at any time for disputes, emergencies, or questions. 

Outside of Black Rock City we often only have law enforcement to call when we have a safety concern or need to settle things such as a noise complaint or another issue with our neighbors. In BRC, we have veteran members of our community who can help mediate disagreements, find lost kids, address safety concerns, direct participants to resources and information, and even just help put a fresh set of eyes and ears on sticky problems. The Rangers’ ideal outcome is to help people solve their own problems with a gentle nudge in the right direction, and then fade into the dust when they’re not needed. Rangers can radio for law enforcement, medical and mental health staff, firefighting resources, and environmental clean-up teams if necessary.

Black Rock Rangers are available 24/7 throughout Black Rock City, at Ranger Headquarters at 5:45 and Esplanade, and at the Ranger Outposts at the 3:00 & 9:00 plazas. Black Rock Rangers also patrol the city in pairs, and any staff or volunteer with a radio can summon their presence if you need help.

There are a handful of situations involving participants behaving aggressively that are beyond the scope of responsibility of Ranger volunteers, yet don’t rise to the level of requiring law enforcement intervention, or which might benefit from proactively deploying a team that can act if a situation escalates. 

To address these situations, Burning Man Project has contracted with High Rock Security to provide support to the Black Rock Rangers. They work alongside Rangers and approach security in a manner inspired by Black Rock Rangers, preferring de-escalation techniques.

The High Rock team will only engage as directed by Ranger leadership, and will escalate any serious issues immediately to law enforcement as needed. They will be wearing black “High Rock Security” shirts, clearly distinguishable from Rangers and law enforcement.

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about security on playa, visit this page.

“911” service in Black Rock City — Best ways to get help fast

If you have an emergency in Black Rock City, the fastest way to get help is to: flag down a Black Rock Ranger, a member of law enforcement, any other event staff or volunteer with a radio; or send someone to fetch help at a Ranger Outpost or medical station, which are located at 9:00+C and 3:00+C, as well as on Esplanade near 5:45. Cell service in BRC is spotty at best, and if you are able to connect via 911, it will take time for them to contact law enforcement on the playa, who will then relay information to our medical and fire responders.

That said, there is a way to directly call for help. The Emergency Services Department’s on-site emergency dispatch center monitors a designated emergency channel that is available for your personal radios. 

  • You can purchase your own radio to contact BRC 911. Large camps or villages might choose to make a radio part of their planning efforts and store it in a public place for emergency use. You might also be able to rent a radio from your local radio rental shop.
  • Program your radio to 451.9000 MHz with a CTCSS/PL tone of 91.5 and 12/5kHz spacing to reach the Black Rock City 911 Dispatch. This is limited to 4-watt power output (typical limit of most handheld radios). Please refer to your user manual to see how to program your radio, though there is a generic programming guide available HERE.
  • FOR ALL RADIO USERS: you are responsible for following FCC rules regarding programming. Not all radios meet FCC regulations for this specific frequency. This channel is licensed to Burning Man and you are being granted access to use this channel as an emergency reporting channel only. Unauthorized use could face fines imposed by the FCC.

Are you planning on using a two-way radio (greater than five watts) for any reason on the playa? Emergency Services Department coordinates spectrum to avoid interference between various public safety radio infrastructure. Please note that in general ESD does not coordinate AM or FM broadcast radio, WiFi, HAM, FRS, GMRS, CB, or RC bands. However if you are planning a high power radio application in any of these bands, please let us know so we can isolate your signal in case of interference. Contact ESD Communications at if you have questions or to register your frequency request.

Sending and receiving emergency messages on playa

Should someone need to urgently contact you, they can email Messages will be passed to Black Rock Rangers who will attempt to deliver them. If you’re awaiting news or anticipating an emergency message, you can also check Playa Info in Center Camp.

Make sure your family has all your details before you leave for the playa, including:

  • First and last name as well as any known nickname that you might go by around camp. (Do they know your playa name?)
  • Name of your camp or other affiliation (volunteer team, etc.) and its location.
  • A description of your vehicle (if you drove in), including make, model, color and license plate.
  • Any other unique features that will help with the search (such as, “camp has a 20-foot inflatable alien,” etc.)

As a last resort, you can purchase an in and out pass and drive to Gerlach to use a pay phone, cellular phone or take advantage of the free WiFi coverage there. Or rent a satellite phone.