Prepping for a healthy and safe event

Please contemplate ahead of time how you’ll navigate the health, safety, and social aspects of your Burn.

We continue to prioritize public health while we gather, which can include wearing a mask, getting tested in the 48 hours before arriving at the event, and bringing your own rapid self tests.

If you are sick with COVID-19 and need emergency care for symptoms you cannot control on your own at camp, go to an Emergency Services Department (ESD) station while wearing a well-fitting N-95 mask. Please let the volunteers there know you tested positive so they can initiate safety measures. This is both for your own wellbeing and the protection of everyone around you. As with all medical services on playa, any care you receive will be confidential and anonymous.

We understand that for many people the pandemic has been extremely impactful. There are mental health support services available in BRC if you or someone in your camp needs them. Please go to either a Ranger or ESD station to connect with these services.

For the latest CDC guidelines, check this page. 

We wish you a healthy and safe journey back to BRC!

You’re sick or hurt in Black Rock City. What are your options?

The first thing you should do is determine whether you can treat yourself using a personal or camp first aid kit. We’ve got a list of essential items here.

  • Pro tip: Playa foot is a common complaint. This is your skin’s response to the alkali conditions, and it’s not fun. A soak in a 4:1 water-to-vinegar mix for 20 minutes each day will help this. Then lotion up and put some socks on for a soothing treat.

If your illness or injury is more severe than you can manage yourself, ask your campmates for assistance. Alternatively, get yourself to one of our medical stations at 3:00+C and 9:00+C. Look for the large red crosses. The main Emergency Services Department (ESD) station and the Rampart Emergency Care Center are co-located at the 5:15 and Esplanade site. 

Any Black Rock Ranger (look for the khaki shirts) or ESD (look for the yellow shirts) staff, or really anyone you see with a radio can help you in finding the right care. Remember that all care (medical and otherwise) at BRC is non-judgmental — we are not the morality patrol.

If on-site medical providers feel you have a medical emergency that requires a higher level of care, you may need to visit a hospital in Reno. This may require transport by an ambulance, plane, or helicopter. You’ll want to have your ID, insurance card, cell phone, Black Rock City entry ticket, and wallet when you go. You’ll be asked to sign a Release of Information form (example here), which gives us permission to tell your friends and family where you went. You’ll need to arrange for a friend to pick you up after your hospital visit; there are no shuttles back to the playa.

If you need medical help while driving to or from the playa, the nearest clinics from the east are in Fernley. Westbound, there are several hospitals in Reno.

  • Pro tip: Bring an adequate supply of your medications (even the ones you rarely use when at home), plus a little extra in case your departure is delayed. The closest pharmacies are in Fernley or Reno. Keep all medications in their original prescription containers in order to avoid BLM citations. Don’t come to Black Rock City if you’ve just had major surgery and make sure your shots — particularly tetanus — are up to date!

H.A.L.T. — the warning signs of buzzkill

H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired. If not recognized and dealt with, you risk making yourself and those around you miserable. H.A.L.T. is an invitation to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Watch this video for more info.

Costs can be significant if you get transported off playa via MedEvac!

This potentially life-saving ride is the one nobody plans to take: an emergency medical transport to one of the Reno hospitals. Even if you have insurance, you still might end up facing some significant out-of-pocket expenses for the flight. Of course it is considerably worse if you have no insurance at all! 

Every year, it seems, we hear a story or two of a Burner who gets airlifted off playa.  Chances are good you’ll never need it, but if you have a complicated pre-existing condition or you are a good little scout and believe in preparedness, it’s worth considering a $50 membership from AirMedCare Network to protect you financially. Membership application is here.

Get showered with… WHAT?!? Ewwww, gross.

Sharing a shower with someone you love is awesome, but doing it behind one of our road watering trucks is the opposite of awesome because the non-potable water they use might contain icky things that can make you sick.

While we’re on the subject of community bathing, it’s cool to set up a shower for your camp (so long as you have a system for containing / evaporating the water), but public showers, pools and slip ’n slides are prohibited; there’s no legal way to make them safe. Stick to the solar showers.

Your mom was right — wash your hands!

The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health strongly recommends each camp have hand washing stations set up for regular hand-washing use. Remember, “Handwashing is like a ‘do-it-yourself’ vaccine,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Carrying (and using) hand sanitizer is a good start, but there’s no substitute for washing with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds as the most effective way to reduce norovirus contamination on the hands.