Health and Safety on the Paddock

Nov 26, 2015 | Kiwiburn

Going to a burn is kind of like camping… well, like camping if you take “tents, no electricity, and lying around” and you add “flamethrowers, twerking competitions, all night dancing and 5am yoga sessions”. See? Just like camping.

And just like camping, a little bit of preparation will help you to stay healthy so you can get the most out of your burn. You’ll find a bunch of advice in the Survival Guide about what kind of environment Kiwiburn takes place in, general health and safety tips, and suggested items for your first aid kit. Here are some highlights to get you started…

Hydration and Snacks

It can get really hot on the Paddock, and sometimes camp is a long way from where the fun is. Carry a water bottle, a cup*, or some kind of hydration pack. It’s also worth carrying a couple of sachets of electrolyte mix (like gastrolyte or powerade) for when it’s really hot. Coconut water is a good natural way to consume electrolytes.

While you can usually find a snack on the go from the Cookie Tree or Tane Ma Munchies, you never know where (or for how long) you might be sidetracked. Portable snacks will save you from the hangry – think muesli bars, bliss balls, little packets of nuts. And remember a bit of planning goes a long way to reducing waste and moop, too! (link to moop post)

Food safety

While we’re talking about food, proper food storage is a must to keep you and your campmates well. Food poisoning can make for a miserable burn.

If you’re bringing meat or chilled food like milk, you can get ice for your chilly bin (cooler, esky, cold box, or whatever else you want to call it) from the Depot for $4 a bag. Switch it out regularly – ideally you want to keep a temperature below 10C. If you’ve got a small chilly bin, you might want to split your bag of ice with a friend. A spare chilly bin for the beer also helps avoid the dilemma of whether you go for cold beer or cold food (the answer is cold food, because you won’t be drinking that cold beer if you have food poisoning).

Also, have a think about food storage when you buy your food. Salami stores better in the heat than bacon. So maybe buy salami. Or buy both, but eat the bacon first. Our recommendations? You’ll notice quite a few camps stocked with foods like packet curries, pastas and rice, cans of tuna, and eggs since they all keep well. Hard veges like carrots, capsicums, and cucumber fare better in the chilly bin than lettuce and mushrooms. Same goes for cheese – basic cheddar stores better than feta and brie.

Finally, have a think about how you’re going to clean your cooking utensils. It’s a pain, but one way to approach it is to take food that doesn’t need much prep. Less prep means less dishes. Or take the university flatmates approach and sort out some kind of roster so you all share cleanup duties.


Just like any large event, there’s likely to be a few people who will get sick while they’re on the Paddock with colds, flus, and other bugs that spread from person to person. While “camping clean” is a little bit different to everyday clean, hand washing or hand sanitiser after using the portable toilets, and before eating, will go a long way towards keeping you healthy on the Paddock. You’ll find hand sanitiser in or by the portable toilets – it’s a good idea to keep some sanitiser and loo paper in your camp, too, just in case they run out or the sanitiser hasn’t been replaced when you need it.

If you get sick at Kiwiburn, we have an awesome team of medics who can help you out (see below). If you get sick after the event, use your common sense – see your doctor if you’re feeling unwell. From time to time large events like burns also have incidences of measles, chickenpox, and meningococcal disease, which can require treatment.


We love our medics. They’re almost as good as your parents at looking after you when you get sick (better, since your parents would probably laugh at you while they patch you up if you’re wearing your gold sequin tiger jumpsuit). They’re also qualified, certified, and have plenty of experience helping out hard-on-their-luck Kiwiburners.

If you need urgent medical attention and need the medics to come to you, send someone to their tent, or find your nearest radio location (these include Gate, Black Sheep Rangers, Depot, and any fluro-vested site manager) who can call for them. For anything else, you’ll find the medics up by Depot on the Paddock.

Please do tell the medics if you have any medical conditions you feel they should know about (like if you have serious allergies). Tell them if you have food poisoning, or if you’re holed up in your tent hoping that whatever is making you unwell will go away – they can work with Paddock Relief to ensure someone checks on you.

Please do not use the medics as your personal plasters and pain relief dispensary. Everyone at Kiwiburn is responsible for bringing with them any regular medication they need – including medication for headaches –and basic first aid equipment like plasters and antiseptic cream. We want our medics to be focusing their mad medic skills on those in need.


*Cups are also great for visiting camps that offer you drinks – it makes for less waste and less cleanup for them!




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