Re: router safety
I sometimes use the fence with a pattern bit, but not as a guide, more like a backstop. I get it adjusted close (1/16" or 1/8") so if something does go wrong, the fence is right there. I also use a push stick. I keep a bunch of low tech (scrap) ones at my table and use the appropriate size. I never get my fingers close to the bit (I've grown very attatched to them and want to keep it that way!). Feather boards, when possible, also help.
"I've never let my schooling interfere with my education" -Mark Twain