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A `sky` or `Chinese` LanternThe Service is urging people to take extra care when using `sky` or `Chinese` lanterns.
The past year has seen an increase in both the purchase and use of flying fire lanterns. Firefighters are therefore encouraging people to take extra care to help keep themselves and their environment safe.
In addition to the risk from fire, there have been cases where the debris from lanterns has caused harm to animals. For further information on these risks please visit the National Farmers Union website (opens in new window)
Guidance for the Use of Flying Lanterns
The following should help you use them safely - however remember to always read the manufacturers instructions before using them.
Lanterns should be used by responsible adults only
Adults should not be under the influence of alcohol or any substance that could affect their level of responsibility
Have water or other extinguishing facility available at the launch site, lanterns or clothing may ignite if the correct launch procedures are not followed
Keep the launch area clear of combustible materials
Children and other observers to maintain a safe distance upwind of the launch area
Two adults are required to correctly launch each lantern
Do not attempt to launch damaged lanterns, be aware that writing messages on the paper can cause damage
Do not smoke whilst handling lanterns
Launch Conditions and Area
Ensure sufficient clearance to avoid obstacles such as trees, power lines or buildings
Avoid launching near roads, especially major roads or motorways
Avoid standing crops, especially in dry conditions
Avoid areas that may allow confusion with distress signals
Do not launch within 5 miles of any airport
Do not launch in wind speeds in excess of 5 mph
Check wind direction before launch
Be aware of any other local conditions that could affect launch or landing safety such as thatched buildings, standing crops or dry heath land
(Caution! - Steps may vary, refer to the manufacturers instructions)
Unpack and assemble the components carefully to avoid damage
Remove packaging waste from the area
Use two adults to launch each lantern
Gently pull the centre of the lantern up and start to inflate it by "dropping" to allow the air pressure to inflate. Take care not to damage the paper.
Hold the lantern upright and ask the second person to carefully light the fuel cell
Support the lantern gently as it inflates fully, it will eventually feel lighter and start to rise
Do not attempt to throw the lantern skyward, allow it to rise with support only
Do not tether the lantern as this may cause instability which could lead to the lantern igniting
Eco friendly lanterns are available. These are fully bio-degradable and do not contain any metal which if left lying around can be harmful especially to animals