Lantern Safety

Lantern Safety

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to take extra care when using ‘sky’ or ‘Chinese’ flying 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 


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.


General advice

  • 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


Launch Procedure

(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


Go Green!

  • 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

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