SKY OR CHINESE LANTERNS – SAFETY CONCERNS
The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading and the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service have issued a warning about the dangers of using Sky or Chinese Lanterns over the festive period.
The lanterns are generally made of paper supported by a wire or wooden frame. To get them airborne, lift is provided by igniting a suspended fuel cell.
Sky lanterns have given rise to a number of safety concerns including:
- Risks to livestock and wildlife
- Fire risk and damage to crops and property
- Impact on the environment, including littering on land and at sea
- Hazards to aviation
- Risk to coastal rescue services through false alarms
- Risk to personal safety
Locally, it was recently reported that a cow on the Island had died after eating hay in which parts of a sky lantern were entangled. In the UK, a young boy was scalded on his face by molten fuel which fell from a lantern floating overhead. Another frightening incident in the UK involved a lantern landing on the roof of a property and setting it on fire – the house was occupied by a mother and her two children.
John Peet, Chief Trading Standards Officer said “No-one wants to be a killjoy, but we are very concerned that before long we are going to have a very serious incident caused by one of these lanterns. Safety instructions for the use of these lanterns are often very complex. It is obviously extremely difficult to predict their flight paths and those that fall to the ground whilst still alight can present a significant fire hazard thereby increasing the risk of loss of human life or personal injury.
On balance, therefore, our advice and that of the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service is to seriously consider not using them at all.”