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My name is Lewis Sellers, I’m the co-founder of Night Sky Lanterns which was established in 2009. Over the past few years, we’ve learnt a lot about Chinese lanterns and are now one of the largest UK importers of the product. We work very closely with our manufactures in China to ensure that each and every one of our Sky Lanterns is produced to a high standard, and also take note of all of the press surrounding sky lanterns worldwide.
Sky Lanterns are not toys – they do contain a naked flame and it’s important that you always purchase good quality lanterns from a reputable website or retailer in order to ensure that you’re not purchasing low quality products.
We’ve written this short guide to give you 10 steps to ensure that you have a fun, but safe experience when using lanterns:
Do not launch in conditions that make lighting the lantern difficult, i.e. wind speeds above 5mph.
If you are going to launch a lantern, make sure that the wind conditions are fairly still. Most people walk between 3-5mph, so if the lantern is blowing around and you know you would have to run to catch it if you let go, then it’s not safe to launch.
Do not launch a damaged lantern as this may be dangerous and cause injury.
Authentic Chinese lanterns are a handmade product, so unfortunately, the odd sky lantern may be damaged when you open it. If you see a rip or a tear in the lantern, just discard it or ask for a replacement. Don’t attempt to fix the lantern by adding tape as this adds additional weight which will make it more difficult to launch. Stay safe and bin it!
Never launch in an area that could cause a fire such as near crops and hay bales etc.
You should never launch a sky lantern near anything that can catch fire easily. A good quality sky lantern will use a thick paper in order to retain the heat, this means that the lantern will not come back down to earth until it is fully extinguished. That being said, if you’re near an area where you could easily cause a fire, then we would recommend not setting the lantern off.
Obstacles in the lanterns’ path such as trees and buildings should be at least 30 meters away
Do not launch sky lanterns near any object that they can get caught in. Once a sky lantern has enough heat in, you will be able to feel the pull so you know that it’s ready to launch. As soon as you let go, they’ll start to ascend very quickly. If you’re stood underneath or close to a tree, it is possible that they could blow left or right at get tangled. For this reason, ensure that you’re at least 30 meters away from any obstructions.
Do not release the lantern in an area where the glow could be mistaken for a distress signal
There has been the odd report that coastguards can mistake sky lanterns from distress signals. If you’re near the coast, simply let the coastguard know that you’ll be setting off sky lanterns.
Prior to use, ensure lanterns are stored in a cool, dry and secure place away from children
Don’t leave the Sky Lanterns lying around in the heat. Generally, the fuel cells on high quality sky lanterns are made out of folded paper impregnated with a paraffin wax that doesn’t drip. If the lanterns are exposed to warm temperatures prior to use, the Wax can start to melt into the paper and damage the lantern. We’d also recommend keeping them out of the paths of children!
Do not light or release a lantern wearing flammable clothing. For additional safety, gloves should be worn. The lantern should not be left unattended at any time.
A simple but fairly obvious one! If you’re lighting a sky lantern, don’t wear something flammable. Fire + Flammable clothing = Bad times!
Never launch a lantern within 5 miles of an airport or airfield without permission from the CAA
The Civil Aviation Authority don’t normally have an issue with you launching sky lanterns if they know in advance. If you’re launching a large number of sky lanterns, or you are within 5 miles of an airport, give them a call and let them know your intentions. By doing this, they know what time you’ll be launching the lanterns and they’ll be informed.You can view the Civil Aviation Authorities guidelines on Sky Lanterns here.
Launching a lantern in an inappropriate location or manner may cause damage to persons or property which could make you liable for criminal damage and prosecution.
This really is just drilling down on the above points. Do not launch a lantern if you’re under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any other substances. Use your own judgement, if it doesn’t seem safe to launch a sky lantern where you are, then don’t launch it. If the weather conditions are good, you’re away from obstacles and the lantern is in perfect condition, then you’re probably safe to go ahead! Just follow the instructions for use on the sky lanterns you purchase and you’ll be set!
Only purchase good quality sky lanterns
This is a very important tip. I did a review on a fireworks website back in 2011 about the difference in quality of sky lanterns. Sky Lanterns work in a very similar way to hot air balloons, when you light the fuel cell, the heat is captured within the flame retardant paper and once this is properly filled, the sky lantern will start to rise. If you use a high quality sky lantern in the right conditions, it will not come back down until it is fully extinguished. Cheap sky lanterns use very thin paper. If you hold your hands on the outside of cheap sky lanterns, you’ll feel the air escaping. This means that when you come to launch the lantern, it will reach a certain altitude and then start coming back down to earth.
Cheap and poor quality Sky Lanterns damage our industry. Our company, Night Sky Lanterns only supplies high quality lanterns and we will continue to do so. We constantly monitor the news from DEFRA, the NFU, WFU and take part in any studies related to Sky Lanterns. We want to improve the market and help to improve the quality of lanterns as a whole.
Each of our sky lanterns is manufactured to the highest standard. We include safety instructions with each and every sky lantern we produce along with instructions for use!
If you’ve found our guide useful, please help us by sharing it!
Tags: chinese lanterns, coastguards, guidelines, night sky lanterns, nightskylanterns, safety, sky lanterns
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