Sky lanterns are safe to use as long as you keep in mind a few simple but important guidelines:
- Choose a fire-retardant sky lantern. It bears repeating: A good sky lantern is made of fire-resistant materials and has a non-drip fuel cell to reduce the chance of the lantern burning in flight or lighting a fire on the ground when it lands. While safety-related problems with sky lanterns are rare, paying a little bit more for a good quality lantern can avoid tragedy and improve your peace of mind related to your event.
- Choose an appropriate place for your launch. The best places to release sky lanterns are in open fields or beaches. Never release sky lanterns within five miles on an airport, near roads, dry fields, trees, or power lines. Avoid launching lanterns where they may be misconstrued as a distress signal. If you’re launching a number of lanterns near the coast, you may want to alert authorities beforehand to avoid costly or embarrassing misunderstandings.
- Weather & Wind. Lanterns fly best in clear, calm weather. Light rain is not optimal, but lanterns will not fly during heavy rains. Check with a reputable weather source to determine wind speed and direction before launch. Lanterns should not be released in winds greater than five miles per hour because their course may become unpredictable, sending them into trees or other obstacles. Higher winds also increase the chance of a lantern coming down while still lit. Double check your lantern’s flight path based on wind direction to be sure there are no dangerous obstacles in its path.
- Basic Precautions. Always keep a fire extinguisher or supply of water within easy reach during your launch. Don’t launch a lantern if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and don’t smoke during a launch.
- Clothing and Hair. Be mindful of your clothing and hair when working with a sky lantern’s open flame. Choose clothing that fits tight to the body—no loose, flowing sleeves or scarves—and be sure long hair is safely tied back and kept away from the flame.
- Adult Supervision. Children love sky lanterns, but they should never be allowed to launch a lantern without close adult supervision.
When you are launching your sky lanterns, there are many obstacles that can affect a successful flight. They can even sometimes creates a potential safety hazard. Before launching it is important that you find the correct location. Here are a few tips on selecting a good location for launch and some hazards that you should consider avoiding.
if you live near to an airport or airfield, it’s important to inform the Civil Aviation Authority in order to prevent any disruption to aircraft. It is also similar if you live near the coast. Lanterns have been used in the past as distress beacons so it’s a good idea to inform the coastguard if you plan to release sky lanterns near to the coast.
Releasing sky lanterns in an enclosed area is generally not a good idea. They can get caught on roofs, decorative ornaments, satellite dishes or TV aerials. However, if you have access to a rooftop or balcony this can be a good location to launch because you should be above most obstacles.
On a windy night, trees can present a hazard to your sky lanterns. If a lantern gets caught on a branch then there’s not much chance of it becoming loose again. It’s important to be careful to release your lanterns in a open area that is far away from trees.
Telegraph poles and pylons
Don’t set of lanterns where there are many pylons, telegraph poles or overhead cables. Electric does not go well with paper and you wouldn’t want to cause an electricity outage.