Chinese lantern warning in Sidmouth
THE growing popularity of Chinese lanterns in Sidmouth has prompted Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to issue safety advice. The lanterns are often seen as a gentler alternative to fireworks, but the potential fire risk is high. The lanterns whe
THE growing popularity of Chinese lanterns in Sidmouth has prompted Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to issue safety advice.
The lanterns are often seen as a gentler alternative to fireworks, but the potential fire risk is high.
The lanterns when lit will rise for up to 20 minutes and can soar to over a mile in the sky - where they will still be visible on a clear night until they disintegrate.
However there is a growing concern of the use of these lanterns particularity among farmers when they are ignited near open fields full of dry crops and woodland, as well as being a hazard in residential areas and along the coastline.
A spokesperson for the fire service said: "In a recent incident a major emergency search operation was called off after a paraglider in distress turned out to be a paper lantern. In this instance the police, fire, a Search and Rescue Team, the coastguards and the RAF were all involved."
The following advice has been given:
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* Only use in calm conditions.
* Only use in open spaces and not near to buildings.
* Not suitable for use by children under 16.
* Never use near airports, under flight paths, near pylons or overhead cables.
* If releasing on the coast, please notify your local coast guard.
* Do not use near anything that may catch fire, such as dry crops or woodland.
* Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby.
* Do not tie anything or add any weight at all to the lantern.
* Do not use if you are under the influence of alcohol.
For more information contact the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Helpline on (01392) 872288 or visit www.dvfire.gov.uk.