Beautiful but a hazard?


sky-lanterns-3There is something quite magical and inspirational about releasing sky lanterns, often at the end of an event, and they look so pretty as they drift up and away….

Fair enough but they are a menace to livestock and fire hazard to buildings and trees.  A couple of weeks ago, the National Outdoor Events Association called for a Ban on Sky Lanterns and they have my vote.  Regardless of how pretty they look, the fact that they are completely out of control presents a significant challenge to the safe delivery of any kind of event activity that includes them.  I am not comfortable taking responsibility for an event where we are deliberately putting lives at risk.  In any other circumstances, we wouldn’t have a fire moving through space without having direct control over where it goes so why are sky lanterns acceptable?
We manage several lantern based events including the wonderful City of Lights in Truro where we have about 1,000 children and young people carrying paper and withy lanterns with lit candles inside.  Every year I ask myself why we combine naked flames, children and combustible materials and my answer is to ensure that the risks are appropriately controlled to give everyone the benefit of the magical experience that is City of Lights.  It’s not easy but we do have control over where that fire source goes, how it’s handled and how we deal with it if it gets out of control (almost every year a small lantern will catch fire….we have a system to deal with it, approved by the Fire Service and it works!).
As an industry, we need to take a lead.  This is an issue that we can do something about so I urge you to join me and vote for a ban on sky lanterns.

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky



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