Celebrate safely this Lunar New Year

With Lunar New Year events beginning on 10 February this year (2024), we're sharing key advice to help you celebrate safely.

Lunar New Year, and the Lantern Festival (this year on 24 February) that follows are often marked with different celebrations, including the use of paper sky lanterns. These lanterns contain a naked flame which represents a significant fire risk to life and property when they come down to earth. Footage from a CCTV camera proved a single lantern was the cause of a fire at a recycling plant in the West Midlands in 2013 which had to be tackled by more than 200 firefighters and 39 fire engines.

Prevention Manager Nikki Rice said: “Sky lanterns also pose a risk to livestock, with cases of animals being injured or killed from eating the metal parts accidentally chopped into animal feed during harvest, or getting caught in wire frames that have landed in fields.”

Nikki added: “AF&RS do not recommend that these lanterns are used. If sky lanterns are to be used against our advice, you need to take the following precautions to limit your risk of an accident.”

  • Lanterns should be used by responsible adults only.
  • Adults should not be under the influence of alcohol or any substance that could affect their level of responsibility.
  • Water should be on hand in case the lanterns catch fire.
  • The launch area should be kept clear of combustible materials.
  • Damaged lanterns should not be used.

Launch conditions and area:

  • Ensure sufficient clearance to avoid obstacles such as trees, power lines or buildings.
  • Avoid launching near roads, especially major roads or motorways.
  • Avoid standing crops.
  • Do not launch within five miles of an airport.
  • Do not launch in wind speeds of more than five mph.
  • Check wind direction before launch.