Why We Are Asking People Not To Buy Sky Lanterns & Set Off Them Off In Support Of The NHS

We hope everyone is keeping safe and well!

We have been made aware that people are being asked to buy sky lanterns (sometimes referred to as chinese lanterns which are often used in birthday and weddings celebrations) & set them off in support of our fabulous NHS Staff and carers.

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Photo credit: Wildlife Trust Thanet

What are Sky Lanterns and why are they hazardous to animals

The paper lanterns are small hot air balloons, powered by a flame suspended on a wire frame which represents a significant fire risk to life, property, birds, livestock and agriculture when they come down to earth so should never be used.

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Cause of fires

In 2013 CCTV footage proved a sky lantern to be the cause of a fire at a recycling plant in the West Midlands. More than 200 firefighters and 39 fire appliances were deployed over several days to tackle the blaze involving plastics and paper.

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Unnecessary Calls-Out’s for Lifeboat Crews and Coastguard Teams

Near the coast they may also be mistaken for distress flares causing unnecessary searches by our lifeboat and coastguard team colleagues. However, both search and rescue organisations are still ready to respond to genuine incidents, but do not need unavoidable calls putting their own and other lives at risk at this time.

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There are other ways to support the NHS namely by clapping every Thursday at 8pm on your doorstep/balcony, raising funds or displaying a rainbow poster in your window, but please don’t set off sky lanterns.

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Thank you for reading and from all of our team take care and stay safe!

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Other useful references

How to sign-up to our monthlly newsletter

Please don’t use the sea for exercise or recreation over the Easter break

Stay at home – Protect the NHS – Save Lives

Still want to help support the RNLI during COVID19?

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Margate Inshore Lifeboat Photo Credit: Margate LPO



HM Coastguard


Wildlife Conservation Trust Thanet

Andy Mills

Thanet RNLI Community Safety Officer Striving to reduce accidental drownings by 50% by 2024 by spreading key safety messages to Thanet communities and its visitors.