Chinese lantern warning

The trend of releasing Chinese lanterns to celebrate a particular occasion may seem like fun, but for the country’s emergency services it can prove to be a great nuisance. In recent times some sightings of supposed distress flares have turned out to be such lanterns. The Waterford coast must have had its fair share of trouble with them, given the amount I’ve seen being left off in the Tramore area. The problem is that the coastguard cannot assume that a light in the sky is a false alarm, and must mobilize personnel and equipment. And what if there is a real call locally when this happens? Another problem is that the lanterns, which could present a fire hazard, can land anywhere. While they are easy to get and very cheap, it is worth taking the time to consider the consequences that may arise. On occasions, the coast guard may be alerted in advance. However, bear in mind that it is illegal to release Chinese lanterns within a certain distance of an airport.

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