Spring has sprung. Outdoor events and celebrations are just around the corner. Sky lanterns have become increasingly popular as a way to celebrate. However, they pose a serious fire safety hazard and their use is prohibited by NFPA 1, Fire Code, 2015 edition. Section 10.10.9.3 of NFPA 1 states the following:
The use of unmanned, free-floating sky lanterns and similar devices utilizing an open flame shall be prohibited.
The provision of 10.10.9.3 is located under the section for open flame devices and is new to the 2015 edition of the Code. It gives the AHJ specific language that can be cited to prohibit the use of unmanned, free-floating sky lanterns and similar devices, such as those depicted in the photo above. The potential hazard posed by sky lanterns should be obvious —once ignited and released, the device becomes an uncontrolled, flying ignition source, whose direction of travel is dependent on the wind direction, which can change unpredictably. Although the combustible fuel load of the device itself might be small, the potential exists for the device to ignite vegetation or other combustibles in the area and cause a significant fire if it is not quickly extinguished.
NFPA offers a free safety tip sheet on sky lanterns to help raise awareness about these potentially dangerous devices and hopefully limit their use. Check it out!
Have you seen any fires start from the use of sky lanterns?