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Sky lanterns have taken off!
Member Name: maidstoneman
Advantages: Lovely to watch, very cheap and easy to use
Disadvantages: Can be very dangerous if safety procedures are not followed.
It seems that these sky lanterns have been growing in poularity very rapidly recently, used at any social event it seems such as on birthdays and bbq's (when it was warm). I can obviously understand why indeed they are popular. Firstly they are so simple to set up and use, you get them of the bag they come contained in and open up the material until its fully out and expanded, the next step is to hold onthe metal frame whilst someone keeps the material stretched, the tea light which is held at the bottom is then lit by a lighter and the lantern is held in the same position until the lantern feels like it has significant force for which to take off into the nights sky.
So this is one point which makes them nice to use being how simple they are, another is the price! being available at most places now and often sold in packs of three, i have seen them being sold for as little as a £1.00!
I think they are nice to watch, drifting slowly up to the nights sky before being caught by the wind and sent on its way across the landscape. Almost until they are tiny specs of light in the nights sky, in which time they reach an altitude where oxgen decreases and the candle inside is extinguished. The lantern will then fall to the surface slowly with the canopy acting as a parachute.
However despite the fun side there are obvious dangers, the fact that you do have to handle an accessory containing fire. I have set these off many a time but have sometimes noticed that the candle starts to burn at the sides of the lantern, revealing great big scorch makes or even holes. This is obviously dangerous and although i should think that the lantern is made from some sort of fire retardent there is the danger of fire. Particuarly if this was blown close to a building or an ignition source on take off which could pose dangers of its own.
I also hate to bring down this product, but its also important to note its other impacts pacticularly f you live in a farming community whereby the falling carcass of the lantern may find its way into an area where wildlife may become endangered by its metal rim. Aswell as effectively littering the area in which you are as the lantern will not completely degrade for a long time.
The other point to mention and has featured in the news recently of the small child which recieved major burns from dripping hot candle wax which came from one of these lanterns on takeoff, The lantern obviously needs this wax as it is effectively a fuel to provide the hot carbon dioxide as a lift. But incidents like this do hilight the items dangers.
I would recommend using these as they are very good fun and entertaining but i would however make sure that the atmosphere is controlled with a high level of safety involved as you might use with fireworks, as they are dangerous if misused or if safety is lacking.
Summary: Fantastic to use and great social features but do carry risks
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