Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is appealing to people to ignore a social media campaign which recommends the use of sky lanterns as a way to support the NHS.
This month the National Fire Chiefs Council branded the campaign ‘misguided’ and urged the public to find other, safer ways to support key workers.
In the last 10 years, firefighters have attended about 30 incidents related to the use of sky lanterns, which have included fires to roofs, guttering, trees and drains.
Nationally, there have been other publicised incidents of the devastating impact these lanterns can have when they lead to fires.
NFRS supports efforts to show appreciation for the amazing work the NHS is carrying out to help the country through the Covid-19 pandemic, but is asking people to find safe ways in which to do this.
Darren Carson, Prevention Team Leader with NFRS, said: “In the last 10 years, our firefighters have attended about 30 incidents relating to the use of sky lanterns. These typically involve fires affecting trees, roofs, drains and guttering.
“During this pandemic, the fire service is here to support emergencies, but we do ask the public to help support the crews by taking action to avoid fires wherever possible.
“Lanterns may look attractive and it may feel like a symbolic gesture to release them, but in reality we are releasing lit objects into the sky which cannot be safely guided or controlled. It isn’t possible to judge where they will land or the damage they will cause when they end their journey.
“We do support the need to recognise the great work of the NHS and other key workers at this time but there are so many other, safer ways in which to do this.”
Many of the fire stations within NFRS will be showing support for key workers, including NHS staff, at 8pm again today by taking part in ‘clap for carers’.