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SFMO: Only Licensed Professionals Can Operate Sky Lanterns in Tennessee

Leave Sky Lanterns and Other Special Light Displays to the Experts
Thursday, June 07, 2018 | 01:17pm

NASHVILLE – Warmer weather means outdoor events like parties, weddings, and concerts where sky lanterns can often be found. The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is reminding concertgoers that sky lanterns—which are unmanned airborne paper lanterns fueled by flame—can only be operated in the Volunteer State by licensed fireworks professionals.

State law defines sky lanterns as special fireworks that can only be purchased and used by individuals with a professional license (such as a certified flame effect operator, certified outdoor display operator or certified proximate pyrotechnic operator). (They are also known as Chinese lanterns or wish lanterns.)

Though these lanterns can provide aesthetic value, they pose numerous hazards when they fall from the sky prior to their flame being fully extinguished. They can land on grass, trees, rooftops, powerlines, and other combustibles, which can ignite a destructive fire. Additionally, their fallen remains can pose a threat to livestock when consumed.

“The general public cannot purchase or use sky lanterns,” said State Fire Marshal and Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “If sky lanterns are found in the possession of someone who does not have a professional license issued by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, sky lanterns can be confiscated and later destroyed.”

To ensure the safety of every Tennessean, the SFMO encourages consumers to enjoy fireworks and other light shows by attending displays conducted by trained professionals.

More fire safety tips can be found at tn.gov/fire.