S’pore Sky Lantern Festival organisers failed to adhere to fire safety guidelines before event: SCDF

Singapore Sky Lantern Festival organisers did not follow fire safety guidelines before event

On 21 Feb, attendees of the Singapore Sky Lantern Festival (SSLF) were not allowed to release their lanterns due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

S’pore Sky Lantern Festival attendees not allowed to release lanterns due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’

Instead, organisers gave them LED lights in place of real candles.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has now said that following a site inspection, it found that the SSLF organisers did not adhere to fire safety guidelines.

SCDF thus informed them that they should not use the sky lanterns for the event.

SCDF says sky lantern festival organisers had unsatisfactory trial

Speaking to MS News, an SCDF spokesperson said that event organisers wishing to use sky lanterns must adhere to fire safety guidelines listed on SCDF’s website.

Source: Eventbrite

This includes tethering sky lanterns at all times and having safety marshals on-site to supervise the event.

In particular, the organisers must prevent lighted lanterns from being released if they were not tethered.

The safety marshals must also be equipped with fire extinguishers.

For SSLF, SCDF informed the event organisers of the guidelines on 31 Oct 2023. In the lead-up to the event, the SCDF reiterated the need to adhere to the regulations on multiple occasions.

On 19 Feb, the organisers conducted a trial which SCDF labelled as “unsatisfactory.”

During the trial, one of the lighted lanterns caused a small fire on the artificial turf, said the SCDF spokesperson.

SCDF conducted site inspection at sky lantern festival venue on 21 Feb

After the organisers had fully set up the event at Sentosa’s Palawan Green on 21 Feb, SCDF carried out a site inspection and found that they did not adhere to the fire safety guidelines.

The organisers failed to provide proper tethers for the sky lanterns. Nor did they have fire extinguishers or safety marshals present.

For public and aviation safety, SCDF informed the organisers that they should not use the sky lanterns for the event.

The organisers then offered attendees LED lights for the lanterns.

Image courtesy of Sheena Mulani

Release of untethered sky lanterns poses risk to aircraft

Ms Jean Yee, director of aviation policy for the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), told MS News that the release of tethered sky lanterns did not require a permit from the authority.

This was due to the organisers planning the activity outside of military operating hours and Restricted Areas. Additionally, the lanterns were not flown higher than 60 metres.

Regulations do not allow for the release of tethered sky lanterns during military operating hours. These hours are Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm and Saturday, 7am to 1pm.

“The release of untethered sky lanterns is not allowed in Singapore, as it is a safety risk to aircraft,” Ms Yee added.

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Featured image adapted from Eventbrite and courtesy of Sheena Mulani.

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