Disposal of Flares

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jet
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Disposal of Flares

Post by jet » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:45 pm

Has anybody got any ideas of how to dispose of time expired pyrotechnics, other than let them off on bonfire night and get a visit from unhappy police and fire officers.

Return them to point of purchase - Not possible as bought from Knoydart
Local council - not mine (no they are not fireworks and can't be soaked in water and put in the recycling bin!!!)
Local fire and rescue - have a similar disposal problem

It seems like my only option is to take them to Holyhead MRCC, my nearest MRCC which is a 270 mile round trip. It's not really an option at the moment.

Pains Wessex have a disposal option through some of their distributors

Hansson Pyrotek (which these are) - I haven't found a similar take back option.

Help.

Justin

pathbrae
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by pathbrae » Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:06 pm

Try ringing a local chandlers - Port Edgar will take them back free if you are replacing them or will charge to take them (I think it's about £2 per item) otherwise. That might be out of date as I've not had to take any back for a few years now though so best to call first
So much sea - so little time to see it.

john.ruston
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by john.ruston » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:33 pm

My solution -- In an old 40gal.drum well buried in your next bonfire. Don't use a lid.
Living in town ? weighted bag and very deep water.
Not sure about MCA. We picked up a load of unfired pyro after a ship went down. Left them in a bucket (of water) at the harbour office. Next thing a notice went up threatening prosecution in future if anyone left similar. Apparently they are now considered unexploded ordnance and need the "bomb squad" . Take Care.

Chris Bolton
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:40 pm

Some previous threads:

Disposing of flares
MCA flares collection(from 2009, may be out of date)

Searching the forum and the Almanac will find more, including what can happen when seeking to dispose of damaged flares.

Some official links (the links from these may not work well due to UK Govt brilliant idea that they could put all government services on one site)

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... GN_419.pdf
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisat ... nd-opening

Chris Bolton
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:44 pm

My solution -- In an old 40gal.drum well buried in your next bonfire. Don't use a lid.
Living in town ? weighted bag and very deep water.
If anyone chooses to take these suggestions seriously, the first is definitely dangerous and probably illegal, and the second is definitely illegal.

john.ruston
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by john.ruston » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:07 pm

Sorry to cause upset Chris. Of course you are right. There's the law. However I posted in all seriousness, the methods work. Are used by or on behalf of the UK military no less. One should always consider legality when considering options.

DaveB
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by DaveB » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:15 pm

at my club (well inland) we have fired off hand held flares past their use-by date at a training session having previously notified local police and fire brigade and again reporting when the process was over. Neither police nor Fire expressed any concern or disapproval

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jet
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by jet » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:43 pm

So the problem as I find it

is the mca have limited centres.

The chandlers will often only take back what they sell so need to find one who'll take anything

As soon as out of date the flare gets reclassified as explosive class 1.2 (see link) http://www.ramorauk.com/bomb-disposal/pyrotechnics

Letting off out of date flare could result in incomplete ignition you then have another issue to deal with.

Or I'm just being over cautious. :-)

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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by john.ruston » Sat Aug 27, 2016 1:01 am

Dave B. That's good to hear. Sensible solution

john.ruston
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by john.ruston » Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:28 am

Jet. Great points. Misfire. Partial burn, could happen to an In-date item too. Damp or Dud. Classic shot firer's dilemma but you cant wait. In your kayak where will you put the offending item? We have to be careful what we say to that, eh?
Incineration. Use enough heat; visualise armoured oven not a domestic barbeque:) Google Bonfire. Go well down the field - perhaps when burning brashings etc. I wondered just how many items needed to be disposed of. Part of a coastal pack or some industrial quantity ? This all will be harder for folk living in towns (storing Incendiaries in a residential area ?!). Next time buy dyes or rescue streamers perhaps. Safe paddling.

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GrahamC
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by GrahamC » Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:24 pm

I don't like storing flares, just in case of an accident, they get ridiculously hot when set off. I keep them in a strong (vented) steel box that lives on a paving slab in the corner of my boat shed well away from combustibles. I also recently bought an Odeo LED flare figuring that it was a safe alternative, especially for pinpointing at the end of a rescue as it runs for 5 hours. However, when you compare an Odeo to a red handheld in daylight there is no contest, even in sunshine the handheld red is very visible - the odeo ceases to be visible at only a few tens of metres. At night the Odeo does an impressive job though and it is excellent in grey or dusk conditions. I therefore currently carry the Odeo, two smoke flares (which I will not replace at expiry) a VHF and a PLB. I also have a very good signal mirror in my BA and know how to use it. The mirror is highly effective in bright sun (if in the right direction!). I figure that VHF is the first call, to local vessels or CG, then the PLB if no response. On hearing potential rescue the VHF comes back into play or the mirror, smoke or both, or the Odeo at night. However, having listened to a few rescues on the radio, in anything other than calm conditions I really consider self-rescue to be the only viable option. Finding a kayak in open rough water is very hard and rescuers need all the help you can give them. You will see them before they see you and if you can give them a bearing to follow (baseplate compass in BA - give them the bearing from them to you) then they can come straight at you. They should be able to use the VHF signal too but this is a little less distinct. Of course, this is all theory. It would be useful to here other's comments on avoiding having to carry flares.
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Chris Bolton
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by Chris Bolton » Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:41 pm

Good points, Graham. You've prompted me to dispose of my old flares, and put them somewhere safe in the meantime. I will probably not replace them. I have the same as you, except the Odeo, which I plan to buy - but I agree that self rescue should the primary strategy, first one's own self, then the group. But medical emergencies can be hard to manage without outside help.
Finding a kayak in open rough water is very hard and rescuers need all the help you can give them
I carry an orange survival bag and have practiced filling it with air while I'm in the water and getting inside it. The air lasts about 15-20 min before you need to refresh it, and in the meantime it keeps spray off your face, reduces water movement around your body and makes you about as visible as a dinghy racing mark.

john.ruston
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by john.ruston » Sat Aug 27, 2016 7:40 pm

Amongst other things I took the advice given on one of Simon Willis' videos and put a lot of Solas Tape on boats. Not pretty but it definitely catches the light. Passive protection.
Paddle blades got some bright colour, the ferry crews say they can see them twinkling (in daylight) at great distance. I used Halfords spray cans: Fluo. Orange and Yellow. For the low price of carbon I can pretend I've got some seriously good T60s.
Not many kayakers just where I live but lots of fast moving craft. Collision is a hazard I do worry about. (North Channel, Rathlin Sound).

RichJ
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by RichJ » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:51 pm

Hi Justin,
Just seen the thread and I am responding in haste, so please excuse me if others have said same!
Have you ever fired a rocket flare? If not, I truly believe ...and with an appreciative eye to the law that the 'bonfire night' option is a serious consideration. Not just as a disposal but as a serious part of ones training. .....they do go with a whoosh!!

Richard

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jet
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by jet » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:20 pm


robhorton
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by robhorton » Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:18 pm

RichJ wrote: Have you ever fired a rocket flare? If not, I truly believe ...and with an appreciative eye to the law that the 'bonfire night' option is a serious consideration.

Richard
I've been tempted to do that, the trouble is:
1) Finding somewhere where they won't be interpreted as a distress signal and when the parachute bit lands it won't start a fire or be a danger to livestock / wildlife. A ploughed field after rain or an inland reservoir are the best options I can think of but neither are totally satisfactory.
2) Figuring out what to do it it fails to go off - I think with a hand held flare I would carefully smash it up with a club hammer whilst wearing goggles and thick gloves - but wouldn't fancy that with a parachute flare.

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TechnoEngineer
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by TechnoEngineer » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:21 pm

I'd organise a flare-demo day with your local RNLI, in which a group of people can set off a load of expired flares and at least get some feel for how they are used.

I did this about 5 years ago with Chiswick RNLI.
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Chris Bolton
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:03 pm

A quick update. Holyhead CoastGuard were happy to take my expired pyrotechnics, they just asked me to phone the day before to check that they had people on shift who were qualified to handle them when I arrived.

I have replaced them with a Greatland Green Laserflare.

RichJ
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by RichJ » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:38 am

Hi Chris,
Hopefully you won't have used the laser flare in extremis, but maybe had a little 'try'. I am considering one of these to replace my parachute flares and interested in your thoughts so far? Anyone else with experience of these devices?

Richard

Chris Bolton
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:55 pm

I haven't used the Greatland laser flare in emergency, but have carried it and done some brief tests. It's small enough to carry on my BA - it come with a pouch which I've threaded onto the side strap. I've added a leash from the flare to the inside of the pouch. I'm told the Odeo flare is much bigger (it gives a 360º light, the Greatland is a directed beam). I like the ability to have it on my person - I never really found I could carry pyrotechnics other than miniflares.

I've only tested it at short range (50-100m) and at that range the beam is still very concentrated so if it's not aimed exactly you won't see it. People say it's very bright at that range (it's safe at more than 4m in terms of dazzle or eye damage, unlike laser pens). It has a plastic cap over the business end that you remove before using it, and I need to find some way to keep it safe. Turning on the laser requires holding the barrel and rotating the end - takes both hands, but it won't get switched on by accident (which is a problem with many torches that use push buttons).

I'll need to go somewhere where I can test it at longer range but know that only the person helping me will see it. While it's not a recognised distress signal, it may well be taken as one. It doesn't much concern me that it's not a recognised signal - I intend it as a means to indicate my location, after I've used PLB or VHF to ask for help.

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:33 pm

Like Chris I have the green Greatland laser flare, advertised as being visible 30 miles at night (that would need to be well over the horizon though!) and 3 miles during the day. I tested it on a bright summer day in 2015 and shone it to an observer 4.5km to the north. I didn't say exactly where I would be but said I would be between two points some 2.5km apart but equidistant from the observer. I warned the coast guard I was about to test it and gave my position and direction of aim. The coastguard was most interested and asked me to radio back with the result as he was thinking of getting one! With the naked eye the kayak was not visible but the flare was visible with unmissable green flashes. I just waggled it about in the general direction there was no need for a careful aim.

Douglas

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jet
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by jet » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:11 pm

Chris,

Thanks for the update on Holyhead CG. That is looking like the best option for me.

Talking to a friend at the weekend, who has recently let off some out of date (8 years over date) pen flares. They still worked, and made a much bigger bang than he remembered from the pen flares he tried in the early 1990's.

Justin

Chris Bolton
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by Chris Bolton » Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:56 pm

My experience many years ago, and others I've spoken to recently, is that out of date pen flares will usually fire, will go up in the air and burn, but don't go high enough, so they are still alight when they land and set fire to whatever they land on (assuming it will burn). So I don't recommend firing them.

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jet
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Re: Disposal of Flares

Post by jet » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:22 am

Chris,

Fully agree.

I'm taking mine to CG. All will be placed in an ammo box for transit. Overkill maybe.

Justin

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