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Old 26-08-2012, 17:01   #1
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Disposal of Expired Flares

Un-ignited expired emergency flares are dangerous and hazardous. I called my local fire department, the state and spoke to someone at the coast guard and could never find someone to take my expired emergency flares. However, it is my understanding that ignited (used) flares can be discarded in household waste. A few years ago I started to ignite my handheld flares in a metal trash can and then dispose of them in my trash. It worked very well and was a great learning experience because now I know what flares are easy to use and what are more difficult. Today I ignited some expired gun flares into a metal trash can with the lid slightly cracked so I could insert and fire the gun. It worked very well and was a learning experience. Out of the four expired flares only two worked. They were dated 2003. I throw this out as a suggested disposal method for those having difficulty finding someone to take their expired flares.
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Old 26-08-2012, 17:35   #2
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Re: Disposal of expired flares

Don't know why the flares would be dangerous. I was always told to hang onto them as spares to use if I should really need flares in earnest. Not concerned about their reliablility as the expired ones are in addition to having current flares.
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Old 26-08-2012, 17:37   #3
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Re: Disposal of expired flares

I understand that being pyrotechnics, there is a view that over time they can become unstable and thus dangerous to have aboard.
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Old 26-08-2012, 17:56   #4
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Yes, I too save some expired flares for backup. However, after years they add up!

Think about it...it is extremely flammable and hazardous material that should not be just thrown in your everyday trash.
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Old 26-08-2012, 18:06   #5
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Re: Disposal of Expired Flares

4th of July evening?
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Old 26-08-2012, 18:06   #6
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I contacted my local fire chief. He told me to drop them off and he would take care of them.

Don
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Old 26-08-2012, 18:07   #7
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Re: Disposal of Expired Flares

Up till this spring I have never had a expired flare fail to perform so I kept most of them to use if needed.

This spring when selling the boat I noted the flares were soon to expire so I replaced all for the new owners.

Of seven pistol flares all fired but none ignited. Not good. Two lot numbers. Are they just making them crappy these days? I have fired flares years out of date up till now with no problems.

Makes me think of the decision when actually needing a flare. I am thinking that at the time you actually need to fire one things are pretty crappy and taking the time to put in an old one, finding out it does not work and then redoing the process could have too high a cost. Thinking of aircraft passing by.

So I think I won't bother saving them if another "real" boat finds me one day.
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Old 26-08-2012, 18:13   #8
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Re: Disposal of Expired Flares

Why not save them for 4th of July and get some use out of them? Hmm..is that legal?
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Old 26-08-2012, 18:13   #9
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Re: Disposal of expired flares

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I understand that being pyrotechnics, there is a view that over time they can become unstable and thus dangerous to have aboard.
Never really heard about that problem in any regards.

For getting rid of them, just shoot them off during a big fireworks show in town.
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Old 26-08-2012, 19:34   #10
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Re: Disposal of Expired Flares

In 1992 we were given a 1972 Avon 6 man liferaft in a canister which had NEVER been repacked.
We were getting ready to sail to Mexico, so long story short, we had it repacked by a place in South Seattle.
They replaced the foot pump for the raft, the water, the SOLAS flares etc.
When we picked it up we asked, "What happens to old SOLAS flares?
They said they had to pay big money to get rid of them at a hazardous waste site (run of course by King County Gummint, but I won't go there).
I asked if they would fire, being so old, and he said he'd be very surprised if there was even ONE dud in the whole bunch.
I asked if I could keep the old ones as spares, and he was glad to oblige.
At the time we were the Commodores of our local cruising club, so I asked if he had any more he'd want to give me for the club.
I ended up with a 2'x2' box of them which we gave away at the next cruising club meeting.
We fired off our 1972 parachute flares at the next 4th of July fireworks display and every one of them performed as expected, PERFECT !

After 9/11, your access to these may be not as good...
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Old 26-08-2012, 19:43   #11
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Re: Disposal of Expired Flares

I believe that expired flares are illegal to have on board per the coast guard.
Maybe I'm wrong?
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Old 26-08-2012, 19:44   #12
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Re: Disposal of expired flares

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Don't know why the flares would be dangerous. I was always told to hang onto them as spares to use if I should really need flares in earnest. Not concerned about their reliablility as the expired ones are in addition to having current flares.
When I replace flares I keep the old batch as spares aboard in a plastic bag. The "3rd generation" if you will I dispose of safely. Usually by firing into an appropriate receptical -- like a hole in the ground. I've been following this process for years and never had an expired set of ordinance fail to ignite -- some of them years past their official expiry date -- whether flares, parachute flares, star burst rounds, or smoke pots, etc. Good training exercise for crew too.
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Old 26-08-2012, 19:51   #13
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Re: Disposal of Expired Flares

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I believe that expired flares are illegal to have on board per the coast guard.
Maybe I'm wrong?
News to me, I just know they don't count towards signal requirements.
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Old 26-08-2012, 20:11   #14
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Re: Disposal of Expired Flares

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News to me, I just know they don't count towards signal requirements.
+1. Not illegal to have aboard, just don't meet USCG/CFR requirements. However, this is only a practical issue if you are in waters which fall under USCG jurisdiction.
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Old 26-08-2012, 20:12   #15
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Re: Disposal of expired flares

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Never really heard about that problem in any regards.

For getting rid of them, just shoot them off during a big fireworks show in town.
This is all too politically correct. I agree. Just go shoot them off. The world won't end.
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