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Old 14-11-2010, 08:30   #16
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Probably true, but how many are too many? Eventually they just really start piling up.
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Old 14-11-2010, 09:22   #17
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i wS advised by some of my uscg inspector types that there isno such thing as too many flares when it gets down and dirty. i was told to keep them separate from the rest and keep in cool places for DIRE emergencies. you donot know how many it may take to get someone's attention. i save mine and bag em and stow em for use in case of........wholly sh****z...some for ditch bag and some for mother ship..
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Old 14-11-2010, 11:24   #18
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****! Maybe I need to ride back out there and get them back...except for the rusty shells.
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Old 14-11-2010, 12:30   #19
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Grunzster,

Where in this thread is "suit on phone" post.

I would like to advise him to move out of that area for his own protection.
After 17yrs in the fire dept doing haz-mat, EMT,ship firefighting, and having pulled cooked babies and adults out of structural and vehicle fires, I can tell you---that remark was not made by a true firefighter.
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Old 14-11-2010, 13:35   #20
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It might be a good idea to use some "expired" flares for training. Every other year, I try to organize such an event for an association of French sailing instructors. This includes obtaining the proper authorization from the administration.

IME, not all old flares burn properly. Last year, we have had even less success with parachute flares: only one worked as advertised. Some didn't start at all, some didn't burn and some parachutes didn't open.

Alain
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Old 14-11-2010, 13:39   #21
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I buy enough flares to be legal and no more.... BUT I'll bet I have 50+ "expired" ones. My thoughts are that if I were really in need, I can shoot for a LONG time with all of those.

My $0.02 is that flares (like MOST medications) are viable for YEARS past their expiration, but the manufacturers wouldn't be able to sell new if they didn't go "bad". Keep them aboard "just in case"!
I do the same! If nothing else they are good for lighting beach fires.
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Old 14-11-2010, 13:53   #22
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Is their any danger from old flares, other then they won't work when you need them?
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Old 14-11-2010, 13:59   #23
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Is their any danger from old flares, other then they won't work when you need them?
As long as they are stored in a plastic container, preferably water proof, they're as safe as new ones.
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Old 14-11-2010, 14:19   #24
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Blue Stocking - That was a reference to the non firefighter, pencil pusher, city official type, who I talked to when I called.
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Old 14-11-2010, 15:04   #25
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Grunzster, a magnesium road flare will continue to burn underwater IF lit on the surface. Usually.

But last time I looked, the local USCG station had a metal dumpster in the parking lot that said "USED PYROTECHNICS" on it in big letters, available for public dumping.

I call that throwing out money. If pyros are kept dry and away from air, they last just about forever. Your new pyros should be kept hermetically sealed, not in the crap container from the store. Metal surplus ammo boxes are perfect, since they'll keep out air and water and if there's spontaneous combustion (you didn't know? Pyros can go off all by themselves.) they'll smother that too.

By all means keep the statutory "new" set where they can be inspected--but still hermetically sealed--and keep the rest in another box. If you ever need pyros, there's no such thing as having too many, and if you took care of them correctly, they don't go bad. I've lit off ten year outdated ones with no failures--because they were kept in a can.

Why create toxic waste when they're still perfectly good, and might save your butt?

And the two or three oldest ones really SHOULD be used to demonstrate how pitiful they are, and how to safely deploy them, to new crew. 4th of July, New Years...plenty of times one more red flare won't be a bother to anyone.
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Old 14-11-2010, 15:16   #26
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Is this what you're talking about...or is this the crap container?
If so, then maybe I should keep the extra one I was going to get rid of to store all the old flares?

On the other hand to ask my question again, in more detail. If you're not doing a ton of running at night, or going too far offshore, and you have a PLB, not to mention the obvious plotter and a VHF, are a ton of extra flares really necessary?


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Old 14-11-2010, 18:13   #27
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That's the crap container. I know, I can't bear to throw mine out either but I sure as hell won't store pyros in it.

Look for a thirty or fifty caliber METAL military surplus ammunition can from cheaperthandirt.com or sportsmansguide.com or your local army/navy store. The quality varies, you want one that's in good shape so the heavy rubber seal in the lid still seals.

I masked the seal, roughed off any light rust, hit it with two heavy coats of white exterior spray and two more of dayglo orange. There's NO mistaking it for anything else.<G> On a tape across the latch I have it marked "SEALED, DO NOT OPEN" and there's a card with an inventory "Pyrotechnics - Distress Flares - Do Not Open Except in Emergency" on both sides. One 30 caliber can should hold quite enough, maybe a 50 if you're also collecting the larger SOLAS grade pyros. (Everything else is a sad joke compared to the SOLAS pyros, but they're damned overpriced.)

The .30 cans may be $10 each or three/$10, prices vary a lot but just about every "army navy" store always has them. The plastic civilian copies usually are nowhere near as robust or sealed as well.

After seeing some camping gear do spontaneous combustion some years ago, I decided anything that can set itself on fire MUST live in an airtight container.
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Old 14-11-2010, 18:54   #28
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That's what I was afraid of.

How about just a Pelican? Yeah it's plastic, but it's heavy duty built like a tank plastic, with a giant rubber seal. And the smaller ones you can conveniently get in "explosives" orange.
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Old 14-11-2010, 19:07   #29
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I used to move my expired flares from old boat to new boat, subscribing to the theory that "what could it hurt if they don't go off?"

When I moved aboard my last boat, I suddenly realized that I had more expired flares than could fit into a five-gallon bucket. When I thought for a moment about the sort of damage that this much magnesium could havoc in a fire, I donated them to the CG Auxillary.

The CG Auxilary dudes thought I was a fairly scary person when I dropped off the flares. Come to think of it, a cruiser in his fifth sailboat is kinda scary.

Once you're on your third set of flares, it might be a good idea to get rid of the fourth set. And the fifth. And the sixth. And....
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Old 14-11-2010, 19:10   #30
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Pelican would work. I'll bet it costs at least 4x as much though. Maybe 6x.
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