RNLI warns of using flares as fireworks

PUBLISHED: 16:44 04 November 2008 | UPDATED: 09:57 10 June 2010

THE RNLI s team of Sea Safety volunteers in the south west are issuing a timely reminder to all of the risk of firing distress flares as a source of entertainment this Firework Night.

THE RNLI's team of Sea Safety volunteers in the south west are issuing a timely reminder to all of the risk of firing distress flares as a source of entertainment this Firework Night.

It's not only illegal but also potentially dangerous.

Marine pyrotechnics, commonly known as 'flares' are designed to be fired over water, so when the flare comes back down to the ground (if fired over land) it is likely to still be extremely hot and can cause serious burns or a fire.

Flares are a vital part of safety equipment for those going to sea for work or leisure purposes but should not be used in non-distress situations.

The RNLI said: "Flares are intended as a means of signalling for help when in distress at sea to assist the RNLI's lifeboat or the Coastguard's rescue helicopter crews in locating vessels.

"That's why any misuse of flares, such as for entertainment during firework and bonfire night celebrations, could divert search and rescue assets away from a genuine emergency. "

"The RNLI offers free flare demonstrations to boating clubs or groups of sea users. We explain the differences between types of flares, how to use them and also show the correct and safe way to fire flares if you're faced with a distress situation.

"After all, the worst time to be reading the instructions on a flare is the time you actually need to use it in a real life situation.

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