SAFETY EVALUATION OF DISTRESS FLARES AND SMOKES

An evaluation program was conducted for the purpose of uncovering any safety hazards that might be associated with the use of distress flares and smokes, particularly those hazards that would pertain to the use of the devices by the public on recreational boats. Devices tested included hand-held flares and smokes, self-contained and pistol-launched meteros and parachute flares, and floating smokes. Testing was performed to assess hazards of: spattering and slag dripping on personnel, on materials, and on ignition of exposed liquid fuel; toxicity of smoke or other combustion products; heat up of casing or hardware parts, recoil from self-contained or pistol-fired flares. Additionally, several performance criteria were analyzed: burn time, intensity, effect of aging, failure rate, ease of use, and altitude attained by launched flares. The principal safety problems that were exposed involved: (1) the tendency of slag to drip from hand-held flares and to ignite many types of materials that it falls onto; (2) possible toxicity of products of orange smokes; (3) excessive failure and significant recoil of certain pistol-fired parachute flares. The overall failure rate of all units tested in the course of the project was six percent (not counting pistol-fired parachute flares).

  • Corporate Authors:

    United States Coast Guard

    2100 Second Street, SW
    Washington, DC  USA  20593
  • Authors:
    • McHale, E T
  • Publication Date: 1977

Media Info

  • Pagination: n.p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00177406
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: United States Coast Guard
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GC-D-89-77
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 19 1978 12:00AM