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Thread: expired flares

  1. #1
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default expired flares

    Does anyone know where I can take expired flares to dispose them?
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  2. #2

    Default Flares

    Not sure if you are talking about ariel or road flares, but I would just use them training the family & kids to practice signaling or starting fires. Save the good (in date) stuff for the real situations.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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  3. #3
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default

    no there for my boat and they are expired. I don't thinnk I want to send one up for training. Someone might see it and they might think it's for real. then I would have allot of explaining to do.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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    Default

    You might contact the city and ask if they are going to have a household Hazmat turn in day. I know they do it about every 6 months or so here in Juneau, but I am not sure about anywhere else. Another option is to contact the Coast Guard Marine Safety division in Juneau and ascertain the best way to dispose of them. I work in the enforcement side and ALWAYS reccomend boaters keep their expired flares on board (along with their up-to-date ones also) just in case. Nothing says they will not work after their expiration date and I guess you cant be too safe.

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    Thumbs up

    Most times the flares will work years after they are expired. Keeping them on the boat, separated from the new flares is a good idea.

    Most people use them for training or donate them to the USCG Auxiliary for training.

  6. #6
    New member fishnhuntr's Avatar
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    Default ?

    We just got done with a bunch of New Years parties....lol

  7. #7

    Default Trained my kids.

    I let my kids shoot them for New Years. The kids now know what to expect and are not afraid of them anymore. My wife was very shocked at how quick they burned out and how they didn't go far. She learned a lot from the chance to see them fired first hand. They now know not to shoot them blindly in the air but to wait for a passer by (boat, airplane, person, car, etc.)

    1/4 of the flares (expired) did not work. They were the type you shoot with the flare pistol (12 gauge), just sharing the info.

    Let the family learn, save them for New Years. It could save a life!

  8. #8

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    Just curious, but what kind of kick do you get? That little plastic gun is pretty light.

  9. #9
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Keep em

    I second the vote to keep them. As long as you have enough current flares to keep the CG happy, you can have as many "expired" ones as you can carry. When your available space fills up, take the oldest ones and use them for "training" either on the 4th of July or New Years. Use them away from the ocean in a fireworks legal area and you won't have any problems. I've shot off 12g flares that expired over 10 years prior and they all worked just fine, so I have no reservation about keeping the expired stuff on the boat. I think it has more to do with storage conditions than the age. In a real emergency, more is better.

    The 12g flare gun doesn't kick much at all.
    Winter is Coming...

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  10. #10

    Default 12 gauge kick.

    Just curious, but what kind of kick do you get? That little plastic gun is pretty light.
    Hardly any kick. My 60 lb. daughter had a ball shooting them off. If you haven't done it I would recommend it. Some of the others had expired parachute flares from liferafts, now that's a flare.

    FYI They went 5 or 6 times as high and lasted about that much longer. Nothing beats hands on experience.

  11. #11
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    Default Visual Distress Signals

    This is a great thread! Visual Distress Signals are the source of much discussion and some speculation (what's legal, how can I dispose of expired pyrotechnics, etc.) Here's the Coast Guard's Office of Boating Safety site that might help: http://uscgboating.org/safety/fedreqs/equ_vds.htm

    ...and here is some comments from me....

    Those of you that have been boarded by the Coast Guard already know what the question is; "Can I see your flares?" And, like most boaters (over 63%), you simply open a compartment or box and show the officer three flares, usually still in the original packaging. The officer normally checks the expiration dates on the flares and says "Looks good to me!" or "Your flares are expired."

    So, the 'average' boater either knows (or learns!) to check the flares every spring for their expiration dates or runs down to the local boating supply store and pays for new ones....now, if you've been boating for a few years, it seems like you end up with a collection of expired flares and there's really no easy way to get rid of them. They are definitely hazardous waste, so you can't just throw them in the trash. If you light them off, you take a chance of somebody spotting them and reporting a distress signal to the Coast Guard (if we launch on a false distress, you take the chance of having to pay for the launch and trust me, it's expensive!) Some fire departments might take them off your hands (maybe)....some landfills might accept them as hazardous waste (for an extra fee). The Coast Guard Auxiliary will not take them any longer and because of liability issues, the Auxiliary isn't allowed to sponsor public "flare shoots" anymore either.

    Expired pyrotechnics are most definitely a problem....and a problem without a practical solution. What to do??

    Here is my suggestion: Keep a few (3-6) expired flares as long as they are dry and in good repair for spares. If you are in a distress situation, use the expired flares first; save the "good" ones. Consider approved alternatives to pyrotechnics such as a distress light and other non-pyro. Remember, there are limitations to any distress signal.

    But, I still haven't answered the question of how to get rid of old flares, have I? So, I called the local number for hazardous waste and got referred to the Anchorage contractor who told me that they do not accept "explosives". Then I called the Harbormaster to see how they answered the question....they don't take old flares either but suggested I call the Police dept....so I did....and left a message for the officer who (hopefully) could answer the question.

    It's an interesting 'exercise', going through a process trying to get an answer to a common question from boaters. I've got the feeling that the Police dept. will also not be able to provide a solution. The next question would be, "Who has the responsibility to provide a workable solution to dispose of old flares?"

    I'd be interested in forum members thoughts! Mike

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    Default

    this is what my grandfather use to do. He would take an old steel 55 gallon drum take the plug out put about 10 gallons of water in it and fire the expired old flares. After fired drain water removed and throughn in trash.

  13. #13
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default

    If you don't like the idea of simply expending the flares during normal fireworks activity (it will not be mistaken as a distress signal when part of an ongoing holiday display), then the proper disposal method is to follow the directions on the package and soak them in water.

    They are pyrotechnic devices, not explosives. If given that excuse, you're talking to some lazy idiot who doesn't want to do his job.

    If you do get in touch with someone at the PD, you'll find out that the PD has to dispose of illegal fireworks all the time. They employ 2 methods, depending on the size and politics of the department. Small, rural departments simply take all the pyrotechnics out on New Years Eve and set them off in normal fashion at a safe, snow-covered, remote site. (Yes, this is real and I've witnessed it first hand).

    Larger departments that may have external politics to deal with must employ the EOD method. They place all the pyrotechnics they've accumulated into large metal dumpsters that have ventilation holes around the bottom and simply light the whole mess on fire and let it burn at a large site capable such disposal without fire danger.

    Finally, if you live in an area where you can't dispose of them any other way, give or sell them to someone else. I'm sure there are plenty of other boaters and outdoorsmen that would be happy to take your "expired" flares to supplement their own signaling kits. As they used to say, "waste not..."
    Winter is Coming...

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  14. #14
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    Default AVTEC in SEWARD

    I work as an instructor at AVTEC The Alaska Maritime Training Center and we use expired flares and smokes for training out students. If you save them up and bring them to Seward, we will take them all.

  15. #15
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Default

    As a retired EOD guy

    DO Not Soak Flares in Water.....

    The chemical make up of the flares react with water and generate heat. If put into an enclosed container you have the possibility of high pressure build up in the container. If the water is removed then you run the chance of self ignition. Now The disclaimer I have never seen any of the above but do know for a fact after removing flares soaked in water they are well above water/air temperature. The right scenerio could produce unexpected injurious results.

    I wish there was a way to again have a training day and a safe area to do it without reprcussions. I, like others, use some of my expired flares during New Years.

    Last but not least for those in Anchorage...APD will not take them, Ft. Rich and Elmendorf EOD will not take them. When disposed of, instead of being used as designed, they are considered hazardous materials and produce hazardous waste requiring EPA permits out the wazoo..... Sorry JOAT the days of burning that stuff is just about over because of EPA rules. All depends on the State or the facilities available. So unless they pose an imediate threat to human life or property(call the proper authorities) save them and give them to AVTEC.

  16. #16
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Guess it depends on the type of device, but I've seen stuff that says soak in water to destroy. But, as I said, follow the manufacturer's recommendations. In fact, if you call Olin, they'll probably have the best info on destruction methods for their own products.

    I still say save 'em and shoot off your ancient excess at New Year's for "training".
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  17. #17
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Guess it depends on the type of device, but I've seen stuff that says soak in water to destroy. But, as I said, follow the manufacturer's recommendations. In fact, if you call Olin, they'll probably have the best info on destruction methods for their own products.

    I still say save 'em and shoot off your ancient excess at New Year's for "training".
    I included some easy links to popular safety items below. Look at the reactivity sections to see if the items you have can be put in water or what other materials like petroleum products that you need to avoid. The last link to to the list of MSDS put out from Orion.


    Here is the MSDS for the 12 gauge if you go to the reactivity Data besides flames it says avoid wet conditions.

    http://www.orionsignals.com/safetydata/12%20ga%20long%20Shel%20MSDS.doc.pdf

    Hand Held Red Flares (avoid exposure to moisture)

    http://www.orionsignals.com/safetyda...nehandheld.pdf

    25mm red or white (avoid moisture)

    http://www.orionsignals.com/safetydata/25mmmarine.pdf


    Master link for Signal MSDS

    http://www.orionsignals.com/safetydata/index.html

    Olin now belongs to Orion.........Agee on the New Years use/disposal

  18. #18
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    i always keep a few expired flares in my snowmachine "just in case"...you can set a whole beetle killed tree abaze with one if you need to. also keep them on the dogsled and around the house as they are very effective for hazing moose off the trail or out of the yard.
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
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  19. #19
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    Default Expired Flares

    You might want to try Eagle Enterprises to get rid of expired flares. I help teach boat safety classes for the Fish and Wildlife Service and we get expired flares from them to use in our training classes. But I am not sure if they take expired ones from the public in general or if they only take the expired flares from the survival rafts that they refurbish and restock with new survival gear.

    I prefer to keep a few of the old ones on my personal boat as "extras" in addition to my up-to-date ones.

  20. #20
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Thanks for everyones help. I will just keep them and get new ones. Never can have to many.....
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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