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DO NOT set off a flare for anything other than an emergency.
First, yes, there is a procedure for getting USCG permission for training, contact the USCG or Life Raft Survival and Equipment, located here in Rhode Island, as they have an annual safety seminar and acheive permission to light handheld and parachute flares. Second, I recommend you attend a safety seminar, not a solely classroom seminar, but a hands-on seminar, where you learn how to safely use the products, including flares, fire extinguishers, etc.
Third, I have set off the solas flares, these are not toys, they burn VERY HOT and are dangerous if not used properly. A handheld flare ignited will instantly boil a bucket of water on contact, and if you do not know to hold the flare away from you, versus above you, a non-solas flare can drip slag causing severe burns, solas flares tend not to due this but can. A buring flare can easily start of fire, or melt other materials, on contact. Also, a solas parachute flare will travel approximately 1000 ft up, travel with the wind, and burn for about 40 seconds, and again burns VERY HOT, and the flare may or may not extinuish prior to contacting the ground, thus, DO NOT SET OFF ONE OF THESE IN YOUR BACK YARD, you could start a fire or worse.
Your last paragraph, in my opinion, invalidates the whole idea of your first sentence. Reading your last paragraph made me imagine being in a liferaft, setting off a flare, and melting a hole in the raft so it wouldn't even hold air anymore. You've inspired me more than ever to set off a few flares to see what I should expect.
What are you pretending not to know ?
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Last edited by wind_magic; 07-14-2008 at 01:53 AM.