Not So Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I double checked the dates on my flares today, and I have the reuired number of current flares. I also have quite a few expired flares that I had been keeping as a back up. The oldest ones I have exoired in 2001. I started to wonder if flares that had been made 10 years ago and had long expired might still work. I brought two of the oldest flares in my inventory into work tonight, took them down to our pond and tested them. Here's the "test" (use that loosely) conditions and results.
Both flares are Orion handheld red, the one's most people get at WM so they are in good standing with the USCG regs. Weather conditions; anyone in Maryland right now can tell you that it's raining cats and dogs, and wind is blowing 20+ and gusting. Those are conditions you might find yourself in when having to use a flare. I was standing out in the open, not blocked by trees, buildings, etc. etc. (fully exposed to the weather).
First flare fired on the second strike. The first strike was a little weak, but I really hit it hard the second time. The flare was as bright as a new one. I let it burn for about 30 seconds, then I submerged the lit end into the pond and held it underwater for 30 seconds. I brought it back out of the water and let it burn off in the air. Total burn time was about 1 min 45 sec. Less than the claimed 2 min on the package, but not too far off. The second flare lit on the first strike. I put it through the same 30 sec. in air, 30 sec. underwater, then burn off in air. This one only burned for a total of 1 min 30 sec (approx.). Still not bad for a 10 year old flare.
My little back yard experiment makes me a firm believer that just because the date is expired doesn't mean it can't save your bacon one day. Of course I will continue to maintain the proper inventory of up to date flares, but I'm not getting rid of the old ones "just because". Two for two on 10 year old flares is pretty good I'd say.
Anyone else keep old flares?
Dictated, but not read.