The Essential on Pyrotechnic Signals
This pamphlet will serve as a guide to the public on the safety measures to follow when handling pyrotechnic signals. These devices pose a potential hazard and should be handled with care.
- Pyrotechnics are used to make distress signals.
- Read the instructions on the devices regularly.
- Allow sufficient time between the firing of each pyrotechnic signal. Your chances of being seen will be much greater.
- If you see a distress signal, you are responsible for determining whether you can assist the person in distress without running an undue risk. If you can, remember that it is your duty to do so. Where possible, you must also contact, by phone or VHF radio, the nearest Rescue Co-ordination Centre, via the Canadian Coast Guard radio and inform them of the type and location of the pyrotechnic signal.
- It is forbidden (under the Canada Shipping Act and its regulations and SOLAS) to give false distress signals or use pyrotechnics as fireworks.
All pyrotechnic signals must be approved by Transport Canada. There are four types of pyrotechnics (A, B, C or D). They are approved for a period of four years from the date of manufacture. Each type has specific characteristics and purposes. For further information on the different characteristics, the quantity required for your vessel and use of pyrotechnic signals, ask for the Safe Boating Guide (free of charge).
- Any military ordinance such as bombs, grenades, rockets, ammunition.
- Any blasting materials such as blasting caps, dynamite, etc.
- Flares and similar devices not approved by Transport Canada.
Safety measures for proper use:
- Store your distress signals in a watertight container to protect them from humidity.
- Store them in a cool and dry location, easy to get if needed, and out of reach of children.
- Check the expiry date on your distress signals regularly.
- Always shoot flares into the wind away from the vessel at a 45 degree angle to allow it to drift back over your position.
- Never use pyrotechnic signals too close to a fire hazard (propane gas, gas, oil).
- Should a flare not work when fired dispose of it immediately.
- Show a responsible person the proper way of using distress signals.
- Disposal: To dispose of outdated flares:
- seek advice from fire departments and police stations. In certain areas they are receiving expired flares.
- ask the retailer to accept expired flares when a new purchase is made; and,
- if in good condition, retain the flares as supplements to approved flares.
- Never point a flare at another person.
- Always treat them as an explosive device.