History of Flares

History of Flares

Developed as early as the 13th century in China, traditional pyrotechnic flares come from a pre-electric era reminiscent of when the first cavemen created fire. Initially developed as a weapon against wildlife, the flare gun was further weaponized in World War I, World War I, and the Korean War.

Patented in 1859, twenty years before Edison’s invention of the light bulb, the original flare gun has changed little in its vast history, remaining as much a safety hazard today as it was 150+ years ago. Strangely, for an item meant to save lives, flare guns have been responsible for numerous deaths, both intentional and accidental.

Pyrotechnic flare guns are classified as class 1.4 explosives and have been used in the training of the law enforcement officials known colloquially as the “bomb squad.”

In short, a pyrotechnic flare gun is still a gun, and can hold the same consequences as traditional fire arm when it falls into untrained hands.

These traditional flares are further labeled as hazardous materials due to the presence of potassium perchlorate, a chemical which, if improperly stored, leads to the long-term contamination of drinking water far beyond levels safe for human consumption.

While the EPA has not yet regulated levels of potassium perchlorate, states, including California and Massachusetts, have begun this practice. The reasoning for this regulation is the serious negative effect that ingesting perchlorate or perchlorate-contaminated drinking water has on humans, which can lead to such symptoms as gastric irritation, nausea, vomiting, fever, skin rashes, and even fatal aplastic anemia.

At Sirius Signal, we believe that your safety shouldn’t be compromised by your safety equipment. That’s why we developed the first USCG compliant electronic flare. Sirius for Safety, Sirius… for Life.