Got old flares? O.B. Fire Department will take them

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If you have expired marine or road flares, the Oak Bluffs Fire Department is willing to take them off your hands Friday. From 8:30 am to 4 pm, the department will accept old flares at 6 Fire House Lane in Oak Bluffs. Disposal is free. 

“It’s great that they’re doing it,” Chilmark Deputy Fire Chief Tim Carroll said. “They shouldn’t be thrown out in the trash.”

Carroll, who is also a Coast Guard auxiliarist, said flares are hazardous material that could ignite in the waste stream. 

Oak Bluffs harbormaster Todd Alexander said maintaining up-to-date flares is a safety priority.

“The major reason is to make sure they actually work when you want to use them,” he said.

Tisbury harbormaster John Crocker said you want to be rid of old flares “because they’re a fire hazard. It’s an incendiary device. Why would you want to have expired incendiary devices in your home, boat, or anywhere else?”

“The reliability of old flares tends to diminish as they sit,” Station Menemsha Officer in Charge Senior Chief Justin Longval said. Per Coast Guard regulations, most recreational vessels must be outfitted with unexpired flares, he said. 

Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-9 commander Joe Berini said many folks have asked him where they can discard old flares, and he has had to tell them to hold onto them because there’s been nowhere on-Island to do so.

“The disposal is really important, because you can’t get rid of your used flares,” he said. “You can’t shoot off a flare anywhere,” he added, because, among other reasons, it would trigger a false emergency. “It’s a great idea,” he said. 

Berini said when Flotilla 11-9 does boat inspections, the flares aboard must be unexpired.

“The ones that are out of date don’t even count,” he said.