Published: January 22, 2009
Coastguards receive new stocks of search flares as safety fears ease

Safety fears about the use of emergency flares appear to have eased after Burnham-On-Sea Coastguards were this week issued with a new stock of the devices. first reported last October how fears had been raised by Coastguard officers that a government decision to ban the use of emergency flares could hinder their life-saving work.

The Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) had told teams at Burnham, Weston, Clevedon, Portishead and Sharpness, as well as other stations across the UK, that they would no longer be allowed to send up flares to illuminate incident scenes.

The decision came after an MCA review concluded that the pyrotechnics were "outmoded and rarely used". Each Coastguard team manager was told to dispose of their flares before the end of 2008.

However, in an apparent re-think by the MCA, understands that new stocks of flares have now been issued to local coastguard stations, including Burnham, and these will be in use again shortly for night rescues at locations such as Brean Down (pictured above).

Some Coastguards believe health and safety fears and the increased cost of insurance cover were behind the original decision.


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