Friday, February 19, 2016

FTV Pyrotechnics

We had a rather busy afternoon on the TS Kennedy. At around 1600 we did our boat drill for the week, which was an emergency muster drill. When the alarm sounded we all proceeded to our boat stations where a muster was taken. We then went to our pyrotechnics demonstration.

Smoke Flare
What are pyrotechnics? Pyrotechnics are different devices to use when someone is in distress. This could be a hand flare, parachute flare, smoke flare, or a line throwing device. There are others, but these are just a few that we have on our ship. At this demonstration we had displays of the pyrotechnics we have on board and a description on how to use all of them. For example, a smoke flare is a day signal only. It is good for search and rescue aircraft or vessels to locate you. A hand flare is good for 60 seconds and is visible for about 5 miles depending on the visibility that day. When it is opened and struck it gives off a bright red glowing light. Parachute flares are just like hand flares, but they shoot up where ever you point them. They will burn for 40 seconds and are visible for 30 miles on a good day. All of these pyrotechnics are critical to have on board big vessels. In our lifeboats and life rafts we have 2 smoke flares, 6 hand flares, and 4 parachute flares. In the pyrotechnic boxes we have on the ships bridge wing we have 12 parachute flares and 12 hand flares.
It is important to our training to have all of these pyrotechnics and know how to use them. For the demonstration we light off the flares that are expired so we do not go to use them in an emergency and it does not work. Safety First!

Until next time,
Flares get color from the elements they burn
Thank heavens for flares, which have saved countless lives at sea. They're fantastically simple signaling devices similar to fireworks, but they're designed to communicate a much more direct message in an emergency. Have you ever wondered what they're made of and how they work? Let's take a closer look!

A flare is a tube packed with explosive chemicals that burn very brightly or give off smoke, usually to attract attention in an emergency. The two main kinds are handheld flares (which operate on the ground) and rocket flares (which are fired into the air).

Flare guns fire cartridges packed with colorful chemicals.cartridge loaded with multiple layers of gunpowder (blue), a central fuse (yellow), various chemicals in between that burn to give the colors green (labeled D, bottom), white (F, center), and red (H, top), and some incombustible layers (F and G) in between that keep the signals separate.

What makes a flare fire red or orange? Just like a firework, it's the chemicals inside, which are chosen specifically so the flare burns brightly and with a specific color. The main ingredients of flares include strontium nitrate (which provides a bright red or orange-red flame), and magnesium (which burns very bright white light).

Chemical elements burn different flame colors because their electrons have different energy levels. T
Click here to Learn more:
Flame Tests
Flame Test Lab and the Electromagnetic Spectrum 
Properties of Elements- Virtual Lab

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