Let’s imagine a situation at sea where the vessel is on the verge of sinking.
In such unfortunate events, when the vessel has to be abandoned, one has to be able to get to a safer place quickly.
Getting hold of, operating and using personal safety appliances might be difficult and sometimes certain appliances fail too. Here, aiding external help becomes necessary.
Pyrotechnics help aid this immediate help from other vessels or mainlands to get people to a safer location. Pyrotechnics, put simply, is the science and craft of using self-contained exothermic chemical reactions to generate heat, light or sound.
This science dates back to the 1912’s since the Titanic Disaster and many incidents thereafter.
Ever since, Pyrotechnics have been etched into the marine safety culture, assisting the distressed in times of emergencies.
The bright and striking flare launched from vessels in distress – pyrotechnics have saved many lives over the course of their use.
In extreme situations when rescuing the vessel is difficult, one needs to be able to move to a safer place.
These signals and flares are useful in pinpointing the exact location of the people in distress. We are aware of GPS and locative devices, yet, pyrotechnics hold their stature as nothing replaces the immediacy of help attained with a flare at sea.
Post the horrendous Titanic disaster, the SOLAS treaty has emphasised on the importance of pyrotechnics onboard a vessel. With organisations pushing for the use of this mechanism in unfortunate incidents at sea, let’s peek into why they are so important.
Alongside progressive technology emerging, we now see a variety of signalling devices used to show distress at sea and aid rescues at sea. Pyrotechnic flares produce heat and smoke; two important elements in assisting search and rescue operations, providing a visual indication of wind strength and direction at sea level.
By creating an unmissable signature to thermal imaging equipment commonly, it gets the attention of emergency response teams. Hence, each vessel shall make sure to equip themselves with these flares at all times to save each life during a mishap.
To understand the types, mechanisms and precautionary measures of pyrotechnics, take a look at SHM Shipcare free guide Introduction To Pyrotechnics.