Emergency Flares and Water: Do They Mix?
Most flat tire or vehicle survival kits contain chemical roadside emergency flares. These invaluable additions are bold, bright, and noticeable in most emergencies, but what about rain?
The question of whether these flares are waterproof is a valid one. Thankfully, most roadside chemical flares are water-resistant. This means they will work if exposed to a drizzle of rain or a slight amount of water. However, if they are immersed in water, chemical flares will likely become destroyed or unusable.
Chemical flares are designed to function reliably, even when exposed to moisture. Since they are typically used all day or night, emergency flares are coated with a heavy wax silicone to prevent water from entering the casing and reaching the chemicals inside. Moisture exposure will deteriorate the flares’ ability to stay lit but shouldn’t put the fire out completely.
On the other hand, maritime flares are designed for wet or rough weather conditions, carried onboard boats or other ocean vessels. These flares can be dunked, soaked, or splashed (as long as it’s not for an extended period) and still be expected to function. As a bonus, they can be thrown onto the water’s surface while staying lit.
If fire is out-of-the-question, an increasingly popular flare alternative is battery-powered strobe lights. Though the batteries can deplete, most are designed with a rugged environment in mind. They are generally built to be water-resistant but can short-circuit if submerged in water.
Glow sticks are another fireless option, which are nearly impenetrable by water. They are not as bright as fire flares or strobe lights, but they are still handy and come in various colors. Glow sticks are non-toxic, generate no heat, and are entirely safe for emergency use.
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