Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Penalties for Non-Emergency Flare Use

By Karen Robes Meeks

Following a barrage of flares lit near Cannon Beach, Oregon, early New Year’s Day, the Coast Guard there is warning the public that such lighting in a non-emergency situation is illegal and may result in penalties.

“It is against the law to fire distress flares unless in an emergency situation,” said John Bennett, operations unit member at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “Flares signal that somebody is in immediate danger and needs assistance. False activation can tie up emergency resources and delay the response to genuine emergency calls.”

The warning comes as dozens of flares were fired from the shore around 2 a.m. by individuals before fleeing into the forest, according to the Coast Guard.