Marine flares required to be carried on most boats are rarely fired in non-emergency situations. Firing a marine safety flare is like calling "911" or pulling a fire-alarm box - it is serious business for public service agencies, especially the Coast Guard. As a result, very few people have ever fired an emergency flare. On Saturday, May 6, at Weed Beach, between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. it will be possible to fire marine flares as part of a training event, organized by the Darien Sail & Power Squadron and the Darien Advisory Commission on Coastal Waters. Permission to fire flares during this time period will be granted by the Coast Guard, and safety briefings and training will be presented by members of the Darien Squadron. Emergency flares are useful to let a rescue party know where the boat is actually located. Even though radios are used to report problems, rescue crews need to know just where the boat really is located, in the dark, or along unfamiliar shores. If no radio is on board, the flare serves to let other boaters or people on shore know that there is a problem of a boat sinking or that someone is severely injured and needs assistance. The Darien Advisory Commission on Coastal Waters and the Darien Sail & Power Squadron sponsored a "flare up" event three years ago at Weed Beach. Since most flares contain expiration dates of three years, the flare up event presents an opportunity to dispose of older flares. Members of Darien's EMS Post 53 will conduct hands-on training in the new "Hands for Life" program. This new 15-minute program will be offered to all participants in the flare up. Instruction on the use of fire extinguishers will also be given by the Darien Fire Marshal, and there will be an opportunity to use fire extinguishers on a real oil and gas fire. Boaters are invited to bring flares and fire extinguishers to Weed Beach during the time of this exercise, so that they might use this important emergency equipment. The Squadron is presenting its final boating course of the year, beginning May 1, at Darien's Middlesex Middle School. All of the coastal cruising sills such as radio, charts, anchoring, and basic plotting will be covered in that course. Registrations for this Coastal Boating Competence Course may be made on-line at www.dsps.darien.org For more information, contact the Squadron at 203-656-1129 or email@example.com). Owners of expired flares who are not able to attend the event should also contact the Squadron to arrange to donate flares for use in this training exercises.