"We don't want to spoil the fun but sometimes people are tempted to use up their out-of-date flares on Bonfire Night"

An RNLI Sea Safety Officer is reminding seafarers of the dangers of setting off unnecessary flares, as Bonfire Night approaches.

The warning comes after Poole Inshore lifeboat launched this week to a report of flares in the Wareham channel area of Dorset.

Solent Coastguard organised the search at 18.20pm on Tuesday, after

receiving a phone call from a member of the public who had

spotted distress flares.

The RNLI lifeboat volunteers, Helicopter 106 and Coastguard units scoured the

vicinity for anything untoward and a thorough search of the area ensued.

As nothing untoward was found, the lifeboat crew was stood down at

19.45pm and returned back to station.

Poole RNLI Sea Safety Officer Chris Hollaway said: ‘With Bonfire Night coming up, we would like to remind people to

refrain from setting off unnecessary flares in a coastal area, every

time the coastguard receives a 999 call to alert the emergency services

that distress flares have been sighted, the rescuers lives are put at

risk.

‘Lifeboat and helicopter crews are called out as they have to

respond to what they assume to be a genuine cry for help.

‘When a flare

goes up it is universally recognised as a distress signal, so concerned

members of the public will dial 999 when they see one and we urge them

to continue to do so.

‘Our volunteer crews are always ready to answer the

call as we will always assume that it is for real.’

Chris added: ‘We don’t want to spoil the fun but sometimes ,

people are tempted to use up their out-of-date flares on Bonfire Night,

this causes real problems for the rescue services and we would kindly

remind all seafarers that they should dispose of flares safely and

responsibly.

‘You can make a call to an authorised location on 01202

336336 and make an appointment to bring your out of date flares where

they can be securely disposed of.’