Police release public safety message regarding found military signal flares

Kingston Police want members of the public to be aware of the proper measures to take if military signal flares are found.

Recently, a citizen contacted police to turn in a Marine Locator Marker (MLM) that was found on the shores of Wolfe Island, according to a press release from Kingston Police.

“These devices can potentially be dangerous and cause injury if mishandled,” the release said.

The MLM devices are used by the military for search and rescue operations. The devices, which are essentially flares, are launched from air or water craft to provide day or night reference points on the water, according to the police. The MLMs contain red phosphorous, which produces white phosphorus, smoke and yellow flame when activated, and remain active for approximately 40 to 60 minutes. While the devices are designed to self-destruct and sink, they may wash ashore before that happens, the press release said.

Kingston Police are warning the public not to pick up or retain MLMs if they are found, and have released the above photo so the members of the public are able to identify the devices.

Police advise the public to do the following if an MLM or similar military pyrotechnic device is found:

  • Stay clear and mark the location with something bright or take a GPS position (e.g. with a smartphone)
  • If you have found, or have in your possession, any object that you believe to be a military pyrotechnic device or explosive, notify local police or your closest Canadian Armed Forces Base and arrangements will be made to dispose of it in a safe manner.

If someone is burned or comes in contact with phosphorus, Frontenac Paramedics advise the public to call 911 and consider the following first-aid steps:

  • Immediately immerse the burn area in water, or pour copious quantities of water over the area. Vigorous irrigation with cold water is the best way to remove white phosphorous embedded in the skin.
  • Apply a large wet dressing and ensure it is kept wet or burning will resume.
  • If phosphorous is splashed into an eye, wash with copious quantities of water and apply a wet dressing that must be kept wet and not removed.
  • The contaminated person should receive medical attention as soon as possible.

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