The Darien Advisory Commission on Coastal Waters and the Darien Sail & Power Squadron will sponsor "Flare-Up!" to provide training and practical experience in using safety equipment.

The program will take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 3, at Weed Beach.

Flares and fire extinguishers are required on most boats, yet few boaters have the opportunity to use the equipment prior to an emergency.

"Three years ago, and three years before that, we had over 200 people visit Weed Beach during Flare-Up. These events are quite a success in terms of training and practical experience," said John McDonald, chairman of Darien Advisory Commission on Coastal Waters.

"Flares are part of the basic equipment that must be carried on a boat, but few people have actually fired them, or have seen what they look like when they go off. The way Flare-Up is set up, people can bring their old flares down to the beach and set them off in a safe environment, with training by the squadron. If people don't have their own flares, there will be some extras on hand for general use."

Frank Kemp, of the Darien Sail & Power Squadron, added, "It's a shame that the flares expire so quickly, every three years. Outdated flares are hard to dispose of, so Flare-Up meets this need while providing hands-on training. The squadron is happy to work with the town on this event, and I understand that recent graduates of the coastal boating course will be on hand, as well as members of the general public, who are encouraged to stop by."

Owners of expired flares who are not able to attend should also contact the squadron to arrange to donate them for use in the training exercise.

The Darien fire marshal will also be at Flare-Up! conducting training in the use of fire extinguishers on an oil and gas fire. Attendees will be able to put out a fire, learn how to aim and control a fire extinguisher and understand what mistakes to avoid in knocking down a home or boat fire.

Members of Darien's EMS Post 53 also will conduct hands-on training in the new "Hands for Life" program.

For information, call 203-656-1129 or email