Last Thursday, Captain Campbell gave us a preview of the pyrotechnics demonstration that was planned for later that day. Cadets and crew members gathered on the Helo Deck in the late afternoon for this safety demonstration. Although the colors and sounds may have reminded cadets of the 4th of July, the mood was serious.
Under the supervision of a trained crew members, volunteers were invited to don protective gear and shoot off a hand flare or a rocket parachute flare.
After Captain Campbell mentioned the distress signal demonstration in his Captain's Log, we received a few questions from students asking if the pyrotechnics stored aboard the TS Kennedy are the same as the one that were used aboard the RMS Titanic in 1919. After quite a bit of research we found the answer.
According to the Titanic Historical Society, Titanic carried 36 socket flares which gave off a white light in the air. To signal distress, the flares should have been fired at one-minute intervals. The crew of Titanic fired just eight of those flares within an hour, with random intervals in between. Ships seeing the flares would not had no way to know that this was a signal for distress. The way the flares were shot off, ships in the area would have interpreted the white lights to mean, "This is my position - I am having a navigation problem - please stand clear." Since navigation problems were not seen as distress, there would have been no need to rush to her immediate aid.
Here are photos of cadets and crew members practicing with the expired pyrotechnics last week.