Blue Line


December 15, 2015  By Elvin Klassen

461 words — MR

LED flares offer a safe alternative

by Elvin Klassen

First responders rely on burning chemical flares every day to illuminate emergency situations and warn passers by of imminent danger.

Chemical flares are expensive, dangerous and use carcinogenic chemicals, according to Safety Shine Technologies of Surrey, British Columbia, which produces LED flares that are shining a light on this roadside problem. Visible from one kilometre away, they are bright, durable, work in all weather conditions and are reusable.

Owner Hector Nabrijo highlighted his product on the Nov. 25 episode of the CBC Television program Dragon’s Den. The Dragons liked his product and all agreed it has potential for emergency situations, camping and other uses but turned down the opportunity to invest $135,000 for 45 per cent of the company.

To emphasize the durability of his product, Nabrijo threw a flare on the floor in the Den. One Dragon hurled another hard at the cement floor. Both bright beacons continued to shine despite the abuse.

The electronic flares come in a choice of red, white, blue or amber and can produce either a continuous, slow or rapidly flashing light. A newly designed flare will alternately emit both a blue and red light if desired for police use.

The two D batteries in each flare will operate for 60 to 80 hours depending on the light setting. Each flare has a Fresnel lens designed to emit maximum light at angles of 15 and 10.5 degrees to get the attention of drivers and helicopter pilots. The lens reduces the amount of material required compared to a conventional lens by dividing it into a set of concentric annular sections.

Each unit also has a 3.5 cm. reflective section around the body. The switch is mounted flush with the unit body to prevent it from accidentally turning off if bumped.

Each flare comes equipped with a heavy steel-reinforced removable base that will not topple in high winds. Alternately a removable pointed base is included so that it can be inserted into the top of a traffic cone.

A kit of five LED Electronic Road Flares and two different bases in a red carry-all bag sells for about $280. This works out to about 16 cents per hour over a five year period, Nabrijo says. He compares that to the $10 to $20 each cost of conventional flares, which can only be used once.

Calgary and Vancouver police use the flares and the RCMP has bought 200 kits, says Nabrijo, who immigrated to Canada in 2002 from Columbia and notes he only had $2 in his pocket when he arrived.

George Francom appeared with Nabrijo on the Dragon’s Den. He invented the flares and looks after quality control.


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