Flares have several uses including signaling and illumination and there are several means of launching, including handheld, rocket, and specifically designed pistols (for example, Verey pistol). The use of flares in Northern Ireland is very limited, with the security forces using them occasionally. They have in rare instances been used illegally. Analysis of two handheld types showed that the vast majority of the discharge particles were irregular with several large flakes present. Elemental analysis revealed the presence of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, sodium, titanium, zinc in one of the flares, with magnesium, sodium at major level, and aluminum, barium, chlorine, iron, potassium in the other, with aluminum, potassium, chlorine at major level. Their morphology and composition was such that they would not be confused with FDR particles.
The flares examined were the only ones used by the security forces at the time. A brief review of the literature193-195 on pyrotechnics/flares indicates that lead and antimony compounds are infrequently used and when used do not occur together. Barium compounds are frequently used, particularly in signal flares. From the literature it is apparent that residues from flares could not be confused with FDR as the elements lead, antimony, and barium would be accompanied by other elements that would clearly indicate a non-FDR source.
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