In the event of an emergency a fire can be used for (1) warmth, (2) signaling, (3) cooking, and (4) a psychological uplift. You should have at least two ways to start a fire. I highly recommend adding Fire Mini Kit to your hiking kit, bugout bag, and vehicle kits.
You need four things to start a fire:
- An Ignition source ignites the tinder. Your ignition source can be matches, lighter, sparker, bow and spindle, etc. Be sure to include at least two reliable ignition sources in each kit.
- Tinder is combustible material that ignites the kindling. Always include tinder in your kits. You can purchase commercial tinder or make your own from cotton balls or fabric, lint, candle wax, etc.
- Kindling consists of smaller fuel and is used to light the main fuel.
- Fuel consists of larger pieces of wood that provides heat and light.
Starting a Fire
Your igniter lights the tinder which then lights the larger kindling which then ignites the larger fuel. There are a number of good fire starters that are easy to pack. “Fish & Fire” paracord has inner cords that can be removed and used as tinder or emergency fishing line. Dryer lint makes an inexpensive fire starter. Just pack the lint in the small zip bags and you can usually ignite it with a single stoke of a sparker. Be sure that you have sufficient, dry kindling and main fuel before igniting the tinder. Keep some tinder in your fire kit (details on tinder).
Be sure to have a fire mini kit in each hiking kit, bugout bag, and vehicle kit. Test the matches, lighter, and sparker occasionally and replace any items that no longer function.
Stopping a Fire
Fire requires heat, oxygen, and fuel. Removing any one of those ingredients stops the fire. Different types of fire require different methods to extinguish them. For example, water can stop many fires, however, water can cause grease or oil fires to spread. Fire extinguishers can stop most types of fire and are essential to home preparedness. A fire blanket can smother small fires. These blankets work particularly well for small kitchen fires. You simply place the fire blanket over the flames to extinguish the fire. Mount the fire blanket package where you can access it quickly. It is also good practice to have a larger fire blanket in the garage or storage areas. The blankets are inexpensive and extremely effective.
Be sure to test your matches, lighters, sparkers, etc. I once purchased waterproof matches that would not light. Had I needed these in the field it could have made a bad situation much worse. These simple waterproof matches would not light at all. I also purchased a sparker that did not work. Test all of your equipment because your life could depend on it. Make sure all fire extinguishers are fully charged and ready. Replace any old or non-operating fire extinguishers.