Showing posts with label fire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fire. Show all posts

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Important Winter Survival Tips


We would all like to hope that an emergency or survival situation would only hit us when the weather is tolerable. In fact, when planning our bug out bags and gear, we aren’t usually thinking about harsh winter weather. The fact is, however, that an emergency can happen at any time and it is always best to be prepared for anything.

Winter Emergencies

A storm can knock our power out at any time, during any season. It most often happens in the spring, when windstorms are often the case. However, winter storms can do the same thing. The problems are intensified however, as there are more problems.

With any power outage, we have to be careful about food we have in freezers and having a method to cook without electricity. In the winter months, however, we have all that plus the problem of staying warm. Additionally, spring storms usually only leave us without power for a matter of hours. In the winter, snow and ice can leave us without power for days or weeks, making the situation even more dire.

Some Important Winter Emergency Tips

Here are some tips that we hope will help you, should you find yourself in an emergency situation during harsh winter temperatures. While we cannot list all the things that could possibly happen, we hope this list is at least a good start for you.



To start with, make sure you wear warm clothes. While this might sound like a no-brainer, it can often be so simple that it is often left off until it’s too late. Wearing the right clothes is even more important if you will have to be doing any traveling or work outside in the cold weather.

If you have to venture out, make sure your attire is thick and windproof, above all else. Packing extra if you have very far to go is another good idea, as you never know when or if you might become stuck or stranded. While the body is capable of withstanding some extreme circumstances, you certainly don’t want to underestimate winter’s harsh reality.

Next, you will want to make sure to wear the right kind of boots. Tennis shoes or other types of footwear might work for a short time, but if you have to be outside for such things as clearing away snow from doors and windows or splitting and carrying firewood, you will be miserable much quicker with the wrong shoes. Boots should be insulated well and rated for cold weather.



Staying dry is one of the most important things to remember if you have to be out in the weather. You can become damp or even wet if you have to do any strenuous activity that makes you sweat, or if you have to deal with melting snow and ice. In either situation, this dampness can quickly lead to hypothermia, which is a deadly situation in which to find yourself. If you find that you have become sweaty or wet, make sure to change your clothes as soon as possible. Otherwise, wrap yourself in a blanket and stay out of the direct wind as much as you can.

When Your Body Uses More Energy

In order to deal with the stress of colder temperatures, your body will use a lot more energy in order to produce heat from the inside out. Because of this, you will need to make sure that you have plenty of food to keep yourself nourished, as well as ample amounts of good, clean drinking water for proper hydration. Eating can also hasten the warming process as your body goes about the business of digestion.

In situations where you run out of water, never eat ice or unmelted snow. Doing so will only cause your internal body temperature to fall that much quicker. If you must resort to eating snow or ice, make sure to heat it, preferably to boiling to make sure it’s safe, before ingesting it.

Be Aware of Your Heart Rate

When you get cold, you may want to just sit down and stay as still as possible, but that is one of the worst things you could do. As your body temperature drops, your heart rate does as well. This is dangerous because the slower the blood flows through your veins, the slower heat is passed through the body.

A good way to deal with this situation is to do take part in some simple exercises that will get your heart pumping faster. For instance, jogging in place, swinging your arms or doing jumping jacks should get your heart pumping again. Just make sure not to exercise so hard that you start sweating because remember – you want to stay dry.

Do not Panic!

Above all, do not waste the time and energy in a state of panic. During all emergencies, a level head is one of the most precious possessions to have, and never more so than when the weather is treacherously cold. Instead of stressing, adapt to your environment. As a prepper, you should at least be somewhat aware of the precautions needed in a cold weather situation.

If you have not yet thought to learn about cold weather emergencies or survival skills, it’s never too late to start learning! Read books, blogs, guides or anything else you can get your hands on to learn as many tactics as possible to deal with an emergency in harsh winters.

You might want to learn different ways to start a fire, and different techniques on which fires work best for particular situations. An example would be, knowing the difference between starting a fire for the most heat as quickly as possible and starting a fire that will burn longer at a steady cooking temperature.




It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with first aid techniques that are needed for weather related illnesses such as frostbite or hypothermia. Not knowing how to treat these very common problems can be disastrous when they are really needed!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!

By: Sebastian Berry


DISCLAIMER: Fire is hot. As such it can burn you. It can also burn down your house. Don't be dumb and burn yourself or burn down your house. Also all pictures and video after this point are credited to the author.

Friends, in my never ending quest for survival skills and knowledge. One of my favorite things to learn and teach about is fire building. There is almost nothing more satisfying in the family survival situation than being able to produce fire. I can only imagine how cavemen felt when they were able to produce and contain fire. I'm pretty certain that if they were to see me as I build and contain fire my emotions and theirs would be pretty similar.

Of course, everyone knows about the importance of fire. The things it can be used for are numerous. Defense, heat, and cooking are my top three reasons and in that order. I won't elaborate heavily on my reasons but generally speaking a fire keeps things that go bump in the night away from you.  In the family survival scenario there is no telling what conditions or climate you may be in, making heat (along with shelter) important. Safe and warm are great things but do you little good if you are not able to prepare any food that you might have. Yes, I understand that a great many things can be eaten uncooked or raw but having a hot meal does wonders for personal comfort and mindset.

Fire needs three things in order to be fire...
  • Heat
  • Oxygen
  • Fuel
If either one of these three things is missing or taken away once a fire is established, the fire dies.

We all know there are many ways to start fire. Matches, lighters, fire strikers, magnesium bars, friction, or simply transporting a smolder from a previous location. In this post I am going to share my favorite family survival fire widget. I love wax dipped strike-anywhere matches.


In videos below you will be able to see the difference between a naked match and dipped matches. The difference in burn time is pretty drastic.
  • Single naked match burn time =   15-30 seconds
  • Single dipped match burn time=  2:30-3+ minutes
Dipping matches provides a couple of enhancements.
  • Waterproofing
  • Extra fuel
The dipping process takes a little bit of practice and a lot more patience.





I like to "soak" the matches in the wax to get a little base layer built up and let them cool. The real secret to dipping matches is to let the wax cool down to the point where it starts to solidify.


The wax as pictured above is almost too cool to dip but still worked well for me. I also have experimented with cotton and toilet paper wrapping with mixed results. I did not test the burn time on cotton wrapped and toilet paper wrapped.





You'll notice that I bundled matches together. This is what I like so much. A single dipped match provides a significantly longer burn time and burn stability as opposed to a naked match. I've found that for actual ease of making a fire, a bundle of four matches dipped together provides an enhanced profile for actually starting a fire.

Pro Tip: the wax must be completely removed down to the wood before striking
Here are the burn time videos: 
Spoiler alert: these are probably boring and you probably will hear my kids and neighbors in the background. I still think they are informative enough to show.

Single undipped match: ~20 second burn time

Single dipped match: ~3:30 burn time

4 match dipped bundle: able to build fire in less than 2 minutes

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. This next video is two parts both are about 1:30 a piece. Total burn time on this mega match was about 12:30. It was 12 matches dipped together.



A few things I didn't mention earlier. I sourced the pot and the candle wax from a local thrift store for a total cost of $2. The strike anywhere matches came in a 3 pack at a local store for just under $5. Total project cost of less than $7 and I have enough survival matches for a while.

What are your favorite ways to start a fire? Let me know in the comments.