Category Archives: Emergency Fire Starter

Live Fire Gear Products Featured in American Pioneer Magazine

American Survival Guide presents American Pioneer Magazine!

Check out the Premier Issue / May 2018 for a great article featuring our 550 FireCord.  Available on stands now!  Check out our other great products, Ring O Fire, Live Fire Survival Kit and Live Fire Sport Duo.  You can also purchase a copy of American Pioneer at Engaged Media.


How To Make an Emergency Signal Fire

Each year, millions flock to the outdoors for wilderness excursions like hiking, fishing, and camping. And while most outings go off without a hitch, trouble can strike quickly and unexpectedly. Vehicles break down, maps/compasses get misplaced and damaged, and hikers wander too far from trails and signposts. An ordinary situation quickly becomes an emergency, and it happens all too often. Just ask busy forest rangers.

So if you’re one of the unlucky ones who finds themselves stranded, lost, or incapacitated outdoors, you’ll need a way to alert rescuers to your precise location. Shotguns, flares, and whistles will do the trick if others are close by, but the smoke from a signal fire covers far more distance and can be seen from the air.

Read on to learn how to build a proper signal fire, as one  could be the difference between imminent rescue and certain disaster.

Choose The Right Location

Ideally, you’ll want to build your signal fire on an elevation, such as a hilltop, peak, or ridge. But if you can’t reach elevation, a flat clearing should suffice. Next, clear a three foot radius of ground area so that it’s free of combustible branches, twigs, and leaves. The last thing you want is your fire accidently spreading beyond your control, making an already urgent situation worse. If it’s impossible to clear your area of combustible debris, at least line the area with rocks and stones to contain the fire.

Gather the Necessary Materials

All fires need three elements: heat, burning materials and air. First, gather the burning materials, beginning with tinder, which is the easiest to ignite. Dry grass, pine needles, paper scraps, cotton, wood shavings, and even an old bird’s nest makes good tinder. Then look for kindling, such as small sticks and branches. Finally, collect your slow-burning, long-lasting fuel in the form of full-sized branches and logs. The dryer, the better.

Additionally, once your fire is ablaze, you’ll want to add materials that create thick or dark plumes of highly visible smoke. Living, leafy, and wet branches, rubber, peat moss, and oil work great here, so gather those as well.

Arrange The Gathered Materials

Layer your materials in a pyramid shape, with the tinder on bottom, followed by the kindling, then the fuel on top. You may need to use tree branches or sticks to create a makeshift rack, to separate the burning materials and allow air to flow through unobstructed.

Light the Fire

Once the materials are in place, it’s time to light the fire. You can generate the necessary spark with a variety of implements, including:

  • Ordinary matches
  • Cigarette lighters
  • Flint and steel strikes
  • Torch lighters
  • Magnifying glass or prescription glasses
  • Flares
  • Fire Starter Tools

If you happen to be without any of these essential wilderness items, forcefully and rapidly scrape a rock with an axe or knife to generate a spark for igniting the tinder. Also, protect the initial sparks by blocking any incoming wind. Once the flames grow and the fuel is ignited, your fire should last a long while.

Apply the Smoke-Producing Materials

Depending on your situation, you may either want a continuous signal fire, or a just a quick one when you think rescuers are close by but you need to conserve materials. Either way, apply your wet leaves, living branches, and rubber when ready. The thick plume of smoke will rise above thick forest canopies, and will be visible for miles.

Don’t forget to fully extinguish your signal fire when rescuers arrive or you depart your location. This where the aforementioned rock barrier will come in handy, as it will block any smoldering embers you missed. The last thing you want is a raging forest fire resulting from your attempt to get to safety.

For more information on how to start an emergency signal fire as well as our emergency fire starter selection that is designed for these situations, please contact at (866) 506-7053.

How to Build an Emergency Survival Kit

Many folks out there simply don’t believe survival kits are all that essential. Even as they watch disaster after disaster play out on TV and in the news, they assure themselves, “Oh, that would never happen here.”

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth, as a bona fide survival situation can spring up literally anywhere, at any time. Consider the following emergency scenarios:

  • Power grid failure
  • Snow emergency / Ice storm
  • Hurricane
  • Tornado
  • Tsunami
  • Flood
  • Earthquake
  • Forest / Wildfire
  • Nuclear plant explosion
  • Chemical spill / leak
  • Disease outbreak / pandemic
  • Terrorist attack – bombs, biological attacks, etc.
  • Massive solar flare (could knock out electrical systems – not unprecedented)

So again, where exactly are you safe from a potential survival situation? Well, unless you live in a cave, the answer is nowhere. Bottom line, you need a survival kit.

Building an Emergency Survival Kit

During a survival situation, you have to consider that many of the things you usually take for granted – electricity, heat, clean running water, access to fresh food, emergency medical services, and even reliable shelter – may be totally unavailable. If your locality is fortunate, the hardship will last hours rather than days or weeks. Either way, you’ll need to be equipped with some essential supplies to provide for yourself and your family until rescued, evacuated, or the emergency ends and order is restored. To that end, here’s a list of the most basic supplies any emergency survival kit should contain:

  • Food – Non-perishable items, preferably canned or packaged foodstuffs that can be consumed with little to no additional preparation. Also consider infants and pets in regard to their unique nutritional needs.
  • Water – Running water may be cut off or contaminated. The general rule of thumb is one gallon per day, per person. If you need to evacuate, carry as much bottled water as your party can comfortably transport.
  • Fire starting tools – Fire is an absolute necessity in an emergency scenario. It can be used for so many things: cooking, heat, boiling water, sterilization, as a wild animal deterrent, and signaling. Matches and lighters will work in a pinch, but specialized fire starting tools are best in emergency situations.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries – You could even go with an LED headlight, which is brighter, consumes less power, and can be more easily propped on a surface.
  • Basic medical supplies – NSAIDs, bandages, rubbing alcohol, anti-biotic ointment, etc.
  • Prescription medication – For those who must take prescription medication at regular intervals (i.e., insulin, heart medication), there should be an extra allotment for emergencies when access to a doctor’s office / hospital is cut off.
  • Cell phones – With portable chargers and extra batteries.
  • Personal care items – Including items for sanitation purposes.
  • Multipurpose tool – The tool should have the basic multipurpose implements such as can opener, wrench, knife, pick, etc.
  • Extra cash – ATM’s, banks, and POS machines may be closed or nonfunctional, and you might need cash to obtain essential emergency goods.
  • Important documents and contact information – This will include ID’s, medication lists, deeds, insurance paperwork, passports, and emergency / relative phone numbers.
  • Maps of the locality or region – The more detailed, the better.
  • Additional clothing – Stock items that can be worn and removed in layers and are well-insulated.

Additional Tips

Remember the rule of threes: Three minutes without oxygen, three hours in extreme heat or cold, three days without water (less if in a hot climate or with increased physical activity), and three weeks without food. So be sure to set up your emergency survival kit based on these priorities.

Additionally, there are many more survival items you could stock, like garbage bags, work gloves, whistles, and water purification tablets/containers, for example. Your best bet is to evaluate your locality for its most likely disaster scenarios, and then stock your kit accordingly. Lastly, have “on the go” or “bug out” kits ready in a backpack for every able-bodied person who can carry one, in the event that you have to evacuate your location.

For more information on how to build an emergency survival kit, call at (866) 506-7053 or shop Live Fire Gear’s store for emergency fire starters, kits and more.