Being able to ignite a fire is an essential part of both everyday life and during emergencies. That’s why it is critical to have multiple methods of starting fires, all the fuel in the world doesn’t do you any good if you can’t burn it. I have matches, magnesium ingots, and sparking devices in my inventory. But there is one tool that every household should also have on-hand to start fires. Which brings us to lighters, here are the models I currently own.

Lighters

I also have a Scripto long-necked lighter but it is almost out of butane and it can’t be refilled so it won’t be in my inventory for much longer.

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I’ve made a few changes to my wood-burning fireplace over the last few weeks that will make it more efficient and effective at heating my house. While my fireplace won’t get as much use here in Arizona compared to other parts of the country, it is still a nice feature to have.

great wall of fire

Many years ago I used to scoff at the notion of having a fireplace in Arizona but over the years I have come to appreciate the wisdom of having one.

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Fire is an important tool in both recreational and disaster situations.  There are many ways to start a fire but one of the easiest is with a match.  Regular matches work fine most of the time but if conditions are wet, rainy, cold, or windy, these won’t work well.  That’s why I recommend multiple sets of stormproof matches for anybody who wishes to be better prepared. Continue reading

I am going to give two pieces of free advice regarding fire prevention this holiday season:

  1. Purchase fire extinguishers for your home (more here)
  2. Learn how to use them

Credit: City of Statesboro (GA)

There is no excuse for lacking proper fire suppression tools.  New and used fire extinguishers are relatively inexpensive and readily available.  Learning how to use one is a snap too, just use the PASS method described above.  You may also want to check with your local fire department to see if they offer any training sessions for fire extinguishers.  Many fire safety companies offer hands-on training for their clients so see if your employer can get you in this training.  Either way, familiarize yourself with operating a fire extinguisher.

Oh, and make sure you have multiple ones throughout your house!

For more information, read this article on home fire safety by the US Fire Administration.  It provides a good overview of the five types of extinguishing agents along with guidelines for using fire extinguishers.  Read it over and determine what you need to do next to become better prepared in this area.

These two items could save life and/or property in the future so acquire both today!

$230 won’t buy you much these days, but it can purchase enough fire extinguishers to protect your home and auto.

Used Fire Extinguishers

Now why would I spend this money on eight fire extinguishers?  The reason is simple, having fire extinguishers on-hand is one of the best ways to save lives in the event of a fire.  In 2012 there were over 1.3 million fires reported in the USA, which caused over 2,700 deaths, over 15,000 injuries, and over $12 billion in damage.  This is why corporations and governments take measures to prevent, fight, and mitigate fires.  You should do the same in your home.

Some newer homes have built-in sprinker systems but most domiciles don’t have any form of automatic fire suppression installed.  This means fire extinguishers will be the primary means of fighting fires in most homes.  You can read up on how to choose and use a fire extinguisher by going here, but I’ll recount my story of how I selected and purchased my fire extinguishers.

I decided that my house needed better protection than I was giving it, so I first examined the layout of my home to determine what I needed.  I wanted to have multiple fire extinguishers within easy reach so I could quickly put out a small fire before it spread.  With this in mind, I decided upon the following locations to install my newly acquired items:

  • Kitchen (most-important)
  • Garage (very important)
  • Living room
  • Dining Room
  • Master Bedroom
  • Office
  • Hallway

I also decided to get one for my car to replace the unit that was in my emergency kit.

Now, seven fire extinguishers for the house seems like a lot.  Perhaps it is but I wanted to have more than I needed since the cost-benefit ratio (not to mention the value of human life) in favor of purchasing additional is massive.  Plus the costs of the regular inspections are minor when compared to the damage even a small fire can cause.  In other words, having fire extinguishers is relatively cheap insurance.

I was able to save even more by going to my local fire protection company and asking them if they had any refurbished units for sale.  They had enough for my needs and I was able to purchase them for a fraction of the cost of new ones.  For example, the 5 lb. ABC units cost me $27 per unit used compared to around $60 new.  Plus, the ones I bought were from the Ansul Sentry line, which is commercial-grade equipment.  The bottom line is I was able to purchase 1-10 lb, 6-5lb, and 1-2lb extinguisher for $230 total.  This is less than half of what it would have cost had I went to my local big box retailer and procured similar units.

Regardless of where you buy them, having fire extinguishers are a crucial part of your preparation plan.  If you don’t have any right now or the ones you have are more than a few years old, consider getting replacement units.  Have your old fire extinguisher checked if you have one by a licensed fire protection professional, which you can find in the Yellow Pages or online.  Do it now so you won’t have to regret not doing so later.