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Survival Skills

7 Clever Ways To Start a Fire With a Battery

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Fire is one of mankind’s most fundamental technologies, and is useful or mandatory in all kinds of survival scenarios. Light, heat, cooking, signaling: fire can do a lot for you.

starting a fire with a battery collage

Naturally, you’ll need to have the know-how and tools to start a fire, and lacking either you could be in for a bad time.

Luckily, clever survivors can get a fire going with common batteries and little else.

Starting a fire with batteries is an often overlooked method that is surprisingly simple and does not require any special tools or specialized materials.

In this article, we’ll show you several methods to start a fire with just batteries and some common household items or even scavenged trash.

How Do We Use Batteries to Start a Fire?

Batteries can be used to start a fire thanks to the simple principles of electricity. Batteries can be combined with other materials to generate a spark that can in turn ignite a fire, or else make another material hot enough to set fire to tinder.

No matter the method, all are accomplished similarly: touching the positive and negative poles of the battery with some kind of conductor.

By doing so you will create sparks or the conductor will get really, really hot. It depends on the type of conductor you are using, but rest assured either works.

Whichever method you choose or are forced to use from the list below, just ensure there is flammable material present or else it you’ll be wasting time and resources.

Any of these methods will drain batteries very quickly, and can damage them. You’ll want to have your kindling set and tinder in position so you can act quickly.

That’s all there is to it…

Now, let’s get on to the techniques.

Starting a Fire with a AA / AAA Battery and Steel Wool

This is one of the most basic battery fire-starting techniques, and also one of the most adaptable.

To execute, all you need is a common AA or AAA battery and some steel wool. Note that while any steel wool will work, finer is better, so try to snag some 000 or 0000 (best) for the task.

Get your tinder and kindling set, then do the following:

  1. Roll steel wool loosely into puffy rope shape, long enough to reach both ends of battery.
  2. Press and hold one end of steel wool rope to positive terminal of battery.
  3. Get close to tinder.
  4. Press other end of steel wool rope to negative terminal of battery. Middle of rope should get hot and glow.
  5. Gently move embers of steel wool into tinder until ignition.

And that’s it. The steel wool will heat up and the sparks it generates from the battery should be more than enough to ignite even stubborn tinder.

starting a fire with a 9V battery and steel wool
starting a fire with a 9V battery and steel wool

Starting a Fire with a 9 Volt Battery and Steel Wool

This variation of the above technique uses the same materials and principles, but a 9V battery makes for a slightly different execution and it is notably more spectacular.

Once more, make sure your tinder and wood are set, then do the following:

  1. Hold battery in one hand, terminals up.
  2. Mash steel wool into compact but loose wad. Hold in other hand.
  3. Position battery near tinder.
  4. Brush or stroke steel wool bundle across terminals. Shower of sparks should appear.
  5. Repeat, aiming sparks at tinder until ignition.

A little more going on in this version of the technique, but it is reliable. The sparks produced from the 9V battery are typically more plentiful than those from an AA/AAA and should light your kindling in short order.

Starting a Fire with a Battery and a Wire

A great direct method for lighting your fire, and one that affords you more control over the process compared to steel wool. A common piece of copper wire that is long enough to reach both terminals of your battery is all that is required.

starting fire with a 9V battery and metal wire
starting fire with a 9V battery and metal wire

You know the drill by now- set your wood and your tinder, then proceed:

  1. If wire has insulation, strip both ends and length in the middle section.
  2. If wire is very long, fold in half and make loop or coil in middle where insulation was cut away.
  3. Bend wire into shape were both ends will easily make and maintain contact with terminals.
  4. Hold battery in one hand. Holding wire in other hand (by insulation, if present) press ends into terminals. Warning: Wire will get very hot. Use gloves if available or something else non-flammable to protect hands.
  5. Press center of wire to tinder. Hold until fire ignites.

This method won’t give you the instant gratification of a shower of hot embers and sparks like steel wool, but this is because almost any kind of wire is much thicker than the superfine strands of the wool, so it takes longer to heat up.

Starting a Fire with a 9V Battery and a Light Bulb

With a little care and caution, it is possible to use a traditional incandescent light bulb in conjunction with a battery to quickly start a fire.

This method is notable because it works very reliably, but it is also a bit risky since you need to delicately break and expose the filament within the bulb.

small light bulb next to a 9V battery
small light bulb next to a 9V battery

Build your initial fire, set your tinder, and do the following:

1. Gather battery and bulb. If battery is not 9V, obtain piece of wire long enough to span terminals of battery.

2. Carefully remove glass from light bulb. First, wiggle bulb to see if globe is loose. Remove manually if possible. If not, cover globe with cloth and gently break away glass with hard object. Wear gloves. Caution: Do not damage filament inside bulb or technique will fail!

broken light bulb on napkin next to meat tenderiser
broken light bulb on napkin next to meat tenderiser

3. Span terminals with wire, if needed, and then touch terminals/wire to contact point on bottom of bulb. Filament will quickly turn red hot.

flame coming from light bulb after connection to battery
flame coming from light bulb after connection to battery

4. Gently place glowing filament on tinder. Tinder should ignite easily.

5. Withdraw bulb and separate battery. Remove wire from battery if used.

The tungsten filament in your average, old-style light bulb will easily ignite any tinder when it is glowing red hot, but to take advantage of it you’ll need to risk breaking it by exposing it.

This is one method that is definitely worth practicing.

Use a Battery and Aluminum Foil (Gum Wrapper)

This is a great technique that is fast, effective, and repeatable, but one that requires finesse.

Like all the other methods on this list, it works reliably and needs very little in the way of resources. All you need here is a piece of aluminum foil or a foil gum wrapper.

Setup your firewood and tinder, then read on:

1. Make sure foil can reach both terminals on battery.

2. Fold foil in half lengthwise.

gum wrapper with thin connection carved in the middle
gum wrapper with thin connection carved in the middle

3. Cut or carefully tear a semi-circle shape out of middle of foil, leaving only a thin connection in middle (appx. 1/8″). This is important to ensure foil can heat up enough to ignite tinder. If it helps, imagine the foil looking like a bridge when viewed from the side.

4. Hold battery with one end of foil on positive terminal.

5. Move battery close to tinder.

6. Using other hand, press free end of foil to negative terminal. Warning: Foil will heat up extremely quickly in middle.

fire started with gum wrapper
fire started with gum wrapper

7. Watch for ignition.

One notable drawback of this method is that it might burn itself out if you make the middle of the foil too thin. If that happens, make a new piece and cut it the same way, only leave a little more material.

using smartphone battery and aluminum foil to start a flame
using smartphone battery and aluminum foil to start a flame

Using a Cell phone Battery to Start a Fire

You can use a cell phone or other mobile device battery for any of the techniques shared above with just a little modification to the procedures. There are a few things you must keep in mind, though:

  • Cell phone batteries might have the terminals close together, like most removable types, or on opposite or adjacent edges of the battery, as is more common with non-removable types.
  • Warning: Lithium-ion batteries are extremely energetic and high output. Be prepared for plentiful, intense sparks and lots of heat.
  • Damaged lithium-ion batteries might ignite or explode. Use extreme caution if salvaging or attempting to modify a battery from damaged equipment.

Other than that, they work just like the AA/AAA and 9V batteries described above…

Starting a Fire with a 9 Volt Battery and a Paperclip

A slightly trickier method of employing a 9V battery. The reason I say this is that it might take a while to get a fire started, and it might not even work at all.

The metal the paperclip is made of is not a good conductor, so it might not get very hot.

To use this method, you’ll just need a paper clip or any other short piece of wire. Note that if you are using a paperclip, make sure it does not have any plastic or rubber coating on it.

Look closely, and if needed, you can strip it, or use a different wire. Once your kindling and tinder are set, proceed:

  1. Unfold the paperclip into one end of long straight piece of wire with a small loop at one end. Fold small leg into opposite end. This end should be wide enough to span one terminal.
  2. Fold paper clip in half at middle into “V” shape. Both ends should be pointing roughly at terminals.
  3. Hook looped end around positive terminal of battery. Use caution that it does not jump gap to other terminal.
  4. Position battery near tinder. Free end of paperclip should be close to opposite terminal.
  5. Holding battery, gently press middle “point” of wire into tinder, which should press free end into terminal, completing circuit.
  6. Paperclip will become very hot, igniting tinder.
  7. When lit, withdraw battery and carefully remove paperclip.

In a way, this method offers a bit more control and convenience since you can easily control it with only one hand, and it will get damn hot, fast. On the other hand, it is fiddlier to set up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does It Matter If the Batteries are Used or Old?

Yes. Batteries only work to start a fire when they contain a charge.

Dead or nearly dead batteries means they won’t have enough juice to create sparks or to make your conductor screaming hot and able to get your fire going.

For clarity, it does not matter if your batteries have been used or are brand-new from the package so long as they have plenty of power left in them.

Can Batteries Explode or Be Damaged Using Them to Light a Fire?

Possible, but unlikely. Typically only explode when overcharged or when a spark is created near them if they are releasing hydrogen gas.

Lithium batteries can explode, as described above, but typically only when damaged or short-circuited.

Can I Use Batteries Normally After Starting a Fire with Them?

Yes, assuming they have a charge left. Any of the techniques described above will rapidly drain batteries of their power, so keep that in mind.

starting a fire with a battery pinterest

Source link: https://www.survivalsullivan.com/starting-a-fire-with-a-battery/ by Tom Marlowe at www.survivalsullivan.com

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Now More Than Ever: You Need a Fallout Shelter

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In today’s increasingly uncertain world, the threat of nuclear war looms larger than it has in decades. Escalating tensions globally, particularly in regions like Israel and Ukraine, have heightened concerns about the potential for catastrophic conflict. As families seek to prepare for worst-case scenarios, building a fallout shelter in your basement can provide a crucial layer of protection. This guide will walk you through the steps to create a safe and effective fallout shelter in your home, ensuring that you and your loved ones are prepared for any eventuality.

Why Build a Fallout Shelter?

The primary purpose of a fallout shelter is to protect you and your family from the immediate dangers of a nuclear explosion and the subsequent radioactive fallout. A well-constructed shelter can significantly reduce your exposure to radiation, provide a safe space for survival, and give you peace of mind during these tumultuous times.

Assessing Your Basement

Before you start building your fallout shelter, you need to evaluate your basement to determine its suitability for conversion. Here are the key factors to consider:

Structural Integrity

Ensure your basement is structurally sound and free of leaks. Cracks in the foundation or walls can compromise the shelter’s integrity and allow radiation to penetrate.

Space Availability

Choose a location within your basement that offers enough space for your family and essential supplies. A minimum of 10 square feet per person is recommended for comfort and survival needs.

Accessibility

Ensure that the chosen area is easily accessible and can be quickly reached in an emergency. The entrance should also be securable to protect against external threats.

Designing Your Shelter

Radiation Shielding

The key to effective fallout protection is adequate shielding. Materials such as concrete, bricks, and earth are excellent for blocking radiation. Aim for walls that are at least 12 inches thick with concrete or 24 inches thick with packed earth.

Ventilation

Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent suffocation and ensure a fresh air supply. Install an air filtration system capable of removing radioactive particles. Consider manual ventilation options in case of power outages.

Water and Food Supply

Stock your shelter with a sufficient supply of water and non-perishable food. Aim for a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day and a two-week supply of food. Include a water filtration system for long-term sustainability.

Sanitation

Prepare for sanitation needs by including portable toilets, waste bags, and sanitation chemicals. Proper waste management is crucial to prevent disease and maintain hygiene.

Emergency Supplies

Equip your shelter with essential emergency supplies, including:

  • First aid kits
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Radios (preferably hand-cranked or battery-powered)
  • Blankets and warm clothing
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Tools for emergency repairs
  • Building the Shelter

Wall Construction

Begin by constructing the walls using your chosen materials. Concrete blocks are highly effective and can be reinforced with rebar for added strength. Ensure the walls are thick enough to provide adequate radiation shielding.

Ceiling and Floor

The ceiling should be as heavily shielded as the walls. If your basement ceiling isn’t suitable, add a layer of concrete or earth above it. The floor should be solid and free from cracks; consider adding a layer of protective material if necessary.

Entrance Protection

Install a sturdy, sealed door that can withstand blasts and radiation. Metal doors with rubber gaskets are effective. Ensure the door can be securely locked from the inside.

Ventilation System

Install your ventilation system, ensuring it can filter out radioactive particles. Include manual ventilation options, such as hand-cranked fans, in case of power failure.

Interior Setup

Arrange the interior for maximum comfort and efficiency. Place cots or sleeping mats along the walls, leaving the central area free for movement. Store supplies in an organized manner to make them easily accessible.

Testing and Maintenance

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect your shelter for any signs of damage or wear. Check the integrity of the walls, ceiling, and floor, and ensure the ventilation system is functioning correctly.

Supply Rotation

Periodically rotate your food and water supplies to ensure they remain fresh and usable. Replace expired items promptly.

Emergency Drills

Conduct regular emergency drills with your family to ensure everyone knows how to quickly and safely access the shelter.

Building a fallout shelter in your basement is a proactive step towards ensuring your family’s safety in the face of nuclear threats. By carefully assessing your space, designing for maximum protection, and maintaining your shelter, you can create a secure environment to weather any storm. In these uncertain times, being prepared is not just a precaution; it’s a necessity.

Do you have any tips on building a fallout shelter in your basement? Leave them in the comments below. 

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Survival Skills

3 Practical Ways To Tie a Shemagh

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One of the most iconic pieces of headwear in the world, and one that is instantly recognizable, is the shemagh. Basically a giant bandana, this staple of Middle Eastern tradition has become a fashionable accessory elsewhere in the world and an indispensable part of a warfighter’s kit in arid, desert climates.

tying a shemag featured

They work wonderfully for keeping the sun off your head, face, and neck and sand out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. But compared to a bandana, it’s a lot more involved in tying on a shemagh, though you can learn easily enough thanks to our step-by-step guide.

Below you’ll find three proven ways for tying a shemagh, each suitable for different purposes and preferences. Let’s get right into it!

Military Style

The first method is the so-called military style, greatly preferred by military forces, as you might imagine, because it’s quicker and easier to don hastily when protection is needed.

This is a great one to start with since it is so similar to tying a bandana on, something you might already be used to…

military-style tied shemagh
wearing a shemag tied military-style

Step 1: Fold the shemagh in half. Holding the shemagh lengthwise, bring one corner to another to make a triangle with the corner hanging down in front of you. Being rectangular, it won’t be perfectly symmetrical, and that’s okay.

shemagh folded in half

Step 2: Place over the head. Pick out a spot that is about 3/4 of the way down the folded edge. Place this point in the middle of your forehead with the corners behind you.

If you are right-handed, the short end should be on the left side of your head. Keep hold of the folded edge the entire time. See picture for reference:

shemagh over head

Step 3: Bring the short end under the chin. Grab the corner at the short end along the folded edge. Wrap snugly directly under your chin, and bring it up along the right side of your face, pointing upward.

bringing shorter end under chin

Step 4: Wrap the long end around the front of the face. Keeping everything taut, take hold of the short end with your right hand now. Hold it in place, then use your left hand to bring the long end around in front of your face, covering your nose.

wrapping long end over face

Step 5: Continue wrapping the long end. Go all the way around behind your head until the corner overlaps the short end you are still holding on to.

Step 6: Tie. Make sure everything is snug enough, then tie both corners together with a pair of overhand knots.

tying shemagh

Step 7: Adjust. Make sure the shemagh is secure over your nose, under your chin, and across the top of your head and forehead. Undo the knot and retie it if necessary to make adjustments.

Step 8: Finished! You’re ready to face the wild.

With just a little bit of practice, the military-style shemagh wrap goes on very quickly. It’s my favorite method for getting protection in a hurry.

Bedouin Style

The Bedouin style wrap is slightly more involved, but more compact and very quick to take off when required. It also allows you to uncover your mouth if you want without untying the entire shemagh…

bedouin-style wrap bandana
wearing a shemag tied bedouin-style

Step 1: Fold the shemagh in half. Holding the fabric lengthwise, bring two opposite corners together. Again, it won’t be perfectly symmetrical, and that’s okay.

folding shemagh in half bedouin

Step 2: Lay the shemagh on the head. Place the middle of the fold on your forehead with the corner pointing backwards behind you.

placing shemagh over head

Step 3: Fold the bottom edge up, criscross ends. Fold about two or two and a half inches of material upward, then cross the two loose corners around the back of your head (without tying them):

crossing the two ends

Step 4: Wrap the first side. Gather one side of the material and wrap it around your head, staying above your eyes.

grabbing first end

wrapping first end around forehead

Step 5: Tuck first side. After completing one complete wrap, tuck the end into the fold you made earlier to secure it.

tucking first end behind head

Step 6: Wrap the second side. Now gather the remaining material from the other side:

bringing second end to front

…and bring it around covering your nose and mouth:

wrapping around second end

Step 7. securing second side behind head

After covering the front of your face, bring it back up, pull it snug, and then secure the end into the fold you made previously, as you did with the first wrap.

securing second side

Step 7: Adjust. Take a moment to make sure everything is snug and secure. If you can’t secure the ends of the fabric, simply start over, make the initial fold, and keep everything tight and taut as you wrap. If you keep it tight, it will secure the ends when you tuck them in.

Step 8: Done! You are ready to go. If you want to uncover your mouth, you can simply loosen it up and pull it free where you tucked it, and it can hang down without undoing the entire shemagh.

This method isn’t as intuitive as the military one we looked at first, but again with just a couple of repetitions, you’ll soon be able to put it on in just a couple of seconds, and then you can cover and uncover your mouth and nose as needed.

Traditional Style

The traditional style of tying a shemagh is super quick and easy, though it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

traditional shemagh wrap
wearing a shemag tied traditional-style

If you don’t get the tension and placement right the first time, you’ll have to undo the whole thing to adjust it, and unlike the Bedouin style, you cannot just uncover your mouth if you want to. Nonetheless, it is a good method to know…

Step 1: Fold the shemagh in half. Holding it lengthwise, bring two opposite corners together. Just a reminder, it won’t be even and perfect, but that’s okay.

folded shemagh

Step 2: Drape the shemagh over the top of your head. The corners hanging down in front of you. See picture:

shemagh over head

Step 3: Bring the left side tightly under the chin. With your left hand, grab the right side hanging down in front of you, bunch it up, and then bring it under your chin tightly and up along the left side of your head.

bring left side under chin

Step 4: Wrap the right side in front. Now with your right hand, grab the left corner, lift it up so it is even with your nose, and then bring it across in front of your face.

Make sure you are still holding the right side you brought under your chin tightly so that everything stays snug; otherwise, it won’t hold.

wrapping right side

Step 5: Bring both ends behind the head. Holding on to both ends still, continue on and bring them both behind your head, tying them off with two overhand knots to secure them.

tie both ends

Step 6: Check and adjust. Make sure the fabric up front covering your nose is secure, but not mashing it flat; otherwise, you won’t be able to stand it for long. If it’s too tight or not tight enough, start over at the point where you have the fabric hanging down in front of you.

Step 7: Done! After you get the tension just right, you’ll be all set.

The traditional method is deceptively simple. You’ve got to get the tension just right for it to be comfortable and also stay secure, and it takes a couple of tries before you nail it.

But once you do, it’ll be just like tying your shoes: you’ll be able to do it without thinking about it and get it perfect every time.

tying a shemagh pinterest

Source link: https://www.survivalsullivan.com/how-to-tie-a-shemagh/ by Tom Marlowe at www.survivalsullivan.com

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Unveiling the Versatility of Wool Blankets in Survival Situations

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In the realm of survivalism, preparedness is paramount. The ability to adapt and thrive in challenging environments hinges on the possession of essential tools, among which wool blankets stand out as indispensable. Renowned for their warmth-retaining properties and multifunctionality, wool blankets are not just for keeping cozy; they serve as versatile assets in various survival scenarios. This guide delves into the history, composition, and myriad applications of wool blankets, shedding light on their enduring relevance in the wilderness.

A Brief History of the Wool Blanket

The lineage of wool blankets traces back through centuries of human history, evolving from rudimentary coverings fashioned from animal skins and woven reeds to the finely crafted blankets we know today. Originating in the 14th century, the modern wool blanket owes its name not to serendipity but to the Flemish weaver Thomas Blanket, whose innovation revolutionized bedding. 

Embraced by cultures worldwide, wool blankets found favor in the North American fur trade, where they became essential attire for enduring harsh winters. From military campaigns to civilian households, wool blankets became synonymous with warmth, durability, and utility, earning their place as quintessential survival gear.

What Is a Wool Blanket Made From?

At the heart of every wool blanket lies a testament to nature’s ingenuity: wool, harvested from a diverse array of animals including sheep, goats, and alpacas. The process begins with shearing, wherein wool-bearing animals undergo gentle grooming to procure their fleece. Subsequent steps involve cleaning, sorting, carding, spinning, and weaving, culminating in the production of resilient woolen textiles. Boasting microbial, moisture-wicking, and temperature-regulating properties, wool blankets epitomize the marriage of functionality and sustainability. With variations such as merino, cashmere, and alpaca wool, each blanket offers a unique blend of comfort and performance tailored to diverse needs.

Why Choose Wool Blankets for Survival?

Wool blankets emerge as quintessential companions for survivalists seeking reliable protection against the elements. Their inherent qualities render them indispensable in adverse conditions:

  • Temperature Regulation: Wool’s natural insulating properties, bolstered by a layer of keratin, facilitate optimal thermoregulation, keeping users warm in cold climates without causing overheating.
  • Water and Fire Resistance: Highly absorbent yet flame-retardant, wool blankets offer unparalleled protection against moisture and fire hazards, making them invaluable assets in unpredictable environments.
  • Environmental Friendliness: Sourced from renewable materials and biodegradable in nature, wool blankets epitomize eco-consciousness, ensuring minimal environmental impact throughout their lifecycle.

Best Survival Uses for a Wool Blanket

The versatility of wool blankets transcends mere warmth, extending to a myriad of survival applications:

  • Sleeping Bag: Folded and secured, a wool blanket transforms into an improvised sleeping bag, providing essential insulation and comfort during cold nights.
  • Poncho or Coat: Fashioned into a poncho or coat, a wool blanket offers on-the-go warmth and protection, guarding against hypothermia and inclement weather.
  • Insulated Seat or Pillow: Folded or rolled, a wool blanket serves as a cushioned seat or pillow, enhancing comfort and warmth during outdoor activities and rest breaks.
  • Traveling Pack: Wrapped around gear, a wool blanket doubles as a makeshift pack, safeguarding belongings and optimizing portability in transit.
  • Shielded Temporary Shelter: Deployed as a windbreak or overhead shelter, a wool blanket fortifies makeshift shelters, enhancing thermal insulation and weather resistance.
  • Emergency Signal Panel: With its conspicuous coloration, a wool blanket can serve as a signaling device, enhancing visibility and facilitating rescue efforts in emergency situations.
  • Protection for Firewood: Enveloping firewood bundles, a wool blanket shields against moisture, ensuring dry, readily combustible fuel for maintaining fires in adverse conditions.

In the tapestry of survival gear, wool blankets stand as enduring symbols of resilience and resourcefulness. From their humble origins to their modern-day applications, wool blankets epitomize the marriage of tradition and innovation, offering unparalleled warmth, durability, and versatility in the wilderness. 

As stalwart companions on the path to self-reliance, wool blankets empower adventurers to brave the elements, adapt to adversity, and emerge triumphant in the face of uncertainty. With their timeless appeal and unmatched utility, wool blankets remain steadfast allies in the pursuit of survival, beckoning explorers to embrace their warmth and embrace the wild with confidence.

Will you be stocking up on wool blankets? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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