How to Use an Emergency Fire Starter

How to Use an Emergency Fire Starter

Emergency fire starters are typically made with magnesium, and most have built-in blades or knives. Basically, you will first need to shave bits of magnesium off the fire starter with a knife onto some tinder. The flint from the fire starter is then used to create sparks, which should ignite the flammable magnesium as well as the tinder. From there, it’s your job to keep the fire going! Read further for more detailed instructions.

emergency fire starter


This emergency fire starter, for example, has a striker with one serrated edge rather than a knife. The serrated edge is used to shave off the bits of magnesium, and then the flint is struck with the other side of the striker.

How to Use an Emergency Fire Starter – Detailed Instructions

Before you even think about making your little pile of magnesium shavings, you will need to gather dry tinder and assemble it into a nice little airy pile in a location where you will want your fire to be. Your tinder could be anything from twigs to bark to fuzz from your clothing, and will be used as fuel to ignite larger pieces of burnable fuel.

When you start to shave off the bits of magnesium onto the tinder, hold the starter at an angle above the tinder. Try scraping toward you rather than away to have greater control over where the shavings land. You should create a pile that is about the size of a quarter, and it should land directly on the tinder.

Your emergency fire starter will also have a flint component. This may be on the same block as the magnesium, or it could be on a separate one. Use the blade portion of the fire starter to scrape down the flint in order to create sparks. Make sure you are once again holding the flint at an angle so that the sparks land on the flammable magnesium and tinder. Continue to strike the flint until the sparks have lit the fuel and started a flame.

From there, it is your job to nurture the flame into a fire! Protect this little flame from strong wind, but do gently blow on it to encourage the flame to spread. Slowly add more tinder, and then progressively larger bits of fuel as the fire grows.

Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit

Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit

This fire starter kit is available at REI and includes a flint-wheel ignition and 4 waxed tinder sticks to help you get a fire going. It also helpfully floats in water and has a waterproof case.

468 ad

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *