Go to any prepper website or blog, and you will find all kinds of ways to start a fire. And some of them are pretty darned creative. But you also need to be able to put a fire out in a hurry if you, or someone else, creates one that is a danger.
Fire is one of man’s oldest tools. It is also one of his oldest weapons. In considering your preps, you need to take in to consideration how to suppress an out of control fire made by yourself or someone else. An out of control fire can destroy your home with all your preps, your car, and even you. And fire extinguishers should be part of your preps. Here are just some examples of needing a fire extinguisher in a SHTF situation.
- It’s grid down and you are cooking with a flame device and something catches fire.
- It’s grid down and the wind blows over a candle or an oil lamp starting a fire.
- You are bugging out and a small fuel leak catches your engine on fire.
- You are bugging in and your angry non-prepped neighbors decide to burn you out because you won’t give them anything and you need to either suppress the fire or escape.
There are different classifications of fire extinguishers based on the type of fire they are designed to put out. The following chart shows the classifications as they apply to the United States. The UK, Europe, and other parts of the world use different classifications symbols and markings but the concepts are similar.
As you can see from the chart, there are five basic types of extinguishers. They will also come in different sizes. Some are also designed to suppress multiple types of fires. This is typically your ABC rated extinguisher. This is also the type that you would typically want in your home for general protection. They generally come in 5 or 10 pound sizes. These are filled with foam or powder and pressurized with nitrogen.
Another type of fire extinguisher that you might find useful for prepping, especially bugging out into the wilderness is the old style manual water pump style.
It will only deal with class A type combustibles (wood, cloth etc.) but the advantage is that it is easily refillable from a stream or lake.
In addition to have enough of the right type of fire extinguisher, there is some other equipment you may wish to consider.
Knowing that a fire is building is essential. Your house should be equipped with
Being able to escape an uncontrollable fire in you home is vital. Every room in your house should have at least two ways to escape. This is generally a door and a window. For houses with two or more stories, a method of rapid escape out of the window
could be a lifesaver. Having a purpose designed fire escape ladder could be very important.
One of the disadvantages of commercial fire extinguishers for long-term SHTF situation is the issue of refilling them. Except for the water pump type, these could be a case of fire and forget (excuse the pun). But having that initial ability to put out a fire could be critically important. For long-term bug in situations, you may want to consider having buckets of sand strategically located on your property.
Using Fire Extinguishers
Many people will buy fire extinguishers without really learning how to properly use them. The illustration shows the proper method of PASS. Pull the pin, Aim low at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle and Sweep from side to side.
Being able to start a fire is a basic survival technique. Knowing how to put one out can be just as important.