Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us

by Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson

Lightning Strike
Originally published July 22, 2015

If you’ve been reading this column for a while then you know I always encourage everyone to carry a get-home bag. Some call it a “bug-out” bag or a “go” bag. But because disasters don’t always happen while you’re snugly at home, you should have some items, supplies and tools with you to help you function (translated: keep you alive) until you can get home. Everyone’s bag will be different. Mine includes some extra blood pressure pills, some food, something with which to purify drinking water, some clean socks and other clothing items (no need to go into intimate detail here) and something I can use to start a fire.

Depending on your travel habits, your individual bag will be custom designed by you to meet your lifestyle. There are literally hundreds of companies online that are happy to sell you a ready-made kit, but again if you’re a veteran reader, you know that I advocate building your own kit. You get to choose the items YOU will need for your particular situation AND you get to pick quality products to fill up your bag. In other words, you are invested in your own survival and there is no need to outsource that responsibility to someone who doesn’t even know you.

If you need ideas on what to put in your kit, then by all means look over the list of contents on some of the better kits, but build your own.

From time to time, I offer my opinion on a particular product you may want to consider for your kit. Every kit needs some means of alternative fire starter just because you may want to start a fire to keep warm. Imagine being out in the hills, hunting, firewood-getting, or just sightseeing and all of a sudden you slide off the road. Or a fallen tree blocks your egress. Or you find yourself behind a locked gate. Building a fire would be one of the things you’d want to do to keep warm, keep you company and maybe even heat up some food.

I recently came into possession of a “Lightning-Strike” fire starter. There are dozens of products available that use this technology. It is a variation of the old flint and steel although none of these products actually use flint anymore, rather it consists of something called ferrocerium. Commonly referred to as a ferro rod. When you grind a piece of steel against a ferro rod, a spark is produced.

The Lightning-Strike fire starter is about the size of a Mini-mag flashlight. Constructed of machined, anodized aluminum it is an ingenious design which contains dry tinder in the water-tight handle storage area and a tubular-slotted barrel which houses the ferro rod. When the steel striker grinds against the ferro rod, a spark is ejected from the end of the barrel. Because of the larger-than-average ferro rod and a larger- than-average steel striker, the spark this thing gives off is significantly bigger than any similar device I have used. And because of the “shotgun barrel” design, you can direct the spark to go where you want. Invented in Powers, Oregon, by Darrell Holland and sold from his website (www.hollandguns.com), this could be the perfect addition to your collection of necessities.

Now for the downside: It’s not cheap. The $60.00 price tag could put some folks off, but this is after all, the Christmas shopping season and if you’re looking for that perfect gift for your outdoorsman or prepper-dude (or dudette) then you can’t go wrong with the Lightning Strike. It is a quality product, easy to use and well thought-out. I’m very pleased with mine and show it off every chance I get.

As always, send your questions and comments to disasterprep.dave@gmail.com.

Note: Dave Robinson is Bandon's Postmaster and has worked for the postal service for 30 years. He has a background in law enforcement, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, worked nine years for the Coos County Sheriff's Department, and serves on the Myrtle Point School Board, where he lives. He is the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us.”

additional columns by Dave Robinson