Fire Fighting Tools and Information for Preppers

fire fighting

From left to right a Pulaski, A McLeod, a shovel and a grubber

The King Fire continues to burn and people are losing homes not to many miles from where I live.  This has me thinking about what information I can give you, to help prevent you from being a fire victim. There are a few basic things that you need to understand about wildland fires in order to save your home.

When they become large, they give off burning embers that are carried on the wind.  On some fires, these have started small fires as far as 3 miles ahead of the main fire.

As the fire gets closer to your home regardless of the firebreak you have around it, it will probably be bombarded with hot burning embers.  These are often what burns your home down.  They will find the leaves you didn’t clean out of your rain gutters, the woodpile you stacked against the house or the other debris you left out.  Don’t forget about the hay to feed your animals.  Have a good fire resistant composition roof and keep your house well maintained on the exterior.  All of these can help minimize your chances of burning.

fire fighting

An Indian back pump

Having a few fire fighting tools  will help to extinguish these spot fires.  Tools such as a good shovel, a McLeod, Grubber, Pulaski and a chainsaw will help you to put out small fires and enlarge firebreaks.  A five-gallon Indian back pump in my estimation will be one of your most important tools.  It is amazing how many small fires you can put out with one and there are easy to refill with water.  You can even refill them from a stream or pond.  Here is a link to a previous post I wrote on them.  Indian Back Pumps a Simple Solution for Fire Suppression 

fire fighting

Protective Gear

If possible get a full set of OSHA approved fire  protective gear, I have found turnouts in garage sales and flea markets.  These should include gloves and a good pair of boots.  I also recommend that you keep fire shelters with you in case you get into a dangerous position and become trapped.  Fire Shelters can Save Your Life

If you live in a wildland area, think about joining your local volunteer fire department.  This contributes to the community and gets you some good training.  Learn all you can about fire fighting if you intend to try and save your home.  Fires can kill you.



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8 Responses to Fire Fighting Tools and Information for Preppers

  1. Rev. Robert Dodaro, O.S.A. says:

    Feeble Article Howard

  2. Roger the Dodger says:

    I am curious what does a Rev know about fire fighting in Northern California. Rev. Robert Dodaro, O.S.A is a theologian from the Vatican. As a former fire fighter I can tell you that the information is correct and useful

  3. TimV says:

    Howard, here are a few questions which your experienced opinion would be appreciated:

    * As for forestry tools, what do you think of using a “garden weasel”, where the tines chop up the soil on a small scale? There is a Wranglerstar video showing people using the solid tined tools on a smoldering fire line, and it looked like the burning ground/soil was just being pushed around, still burning. If the tool chops up the ground without necessarily moving the soil around, would that be more effective?

    * If using 3-point tractor implements to make a fire break, do you have suggestions for what kind of break will work for what kind or intensity of fire? I have put out a slowly advancing fire line in low brush with a bush hog. The chopped up brush swirling inside the cutter acted like a giant broom and put it out. How effective would a disk harrow or turning plow be at creating a break, and what do you think it would stop? One could go through an area fairly quickly with a disk harrow if time was an issue, but not so much with a plow unless you were well in advance of the fire.

    Thank you for providing more food for thought.

    • Admin says:

      I don’t think the garden weasel would be very effective, I think a McLeod or grubber would be just as good.

      A harrow or turning plow can be very effective against low burning grass fires. They would not be effective in heavy brush or fires that are tree topping. To create a good firebreak I would want to make several passes to get it as wide as possible.

      The question of what it would stop is hard to answer without knowing what the winds are like. But both the harrow and turning plow can be very effective, just make the biggest break you can and then have someone in position to watch for spot fires caused by wind driven embers.

  4. paul . says:

    darned good info, as usuall .i have most of the listed hand tools & a smaller water pump (2.5 gal tank) . would it be possible to show how each hand tool is employed in a given situation; ? the pump and protective nomex (i think) shirt are self explanatory anyway very good, timely post . thank you. and .’specially not.feeble .

  5. Jean says:

    It’s a good list of fire tools. And like any tool, it needs some skill (and strength) to use them. If you live in a wildland fire area, then becoming informed is crucial for preparedness and survival. For northern California the “Unofficial Wildfire Preparedness and Evacuation Guide” explains how to create a good family evacuation plan as well as property preparedness: It can easily be adapted for your own location.

    The 2014 fire season was catastrophic. Fires moved faster and grew larger than anyone had ever seen. Evacuation saved lives. Excellent fire fighting by trained professionals saved many, many homes. If you do not have some experience in fighting fire, you become a liability not an asset if you refuse to evacuate. Do not put your family at risk. Have a good plan!

    Prepare your property to withstand fire, and if fire threatens and you are advised to evacuate then do so. Get some training with your local volunteer fire company, or CERT. Situational awareness takes on a whole new meaning in fire country. Be Firesafe!

  6. ken says:

    The important thing to remember about control of wildfires is perimeter control. The idea is to remove flammable material ahead of the flames by scraping a line to mineral soil. Too often, people try to snuff the flames either with hand tools or equipment and the result spreads the fire. I have noticed professional fire crews often carrying new improved versions of the traditional fire tools. These are often found on ebay by a seller in n. calif. He sells these “seconds” with minor imperfections at reduced prices. Probably all sold out at the moment due to demand.

  7. kens says:

    I have been helping relatives prepare for fire season by mowing their fields. It is important to be cautious when mowing dry vegetation as sparking mower blades can quickly start a fire. That is why it is advisable to mow in the morning hours when humidity is higher. I try to mow in irregular patterns so if a fire starts it will only be able to burn a small patch of standing grass and I may have time to cut additional fire breaks ton confine the fire. I also purchased a low priced backpack sprayer to have filled with water nearby. By removing the circular restrictor in the nozzle I found it to produce an adequate stream for firefighting.

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