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November 16, 2012
Survival Gear: The Orion Signal Flare/Fire Starter - 3
by Tim MacWelch
If you’re ever in a survival situation where you need to both signal for help and light a fire, Orion’s Signal Flare/Fire Starter might just be your new best friend. This versatile tool can be used to start a fire in wet or windy conditions; and it can be used to signal rescuers with a bright red light that helps them locate your position, day or night.
The flares are windproof and water resistant. No match or lighter is required to light the flare: Each one has its own ignition, which works just like a standard road flare. Pop the cap and strike it like a match at the flare’s end.
There are a few drawbacks, which do not make this flare suitable for all outdoor purposes. The flare is fully combustible and gets very hot within a few seconds after it’s lit. Because of this, it cannot be held in the hand; and it doesn’t meet the Coast Guard visual distress signal carriage requirement. But it wasn’t designed to meet that need either. This flare is meant to be set down on the ground or on some rocks in a non-flammable area. It’s also not recommended for use when wildfire or forest fire conditions are present (for obvious reasons).
These Signal Flare/Fire Starters will cost you about $10 for a pack of two flares. Each flare weighs 8 ounces, and the dimensions are about 1x6 inches. Each flare burns approximately five minutes at temperatures well over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.