A ferrocerium rod, otherwise known as a ferro rod, is a great device to start a fire. Ferro rods, unlike a lighter or matches, do not have any moving parts to break and they last longer, making this a great tool to have for starting fires when in the great outdoors.Now when you buy and receive your ferro rod brand new, make sure to remove the black coating on it. The black coating is used as a safety precaution to prevent accidental sparks from occurring during transit. To remove this black coating, get a scraper and start scraping all around the ferro rod, until you see the shiny metallic surface which is underneath (this is the ferrocerium). For safety reasons, scrape far away from any combustible or flammable materials that you have no intention of setting on fire.
Once you have the coating removed and if you haven’t used a ferro rod before, it’s time to start practicing. One key pointer to remember is to always have a steep angle between the rod and the scraper. Another good tip would be to always keep the scraper still, while pulling the ferro rod towards you. This ensures that the sparks the ferro rod sets off fall directly on the tinder, and not just in any direction. When purchasing ferro rods, the Firesteel brand is a great choice as some models have an integrated whistle on the scraper that can be used during an emergency.
Always remember, before setting out on any adventure with your ferro rod, make sure to practice in a safe area that is away from flammable material. A bucket of water or a fire extinguisher next to you would be a great idea, just in case your “practicing”, gets a little bit out of hand.
I cannot emphasize enough the needed for practice. If you are serious about protecting yourself and your loved ones in less than ideal and “normal” circumstances, you need to practice and perfect your skills. Using a ferro rod may seem very simple and it is not hard. After you practice with it, this along with all of your other survival skills, will become an unthinking second nature, freeing your mind to consider other necessary things. So get your ferro rod and start practicing making sparks fly.