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Should Strike Anywhere Matches Be Part Of Your Prepper Supplies?

The Ohio Blue Tip Match is an extremely popular strike anywhere match brand. In fact, Ohio Blue Tip Matches are so popular that many use the Ohio Blue Tip name in place of “Strike Anywhere Matches”. (“Anywhere Matches”) Ohio Blue Tip Matches and all strike anywhere matches are extremely hard to find. And it is next to impossible to get anywhere matches via mail order. This blog post will investigate the reason why this is so. Additionally, I ask the below questions.

  • What should you know about the anywhere match?
  • The dangers of anywhere matches vs. safety matches.

In the end, I will tell you when and if you should choose anywhere matches.

Other Strike Anywhere Match Brand

As I stated, Ohio Blue Tip Matches are only one company that makes anywhere matches. There are other companies that make, or at one time made these matches, some of which are listed below.

  • Penley Strike Anywhere Matches
  • Diamond Brand-Diamond Greenlight Strike
  • UCO Strike Anywhere Matches

This article includes the Ohio Blue Tip anywhere match and all other anywhere matches.

What You Should Know About the Strike Anywhere Match

Strike anywhere matches, unlike safety matches, can be ignited on any suitable surface.* So, with these matches, you aren’t out of luck if you are missing the matchbox that has a striking surface.

*A suitable surface is any surface that is solid, dry, and rough enough to cause enough friction to ignite the match head.

Why Is the Strike Anywhere Match Popular?

Some smokers prefer the strike anywhere match for lighting up their cigars and cigarettes. However, as this blog deals with disaster preparedness, I will only address reasons why preppers like the anywhere matches. The reason why strike anywhere matches are popular for disaster prep and various emergencies is that a specialized striking strip is not necessary to light them up. Therefore, as any suitable surface will do, any anywhere match is still useful even if the matchbox is damaged or missing.

Safety Matches

GreenLight Diamond Strike on Box Matches, 32 Count (Pack of 10)

The other match you can purchase is safety matches, which only ignite when they strike a specialized manufactured striking surface on your matchbook cover or box. They include the following matches:

  • Kitchen Matches
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Cigar and Cigarette Matches

And pretty much any match that needs a specialized surface to be ignited.

How Do Strike Anywhere Matches Differ from Safety Matches?

To best understand the difference between safety and anywhere matches it is helpful to understand the differences between the two. Specifically, the difference between the two match heads.

Strike Anywhere Match Head

Match HeadsThe match stick or to be more specific the match head of an anywhere match contains all the essential elements that are needed to ignite the match. These elements might vary, somewhat, between different brands. But the most common anywhere matches contain the reactive ingredients of potassium chlorate and phosphorus sesquisulfide.

The phosphorus sesquisulfide, which is shown as a white tip, is the reactive material that causes the fire. And the potassium chlorate provides the oxygen that that is needed to light up the match. On the other hand, with safety matches the phosphorus (reactive agent) is not found on the tip. Instead, the phosphorus (red phosphorus) is on a separate striking surface, on the matchbook

Are Ohio Blue Tip Matches Outlawed?

Ohio Blue Tip Matches

Amazon only offers the Ohio Blue Tip, Strike on Box

The Ohio Blue Tip Match is an extremely popular strike anywhere match brand. In fact, Ohio Blue Tip Matches are so popular that many use the Ohio Blue Tip in place of “Strike Anywhere Matches”. (“Anywhere Matches”)

Ohio Blue Tip Matches and all strike anywhere matches are extremely hard to find. And it is next to impossible to get anywhere matches via mail order. This blog post will investigate the reason why this is so. Additionally, I ask the below questions.

  • What should you know about the anywhere match?
  • The dangers of anywhere matches vs. safety matches.

In the end, I will tell you when and if you should choose anywhere matches.

Other Strike Anywhere Match Brands

As I stated, Ohio Blue Tip Matches are only one company that makes anywhere matches. There are other companies that make, or at one time made these matches, some of which are listed below.

  • Pelney Strike Anywhere Match
  • Diamond Brand-Diamond Greenlight Strike
  • UCO Strike Anywhere Matches

This article includes the Ohio Blue Tip anywhere match and all other anywhere matches.

What You Should Know About the Strike Anywhere Match

Strike anywhere matches, unlike safety matches, can be ignited on any “suitable surface”. So, with these matches, you aren’t out of luck if you are missing the matchbox that has a striking surface.

A suitable surface is any surface that is solid, dry, and rough enough to cause enough friction to ignite the match head.

Why Is the Strike Anywhere Match Popular?

Some cigar and cigarette smokers prefer the strike anywhere match. However, as this blog deals with disaster preparedness, I will only address reasons why preppers like the anywhere matches. The reason why strike anywhere matches are popular for disaster prep and various emergencies is that not the specialized striking surface is necessary to light them up. Therefore, as any suitable surface will do, any anywhere match is still useful even if the matchbox is damaged or missing.

Safety Matches

The other match you can purchase is safety matches. Safety matches only ignite when they strike a specialized manufactured striking surface on your matchbook or box. They include the following matches:

  • Kitchen Matches
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Cigar and Cigarette Matches

And pretty much any match that needs a specialized surface to be ignited.

How Do Strike Anywhere Matches Differ from Safety Matches?

To best understand the difference between safety and anywhere matches it is helpful to understand the differences between the two. Specifically, the difference between the two match heads.

Strike Anywhere Match Head Vs. Safety Match Head

The match head of an anywhere match contains all the essential elements that are needed to ignite the match. These elements might vary, somewhat, between different brands. But the most common anywhere matches contain the reactive ingredients of potassium chlorate and phosphorus sesquisulfide.

The phosphorus sesquisulfide, which is shown as a white tip, is the reactive material that causes the fire. And the potassium chlorate provides the oxygen that that is needed to light up the match. On the other hand, with safety matches the phosphorus (reactive agent) is not found on the tip. Instead, the phosphorus (red phosphorus) is on a separate striking surface, on the matchbook or matchbox.

Are Strike Anywhere Matches Dangerous?

Because a separate striking surface is not needed for lighting anywhere matches unintentional fires have occurred when these matches rub up against one another.

Other Anywhere Match Danger Signs

The USPS categorizes, which classifies anywhere matches as a class 4 hazardous substance, is nonmailable in both international and domestic flights. (Safety matches can be mailed domestically but not internationally). Additionally, the UN (1341) has classified, phosphorus sesquisulfide, as a hazardous material.

Are Blue Tip Matches Outlawed in the US? (Strike Anywhere Match)

By way of mail order, the strike anywhere match is extremely hard to find. For example, Amazon does not sell any of these matches. And I only found a few of these matches listed on a few, obscure, websites.

As a result, there is a rumor that anywhere matches have been made illegal. However, at least as of December 2021, strike anywhere matches are still legal in the US.  Several states though, according to World Population Review have discouraged; but not outlawed these matches. These states are Alaska, California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Why Have Anywhere Matches Almost Disappeared Online?

The main reason for the disappearance of these once popular matches is likely based on logistics and simple supply and demand. For logistics, FED EX and UPS are the only mainstream carriers that ship hazardous material. And each charge a hefty extra fee for this service. I.E. Fed Ex charges a $50+ fee to ship these matches. Also, UPS doesn’t specifically mention anywhere matches. But they do charge extra for transporting hazardous materials.

Supply and demand are also a reason for the anywhere match disappearing. Anywhere matches are mainly valued by the prepper community. Therefore, based upon limited demand, it would not be a stretch that companies felt that the anywhere match is not worth the hassle to make.

Final Thoughts

If strike anywhere matches were abnormally dangerous, they would have been made illegal. So, if you practice common sense, you should not overly worry that a box of anywhere matches will cause an unintentional fire. However, based upon the extra expense (because of scarcity and added shipping costs) I would only consider using these in disaster prep and in an emergency situation. Frankly though, if you plan accordingly, it is highly doubtful that you will even need “Strike Anywhere”, matches. I.E., Have a Zippo or other reliable lighter in your bug out bag. So, if you feel you must have them, save your anywhere matches for your bug out bag.