spark a fire for a hot dinner, just a cold tent, a sleeping bag and a long wait for day’s light.”
Is this not the case? How many times has this happened to you? Everything packed, you remembered all that you need. A certain welling of pride fills your ego at how well you’ve planned. Yet not until the day fades do you realize what was forgotten, was what was needed the most at that particular moment. A flashlight. A headlamp. A lantern. A damn candle, if nothing else!
We’ve all done it, and there’s nothing wrong at all admitting to it. Nothing wrong with it, unless you don’t learn from that forgetfulness. Lighting should now be on the top of the all important list of emergency essentials, well after water, food and shelter. And don’t neglect the batteries.
Types Of Emergency Lighting
Candles, the simplest forms of light. They’re what Mom reached for first when you were young and a thunderstorm blacked out the entire neighborhood. There’s no need for batteries or worrying over a burnt out bulb. If there’s a way to light the wick, the problem goes away with a single flickering flame.They do have their weaknesses, though.
A good number of them are needed to illuminate a room and if they fall or contact flammable objects then a whole other set of problems arise. And their use after an earthquake is highly discouraged due to the potential of ruptured natural gas lines in and around your home. While candles are no the most effective form of emergency lighting, they work when all else doesn’t.
When all is said and done battery-powered lighting is the first thing most of us will reach for, a flashlight, headlamp or camp lantern stored for convenience in a drawer, closet or garage. Hopefully, those emergency essentials or replaced recently. What is more frustrating in the middle of a blackout than dead flashlight batteries? With changes in battery tech, battery-powered lighting has changed to utilized each new upgrade.
From flashlights that use every type of battery, AAA to D, to headlamps powered by small, disc-shaped button-cell batteries to the multitude of rechargeables, it essentially comes down to personal choice. What will serve your needs best? Keep in mind, though, when deciding on battery-powered lighting equipment keep battery types consistent and simple. Other types don’t use the traditional pop in, pop out batteries.These are the internal rechargeable type, where you plug in the whole unit (camp lantern or spotlight) to charge the specifically designed battery housed within.
Other designs like outlet charged batteries and nightlights are well suited to sudden blackout situations. These batteries and lights plug into wall outlets and charge while electricity is still flowing but once power is interrupted, the nightlight will kick on automatically and shine brightly. The outlet-charged battery will hold the previous charge and allow you to power any important appliances.
Another great off grid power system is a gas powered lamp or lantern. This type of lamp should not be used inside your home due to carbon monoxide risks but it makes for a great outdoor light source. These types of lanterns typically run off propane with connections for standard sized propane bottles.
When we talk wind energy, we don’t necessarily mean the large, monolith turbines mounted 50 feet above the ground. No, for the purpose of temporary, limited power use there are small wind generators about the size of a model airplane that set atop a secured pole and produce enough power to run a few small devices. But if you have an alternate energy system already in place utilizing wind and/or solar energy, then your electrical needs are already in place should the grid falter.
Solar powered lighting typically comes in the form of individual units with small solar panels built into them. They are equipped with a light sensor and automatically turn on when darkness falls. Many people utilize these already outside their homes to illumination walkways and porches. Alternatively, as with wind power, there are small solar-power kits available on the market that will produce sufficient electricity to operate a limited number of devices, including low power household lights.
Don’t Be Left in the Dark
When any one of us begin putting together our disaster response plans it’s the essentials of food, water, and shelter that take priority. These are the ones we concentrate on stockpiling with the focus of a laser but watch out for the resulting tunnel vision. There are other essentials that are so often forgotten until they are needed.
Emergency lighting is one of those, along with communications and batteries to supply much needed (if only temporary) electrical power. But remember, choose the types and designs that will work best of you in the situations you expect to find yourself. Don’t be left in the dark when the lights go out.