Friday, October 25, 2019

15 Sources of Light During an Emergency

It looks like it may be a cold and dark weekend for folks in northern California if PG&E's plan to shut off power to nearly a million people happens.  Hopefully everyone in the area learned several lessons last time the power was shut off and they are all prepared and ready for a longer-term power outage.  If not, here are some ways to prepare for the light you will need when the power goes out...

  1. Candles and matches, lots of both.  People are generally not used to using candles so just a quick reminder that if you are going to use candles, be extra cautious so nothing catches on fire.  Note that beeswax candles burn the longest and don't forget candle holders/candlesticks.
  2. Flashlights and extra batteries, lots of batteries.  This isn't a 24/7 light source unless you have cornered the market on batteries but every room and every person in the house should have their own flashlight with lots of extra batteries on hand.
  3. Headlamp from your backpacking gear.  Be sure to have extra batteries on hand; these are particularly useful when you are working on something and need your hands free from holding a flashlight.
  4. Hand-crank flashlights.  Useful because the only power source is your efforts to keep it cranked.
  5. Glow sticks.  You can pick these up at the dollar store or in bulk on Amazon and they are good for providing several hours of soft light where ever you need it.
  6. Battery-powered lantern.  These can light up an entire room and are great for longer term use but you will need to have extra batteries on hand (an expensive proposition) or a way to recharge the batteries you use.
  7. Oil lamps.  The old fashioned kind; be sure you have plenty of lamp oil and wicks on hand.
  8. Dual-fuel lanterns.  These run on liquid fuel or unleaded gasoline; be sure to have extra mantles on hand.
  9. Garden path solar lights.  These are the solar-powered lights you see in people's yards which are also great for a power outage since all you have to do is set them out in the morning to charge (sun is required), then bring them into the house in the evening to provide hours of light for the family.
  10.  Jury-rigged candles.  You can make candles out of all sorts of things like crayons, butter, and Crisco.
  11. A bonfire/your fireplace.  The very oldest source of light, fire, can be utilized from your fireplace or if you are outside, from a campfire/bonfire.
  12. The lights from your vehicle.  Not a long-term solution but this system provided plenty of light for many a college field kegger.
  13. The light on your cell phone.  Again, not a long-term source of light since you don't want to run your cell phone battery down, but this is an excellent source of emergency lighting.
  14. Low voltage LED lights powered by a 12v battery (much like you would find on a boat or RV).
  15. Natural light.  Your best bet during a long-term outage will be to work with natural light--get up when daybreaks and be in bed not long after sunset.  This may take some getting used to but it is how our ancestors lived for eons.

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