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Week 27 of 52: Emergency Light Sources

This week we will discuss the importance of light preparedness and how to find traditional and alternative means of illuminating your home in a “lights out” scenario.

Many do not anticipate the number of light sources needed for an emergency, let alone for a long-term emergency. In a previous newsletter, it was suggested to stock up on flashlights and matches for a short-term disaster to get by in an emergency where the electricity has been turned off. Practicing energy conservation measures during that time can also help prolong your light sources. However, if you find yourself in an emergency where the lights go out permanently, being able to sustain yourself for a longer-term scenario requires a more permanent means of producing light.

Some are turned off by the idea of attracting unwelcome attention to themselves by having light in the home during a longer-term emergency. Further, powering up a loud generator to turn the lights on may also draw attention to the homestead. That being said, if you are concerned with this issue, take special precautions ahead of time. Blackout curtains can easily solve this issue. Plan to have a means of emergency light for not only getting around in the dark but for essential rooms that will need to be illuminated. Rooms used for food preparation and even for medical/triage reasons will need to have lots of light to help treat any serious medical issues that occur, especially at night.

Developing your survival skills and investing in preparedness supplies and know-how can help put you ahead in the survival game. Here are a few suggestions of emergency light sources to invest in for a longer-term disaster:

Candles – It is recommended to have candles for an emergency, however, many get confused as to what type of candles and wax is best in this type of situation. Keep in mind that candles are candles, so save yourself some money and look for the cheaper varieties. The Catholic style devotional candles range between $3-$5 and maybe even cheaper at Dollar stores. A case of these types of candles can be purchased at the Dollar Tree for $12. Keep in mind that candles do emit carbon monoxide, so ensure that candles are placed in a well-ventilated room. The light the candles emit may also be considered dim compared to other light sources you can find, therefore more may be needed to light a room effectively.

Solar Lighting – Solar lights would be an efficient alternative to having light. Solar garden lighting can also be used as an alternative means of producing light. Solar garden lights can be purchased for as low as $1 at the Dollar stores and can be used as a torch (the solar panel/LED top can be unscrewed to be used as a night light), or could be altered to provide overhead lighting. In the morning, take it out to a sunny area to recharge. Get creative! Flash lanterns would also be a great product to look into if this is the means of light you prefer.

Purchasing solar panels to use to light and power the home is an expensive investment that could pay itself off especially in al long-term scenario. These panels would be an amazing purchase for those interested in going off-grid. Keep in mind that solar cells are very fragile, and because of the fragility of solar equipment, it would be wise to invest in replacement parts for any solar materials purchased. Remember: two is one, one is none.

Fuel-powered light sourcesGas-powered lamps and overhead lighting are also available for those interested in a more off-grid solution. Bear in mind that additional fuel will need to be stored in order to provide light. Hurricane lanterns can be purchased at outdoor stores, but can also be found at garage sales, or donation centers such as the Salvation Army for a fraction of the cost. Remember to invest in extra parts and fuel for these types of light sources.

Rendered animal fats – If you find yourself with no means of producing light, tallow can be made from rendered animal fats. Note the smell tallow emits may not be what you expect, but it will do the job it is intended to do (Rendered animal fats can also be a means of producing alternative fuel for certain engines). Further, re-using fats from foods can also be used as a stand-in for your normal fuel. For a more in-depth review of bushcraft lighting, click here.

Light from water – That’s right, you can light your home using a clear soda bottle and clean water. The light it emits is comparable to a 50 watt light bulb. You can see the amazing video here.

Night vision goggles – Investing in a pair of night-vision goggles would be good not only for perimeter security but also helpful in other situations where you do not want to draw any attention to yourself. The price of night vision tools varies from $250-$500. Night vision scopes are also available for rifles and could be an advantage for hunting. In online reviews, it was mentioned that some service members who used the night vision binoculars have said they prefer the monocular version. Because of the mass manufacturing of this product ensure that where you buy is from a reputable dealer.

Generally speaking, the American lifestyle is largely dependent upon the power grid. When the grid goes down, our population’s Achilles’ heel will be exposed. With our inability to function in a realm without power coupled with the extremely stressful nature of disasters and emergencies, it can be a large antagonizer for chaos and unwelcome encounters with the unprepared.

The following list is not intended to be a comprehensive list of suggestions you should have in your preparedness supplies. My personal feelings are the more supplies, the better. And let’s not forget that the following items would make good bartering items. Find which items would benefit your family the most and invest in those.

Preps To Buy:

  • Long lasting candles
  • Hurricane lamps
  • Hanging lanterns battery powered,solar and/or gas powered
  • Flashlight – hand cranked, solar, battery powered, or LED
  • Solar garden lighting
  • Light sticks
  • Matches and water proof types
  • Cigarette lighters
  • Strobe light – as a signaling device
  • Head lamps
  • Extra glass mantels for lamps
  • Extra candle wicks
  • Extra propane or fuel
  • Extra batteries for flashlights, lanterns and head lamps
  • Solar panels
  • Solar chargers
  • Battery chargers
  • Black out curtains
  • Night vision goggles

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on December 2nd, 2011