Currently, the majority of Americans and people across the world get their electricity by being connected to the power grid. This means that if and when a disaster strikes, every person who is connected to an affected electric grid will suddenly be without power … and without lighting.
Assuming that you are not already living off or partially off-grid, the information in this article will be very valuable for you.
We are going to consider a multitude of different options that are available to give you emergency lighting. Some of these lighting systems are better as a short term solution while others are intended for the long term, but they will all work:
The most obvious emergency source of light is easily fire. As long as you have kindling, fuel, and a means to start the fire, you have a very easy lighting solution for the short term.
Just make sure that you keep an eye on the fire so it doesn’t grow out of hand; water, a fire extinguisher or fire blanket should be kept on standby.
The added benefit of fire is that it doesn’t just give you light, it gives you a means to cook food and some level of security.
In general, the morale of you and the members of your group should go up once you are able to get a fire going. Obviously, this is only an option if you have a fireplace or stove, or outdoor space to safely build a fire pit.
But let’s say that you don’t have a fireplace and you need your light to be indoors. Keeping a supply of candles is a warm cosy-glow alternative. I
t is important to remember plan ahead how you will ensure the flame remains tame — according to the NFPA, 8,700 structural domestic fires were started by candles per year between 2011 and 2015.
Always use a stable, heat resistant candle holder and place it on a heat resistant surface away from drafts and flammable materials, never leave a burning candle unattended or as a night light. Stay safe and you can have a cosy, easy to store temporary light source.
Another obvious emergency lighting solution, and the first choice for many of us, is flashlights.
Not only should these already be in your bug out bag as well as in your home survival kit, but you should have a variety of sizes, at least one flashlight per family member, and plenty of spare bulbs and batteries.
Some flashlights are large enough to light up a whole room or section of a house, and these will serve as excellent emergency lighting systems.
Solar lights, also known as solar lamps, are lighting systems that are comprised of batteries, solar panels, and a lamp. Solar lights are an excellent emergency lighting system in their own right.
A neat thing about solar lights is how you can set them around your house and property at strategic locations. You can mark out the pathway in your front or back yard, or you can mount them to the roof of your home.
But what’s even more cool about solar cells, provided they have the right connector, is how you can use them to power your electronic devices such as your laptop, tablet, or phone.
The most important thing to invest in when you buy solar lights is a good set of batteries. In fact, the batteries that sell with most solar lights by the manufacturer tend to be rather poor quality and won’t hold a charge for a long time.
In light of this (pun intended), buy solar cell batteries separate from the lights themselves and then swap the batteries out. You’ll be glad you did even though you’re paying an extra cost for the batteries up front.
Earlier in this article we mentioned how setting up candles around your home is a major safety concern. This is especially true if you have small children who could accidentally knock over a candle while playing.
Even if you don’t believe that candles are a major safety concern under your unique circumstances, keep in mind that they don’t last forever, so you’ll likely have to turn to another emergency lighting system anyway.
A grand alternative to candles would be the oil lamp, provided you have an adequately ventilated home. You may already have one that you use for campouts.
There are a multitude of different models available from the market that are powered by various substances such as gas, petroleum, kerosene, and even olive oil. Out of all of these, olive oil is the most safe option because this emits less toxins then gas or kerosene does.
Storm lanterns, aka hurricane or barn lamps, are available in a wide range of sizes. Traditionally these weather-proof lanterns use lamp oil or kerosene as fuel, but LED versions are also available. These have the benefit of not having a naked flame, sooty smoke, or toxic fumes to worry about.
Camp or survival stoves are compact sources of heat that also emit light. Even if you don’t own a camp stove, you can make your own rocket style stove out of tin cans — but good luck trying to look up how to do it online after the power goes out!
It’s a great way for you to cook food, warm yourself, and illuminate the space around you while keeping the fire safe and contained.
Fuel types vary and this may affect your buying choice. Most camp stoves are designed to be used outdoors only so, as with burning any fuel source, make safety your number one priority, even if it means huddling together on your apartment balcony.
If you don’t already have a generator, it’s perfectly understandable that you may not want to just go out and buy one. Generators are expensive up front and they can also be expensive to maintain and power as well. You should only buy a generator if your budget allows it.
But if you do have a generator, you can use it to power your entire home or at least part of your home. So long as you have a healthy supply of gasoline (ideally your stored generator gasoline should be separate from your stored vehicle gasoline), you will be able to keep your generator running and your home lit.
When all else fails, what’s to stop you from using night vision equipment? No, we’re not talking about the cheap night vision toy goggles that you can buy in the kids departments. We’re talking serious, high-tech equipment sold by hunting and outdoors specialists.
Not only can you buy night vision goggles, but you can also buy night vision binoculars that are the better choice for viewing things at long distances.
When the lights go out and you need an emergency light source, any one of these options will work beautifully. If you’re wise, you’ll use several of these systems so that when one fails, you have a back-up method.