Emergency Lighting

When disaster strikes and the electrical grid goes down, how are you going to see in the dark? Without a backup generator It boils down to two ways: battery/dynamo powered lights – or – fuel based flames. An exception to these two catagories would be a cylume stick which is a safe, self contained, luminecent chemical reaction device. Now is the time to procure these items so that they are ready when needed. Batteries need to be high quality because you need reliability and longevity. I have several dynamo flashlights that can generate unlimited light on demand. Some of these devices also include a radio, enabling you to keep informed of local conditions. The weakness of dynamo systems are the vulnerability of the crank systems and possible limited charge held by the internal batteries. Flame based lights would include candles, oil lamps, and gas lights. Be sure to have adequate fuel on hand for several days of use. The main concern about fire based lighting is fire safety. Generally, manufactured lamps have built in safety features whereas improvised lamps and candles can tip or spill. When improvising oil lights, vegetable oils burn the cleanest whereas petroleum fuels tend to be smokey. Alcohol fuel can give heat but gives next to no light. It’s good practice to place improvised flame lamps in a dish or bowl that can capture spills while at the same time providing a handle for transport. Be careful of the heat that is generated which could possibly burn both surfaces below, items above, and your hands when handling. Check out my Slush Lamp Basics for lamp improvisation.

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One thought on “Emergency Lighting

  1. Lehman Bros. Hardware hasa cool option: olive oil lamps. They sell the wick setup, which is a wire holder for the wick, which you place in any old jar that it fits. About 1 inch of olive oil (doesn’t have to be extra virgin:) burns for several hours with no smoke and a very bright white light.

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