Some of the things that we do as “preppers” come in so handy for every day use and that’s why I dislike the term “prepper”. All too often, it makes some think of the folks who may take things a bit too far but really, if you stop and think about it all, it just makes sense. Take this morning for example. I’ve been canning potatoes. There’s lots of grit and potato skins and boiling water on the stove. There was no way I had time to get lunch fixed for Vince . . I didn’t even have a clean spot to stir up tuna or chicken salad so I grabbed a pint jar of Cincinnati Chili, heated it up, cooked some pasta, pulled out a jar of leftover kale salad that was in the fridge and we had lunch . . ready in a snap!
Yesterday morning, on a prepping group on Facebook, someone posted about their electricity going out recently and despite having tons of preparations, they could not find a flashlight quickly. Whether you consider yourself a “prepper” or not, it’s important to have a good, working flashlight handy at all times. Now that I’m a bit older and don’t want to risk a fall, and living in a small house with too much stuff everywhere, and having a dog that’s gone deaf and will walk right in front of me and stop in broad, open daylight, it’s really important for me not to be stumbling around in the dark. Small LED flashlights are so inexpensive these days. Not only do we have them but we rotate them so that the ones we seldom use don’t sit somewhere til the batteries corrode while a few others end up with used up batteries. Even though we keep a good supply of batteries, for everyday use, we mostly use rechargeables. This solar charger is not something I’ve used but I just found it and ordered it. Seems like it would be really good to have if it works correctly.
Here’s where we keep small flashlights:
- There’s one in each car.
- Vince and I both have our favorite chairs and we keep a flashlight within reach of each chair.
- By each side of our bed.
- On the nightstands by the beds in the extra rooms. Wouldn’t want guests to end up stumbling in the dark in unfamiliar settings.
- In the kitchen in the drawer with the dish towels.
- In my purse.
My cell phone also has a flashlight app on it but I would only use that for a real emergency as it can drain the battery pretty quickly.
We keep the bigger lantern type flashlights by each door. We use those when we go out to check on the chickens or to take Speck out but we always know where they are.
There are flashlights that you can shake or wind up to make work. We have both and my opinion is: They’re good when there’s nothing else that will work but the shaking one takes a whole lot of shaking and the wind up one takes a whole lot of winding. We counted on those before solar rechargers got so popular and inexpensive.
We also have these plug in lights that know when the power goes off and know when it’s dark and will come on automatically. They’re nice for the occasional power outage but won’t last forever if there’s a long term outage.
The light part comes out of the socket and can be used as a flashlight.
This particular one is in a hallway and after dark, when something moves near it, the nightlight comes on to light the way.
It stays on for a minute or two and then goes off.
I’ve never been a big fan of oil lanterns or candles simply because in an emergency situation, a fire can be even worse than in a non-emergency situation. Communications may be down or fire departments may already be busy with other issues. Even though we keep plenty of candles, lanterns and lamp oil, those are the last sources of light I would count on using.
As far as candles, I like these Sterno candles. They’re supposed to burn up to 55 hours. In my Y2K preparations, I bought quite a few of these, never used them and still have them. Looking at the price of them now, I made a good investment about 15 years ago! 🙂
I do love solar lanterns such as this one or this one. These are not going to provide enough light for reading or knitting but they will provide enough light that you can safely get around without tripping and falling or running into things. There are others, such as this one, though a bit more expensive that can charge a cell phone also. I’m not concerned about keeping my cell phone charged during a long term widespread outage but for something local and just a few hours or a few days, it would be nice to have a working cell phone. Most of these have just a USB outlet which would work for charging many of the things that can be charged via USB.
Something as simple as the light sticks that you place in your yard, like this one, that you stick in the yard during the day and bring in at night, would be great. Again, they’re not going to provide enough light for reading but they will chase away the total darkness. Sometimes at the end of summer, places like Wal-Mart have these marked way down.
Depending on your lighting needs, there are plenty of options available.
- Think about and plan what you will need for both short and long term power outages. As part of the planning/thinking process, think about where you might be when the lights go out and how you would get to each light, as well as how long each light might last.
- Purchase what best suits your needs and pocketbook.
- Keep them where you can find them when needed.
- Rotate the stock to make sure they’re all working at all times.
It never hurts to have a plan as to what you will use when the electricity is off, whether it’s off for a few minutes or a few days. If you haven’t done so lately, please take the time to evaluate your backup lighting plan. In the least, please check your batteries . . make sure your flashlights are working and easily accessible.