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One of the first of the conveniences of modern society to be curtailed during a disaster is the electricity.  Although a power outage of even a few hours can be irritating, a real emergency or disaster situation can mean that you will not have electric power for days, or even weeks.  There are several ways that you can assure that you and your family will have some kind of lighting while you are waiting for the electricity to be restored, other than candles.

The LED Approach

Light emitting diode, LED lights have provided an easy way to assure that you will have short term emergency lighting.  Whether you choose a flashlight model or one that will be more like a lamp, these lighting devices can give you plenty of clean, bright light during an emergency.  These LED lights all work on basically the same principal – they are kept plugged into the wall to charge their battery, then are available for lighting when you need it.  Most of these devices will provide around 8 hours of light, and they are generally reasonably priced. 

Battery Powered Lanterns

These lanterns can probably be considered to be a step up from the LED lights as they will generally supply light for a much longer time.  When deciding which lantern to purchase, it is probably best to associate quality and dependability with price.  There are some plastic battery lanterns on the market, but these break easily and seem to provide only about the same amount of lighting time as the LEDs.  A better made battery powered lantern will have metal parts and be of sturdy construction.  These lanterns will give you light for a much greater length of time than the LED lights, too, some of these lanterns will provide 72 hours of light on high, and 150 hours on low.  This can be significant if your power outage is stretching over several days.

Oil and Kerosene Lamps

Previous to electric power, many people provided lighting for their homes by using oil or kerosene lamps.  These lamps are simple to use, you need merely to fill the reservoir with fuel, reattach the wick burner, adjust the wick, and light it.  A clear glass chimney is generally used, which not only protects the flame, but also helps the lamp burn more efficiently.  If kerosene is used, there will be a definite odor, especially when the lamp is first lit.  You will generally get about 12 hours of lighting out of one fill, and the length of time the lamp will provide light will only be limited by how much fuel you have stored.

A more sophisticated type of kerosene lamp is the mantle lamp.  This lamp uses a round rather than a flat wick and a special mantle is used to produce a much brighter light.  Mantle lamps use up fuel more quickly, but also provide quite a lot of heat, so might also be useful when another heat source is required.

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