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Lighting Options During An Emergency

lighting options in an emergency

It is safe to assume that no one likes to sit in the dark.  Without our usual means of lighting our homes, our waking and sleeping hours are basically dictated by the length of the day.  Many of our work and leisure activities are carried on during the hours of darkness, and when there is an electric power outage, these are immediately curtailed.  A wide variety of situations can cause the loss of electric power, from storms to earthquakes to terrorism.  Rather than being forced to limit your life to those hours when the sun is shining, it is prudent to provide for emergency lighting before you need it.


Although it is unlikely that you will be using flashlights as your primary source of light during an emergency or emergency, it is still a good idea to have several available at all times.  You should also keep one in your car.  While many of us use the ‘traditional’ battery powered flashlight, there are other options that are more economical.  Rechargable lights are an excellent way to provide emergency lighting, and will save money as you will never need to purchase batteries.  You will have to remember to plug the flashlight into the wall outlet when it is not being used, however. 

Camp Lanterns

Those who enjoy camping will often prefer more light than a campfire can provide, and there are a number of different options, from those that run on batteries, to rechargeable lanterns to lanterns that use liquid fuel.  Depending on the lantern, these lamps can produce up to 150 hours of light.   LED lanterns will generally produce the longest periods of light.  Lanterns that use liquid fuel, either kerosene or gasoline, will be usable for as long as your supply of fuel lasts.   Although these lanterns were first designed for use at campsites, they make excellent lanterns to use during an emergency or disaster.  Most of these lanterns, even the larger ones, are priced under $100.00, so purchasing several will not strain most budgets.

Oil and Kerosene Lamps

Before electricity was available, oil or kerosene was used in lamps to provide a better light than a candle was able to produce.  Until rural electrification resulted in every community in the United States having electricity, kerosene lamps provided the way for people to read and carry on activities after sunset.  Oil can also be used for these lamps, and nowadays it is possible to buy refined products that produce no disagreeable odor when burned. 

Kerosene lamps come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, from functional hurricane style lamps to elegant lamps that will look good anywhere.  While the light given off by a kerosene lamp will be brighter than that from a candle, it is still rather weak when compared to electric lighting.  However, if the lamp uses a lamp mantle, it will be able to produce a glow similar to that from a 60 watt bulb. 

Many lamps will work with either kerosene or lamp oil, and if the smell of kerosene is disagreeable to you, an oil lamp may suit you better.  You can choose between unscented oil or one that has a fragrance added.  Most oil lamps are rather fragile as they are usually made of glass.  These lamps are reasonable in cost, and several can be purchased to more effectively light a room.