Friday, September 26, 2014

When The Lights Go Out

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There have been several times when the power has gone out at my house, but never longer than a few hours.  And most of those times were in the middle of the night while we were sleeping and we didn't need an alternate source of lighting.  I took note the other day of how often we used the lights in my house, and the switches are flipped without a second thought. The habit of turning on a light switch when we walk into a dark room is engrained into all of us.  We take for granted that with the flip of a switch we have light.  

What Do You Use For Light When The Power Goes Out?

I live in earthquake territory and I have a feeling that with my luck we will have an earthquake in the middle of the night and flashlights will be a prized possession.  (that is totally my own opinion and I have no idea when the earthquake will hit, but with my track record of bad things happening at the worst times, it will :)

It is recommended to have flashlights by every bed in your home to be used during a power outage.  With kids it may be harder to keep those flashlights by the bed, but I took a few photos of the flashlights/emergency lighting in my home.  This will show you what types we use, and also give you some ideas on what types of lighting are out there.  It is by no means the only way to have lighting in an emergency, but maybe you'll find a new gadget that will work for you.  I am always finding new gadgets to add to our flashlight collection.  

Under the Bed-  Keeping a flashlight under your bed, inside a pair of sturdy shoes, allows you to grab and go in a disaster.  I need to take this one step further and put my shoes and flashlight in a bag that ties to the bed post.  If there was an earthquake, objects would be falling all over the place, and hunting for my shoes and flashlight in the middle of chaos would prove difficult.  

LED flashlight
 Flashlights in the Children's Room-  Each of my children have a flashlight that hangs on their beds.  Yes, I know what you are all saying and it's true.  They play with them, and lose them, and to be honest 5 out my 5 kids didn't have a flashlight hanging on their bed when I went to take a picture today.  I had a challenge to see who could find one first so I could take a photo.  I need to stay on top of things like that and make sure they keep the flashlight within reach.  It's one more thing to have to remind the kiddos to do, but it's necessary in an emergency.

Shake flashlight
 My son keeps his shake flashlight on his window sill.  (And yes his bed is next to the window and under a large shelf,  and that is probably breaking every earthquake safety rule out there.  I'm not perfect and this proves there is always room for improvement.:)  The flashlight in his room is a shake flashlight.  I don't recommend this kind of flashlight because it takes so much physical power to light the darn thing that it's frustrating.  But my son is 9 and loves things that work and so he chose that one.  My girls have regular LED click on flashlights and also the squeeze flashlights.  Those are similar to the shake variety but you squeeze the handle until you have enough energy for the light to work.  Still not my favorite, but a little easier than the shake kind.  Also note that I don't have a picture of the squeeze flashlight, none of the kids could find theirs :)

 UV Paqlite-  
These reusable glow sticks are one of my favorite gadgets on the market.  I found these at the Self Reliance Expo last year and I was sold on the idea.  The stuff (real technical I know) in side of the tubes and the plastic case glow after being held up to a light source.  They can be used over and over again and any light source will work to give them their lighting ability.  Hold them up to a car light, the sun, indoor light, campfire, etc and they glow for a very long time. I hang mine in our central closet so they don't get played with or lost.  They aren't bright enough to use like a flashlight but in a tent or small room they would give off enough light to see what was going on.  Think of a nightlight in your kids room, that kind of illumination.  Click here to see my previous post on the UV Paqlite. And click here to visit their website and view all of their products.

Solar Lighting-  
I really like having a solar version of a battery operated flashlight.  I leave the one above hanging on my refrigerator to keep it ready to go.  It is also a radio.  Having batteries on hand for flashlights is a great idea, but you do need quite a few batteries for any extended power outages.  It's a great idea to have a back up plan. (Remember having a plan B for your plan B.)   Solar flashlights come in all sizes. 

I keep a small solar flashlight on my nightstand, and it's a great option when the lights go out.  Solar powered garden lights are an inexpensive, easy way to have light without power.  Group them together in a #10 can or mason jar to light a kitchen or family area at night.  Set them outside, or in front of a sunny window to soak up the sun during the day, and light your home at night.  

Solar powered garden lights

 Another option on the market are products from the Goal Zero company.  The generators charge using the power of the sun (they can also be plugged in an electrical outlet). I own a smaller unit that charges phones and has power for smaller devices like computers dvd players.

Goal Zero generator and camping light
Goal Zero also carries a variety of solar lighting.  I own the lantern accessory and I highly recommend having it to go along with a Goal Zero solar generator.  Click HERE to view all of their products.  

Battery Powered Lanterns and Oil Lamps- 
I bought these lanterns at Walmart for around $10.  I do have to store extra bulbs and batteries, but they are one more way to have light in an emergency.  The Emergency Essentials 100-hour candle is also a great resource for light and they are inexpensive. Another option that uses regular cooking oil is called the Safer Emergency Candles.  Click the link to read about I tested out the Safer Emergency Candles, READ HERE.

 Candles are inexpensive, easy to use, and are a great item to have on hand. They give off a great amount of light and are probably the most common item people have for lighting in an emergency.  Use caution with candles, especially around children and pets. To keep my candles from rolling all over the place I made a candle holder out of an old mason jar.  It holds a burning candle on top, set in a PVC cup,  and the extra candles and matches are stored inside. After you are done using the candle, all the supplies store neatly inside the jar.
All the items needed can be found around your house and at the hardware store. The mason jar is from my storage room, and the candles and matches were both from the dollar store. A small piece of pvc pipe is needed to hold the candle in place, but it was under one dollar at the hardware store.  I placed the matches inside a small bag, and in another bag I placed the striking strip from the match box.

You Will Need:
quart size mason jar
canning lid and ring
candles that fit in mason jar
matches and strike strip
small PVC cup (from sprinkler section of the hardware store)
E6000 glue, or other permanent bonding glue

Glue the PVC sprinkler piece (from the sprinkle section of the hardware store), onto the underside of a canning lid, this will become the candle holder, and let dry.  (When not in use the lid is turned over and the PVC piece is stored inside the jar.)  Once dry, store the candles, matches, strike strip in the mason jar.  Close the canning lid with the PVC piece inside the jar, and your emergency candle is now ready.  When you need to light a candle, flip over the mason jar lid so the PVC piece is facing upwards,  tighten the ring around it, place a candle in the PVC holder and light it.  So easy, but so useful too!!  I love that my candles aren't all over the place and I have a safer, steady holder for them. Just a note- take your candle with you to the hardware store to save a ton of time from having to drive back for a different size that fits :)
PVC sprinkler piece glued to the canning lid.

There are many options for lighting in an emergency.  Find what works for you! Having multiple sources of lighting will only make your life less complicated when you need to use them.  It doesn't necessarily have to be a natural disaster to need a flashlight.  The other day I needed to look under the stove for a my kids bouncy ball and I knew right where to find a flashlight.  (obviously not from my kids' room :)  Take stock of your flashlights and batteries and make sure you know where they are. Being organized and ready NOW will pay off when you need to use your lighting for an emergency!


  1. I found on a website where one girl is making 100 hour candles.

    1. Very cool!! Thanks for sharing the link.


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