October 26, 2010
By Angie Sullivan
Don’t be left in the dark during a power outage…make sure your family is prepared and let there be light!
Last year something happened that still disturbs my young family. There was a sudden power outage in our neighborhood, possibly caused by some renovations being done to a nearby school. It was evening, and my youngest was sick and I was rocking her as she watched her favorite cartoon. One of my older daughters was taking a shower and the other was in the basement doing her homework. Suddenly, it was pitch black. My sick toddler began to wail in horror. My daughter in the shower began yelling for me hysterically, and my daughter in the basement began to scream at the top of her lungs. Luckily, I had a stash of candles and a lighter at the end of the hallway, but the few minutes it took to retrieve those items felt like a lifetime to my little crew. Once each child was rescued from their different areas of the house we all sat around the candles and read a story until the light was restored. The very next day my husband brought home several lights that plug into the wall and turn on automatically if the electricity goes out. We reassured the children that these will help them navigate to other light sources and to mom and dad should this happen again.
What light sources might you need in a power outage or emergency? First of all, consider several flashlights for directional light. Having a flashlight close to your bedside is ideal. You may choose a hand crank light so you don’t ever have to worry about batteries, or maybe you’ll choose an LED light, the long lasting and resilient bulb insures reliability and endurance. A great way to save money and always have batteries is to purchase rechargeable batteries. Make sure you get the charger to go with your batteries so you can keep them ready to go. My personal favorite is a headlamp flashlight. I like the convenience of hands free operation and the light is excellent and always where I need it.
Of course, you will also want to have candles on hand for help in lighting your way on a dark night. Many of us have beautiful decorative candles all over our homes and can easily use those in an emergency situation. You might also want to consider purchasing Emergency Candles made from liquid paraffin. These specialized candles last longer than wax candles and liquid paraffin is smokeless and odorless which makes them ideal for indoors. They also can be moved easily without the worry of spilled wax.
Another excellent option, especially if you’d like to light up a larger space, is kerosene and lamp oil lanterns. These are decorative, but also very useful. They give off a stronger light than just a candle and the fuel is safer for use indoors than propane powered lanterns. Don’t forget to store matches, wicks, and extra fuel to ignite all of these light sources. Make sure you keep them in a safe, but accessible place that you can easily find in the dark. Our family also likes battery operated lanterns. Like the oil lanterns, they can be placed on a table for general lighting, but don’t require liquid fuel and light up with the flip of a switch. Just be certain you have extra batteries and bulbs on hand.
Another source of light that is safe, lightweight, and fun for children is the nontoxic chemical lightstick. These are very similar to the glow in the dark necklaces your children use for fun, but they are much larger and give off a greater light than the necklaces, yet they are just as simple and easy to use. Lightsticks are excellent to use in cars and emergency kits and will stay bright for up to 12 hours.
Our family learned the hard way how necessary light is when the unexpected happens and the electricity goes out. Consider your family and home’s individual needs and equip them with the several different light sources to depend on. After all, no one likes to be left in the dark! So… let there be light!