5 Cheap Ways to Keep the Lights on During a Blackout

by on February 9th, 2011
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Halloween weekend 2011 left the northeastern United States covered with snow. It also knocked out power in several areas. Power outages can put lives at risk, particularly during cold nights. Coping with the situation in the dark can be a nightmare. Automatic-activation generators are wonderful but cost thousands of dollars. People need less expensive options.

Rechargeable night lights and power failure lights
Plug these night lights or emergency lights into wall sockets and stay continuously charged. The nightlights activate whenever it’s dark, and emergency lights activate on power loss. Both provide instant light during blackouts. These make a perfect first line of defense.

Hand-held flashlights are simple to use and efficient. Replace the batteries yearly for safety. Buy one for each family member. Aluminum case, LED style flashlights are durable and shine brightly with little need for replacement bulbs.

Glow sticks
Bend one till you hear a pop and shake it vigorously to provide a bright, colorful glow that lasts several hours. They can be purchased in small quantities from retailers or in bulk from wholesalers. Storing a few in your nightstand allows quick and convenient access to emergency light.

A word of caution
The next two items produce light through flame. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies. Contact your local fire department for instructions on safe and legal storage of lamp oils, kerosene, and other flammable fuels. Follow lamp manufacturer safety instructions at all times. Use a long-tipped grill lighter for easy, controllable ignition.

Hurricane lamps
Oil-powered lamps have been used for centuries and provide long-lasting light and a little bit of warmth. These should be used as a secondary source of light because they require setup to use. These lamps can stay lit as long as your fuel supply lasts. Battery-powered models exist, removing the risk of fire in exchange for dependence on batteries.

Glass-jar style candles
Candles are another old technology with current use. Choose the type in large glass jars so they will be stable on any flat surface. Use unscented varieties to avoid being overwhelmed by perfumes. They avoid the fire-related risk of storing lamp fuel.

Safety first
Having backup light available does not mean it is safe to stay home. Have an evacuation plan ready. Keep an emergency kit with safety supplies in an easily accessible location known to all family members. Be prepared to seek shelter elsewhere if necessary.

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