Power Outage – Where are your emergency lights?


Were you watching the news footage from the Amtrak wreck? Did you see what I saw – pinpricks of light dancing all over, with no clear view of ANYthing? It was a reminder for me to revisit emergency lighting here where I live.

If the power goes out in our community center, battery-powered emergency lighting goes on automatically. Why not have the same level of preparedness at home?

Always-ready ambient lighting . . .

I have written before about wall-mounted automatic emergency lights. They plug into a socket and normally do duty as night lights (good for kids, visitors and wakeful spouses). When there’s a power outage, they light up and can be pulled out and used as flashlights, too. Cost: $12-20 each.

In my estimation, Emergency Automatic Power Failure Lights are a basic piece of emergency equipment.

But for powerful emergency lighting . . .

The night lights don’t give off enough light to actually repair something or find and rescue somebody in trouble. For that, you need more power. After considerable research our CERT team invested in several very large spotlights. They have bright halogen bulbs – 18 million candle power!

These are too bulky to casually carry around. Rather, you’d turn one on and set it up to illuminate an entire scene.

One of the reasons we chose this model is because it can be plugged into a car battery to be recharged! (We’ll have plenty of cars available in our neighborhood.) The car battery (DC) adaptor comes with the lamp. Below is the link directly to Amazon. On the day I wrote this, prices varied from as low as $57 to as high as $97 for the same lamp! So shop carefully.
Cyclops C18MIL Thor X Colossus 18 Million Candle Power Rechargable Halogen Spotlight

Now you probably wouldn’t need something as big and powerful as the Cyclops to get you through a simple power outage. But if the outage continued for many hours – or for 14 days as happened to some people caught in Hurricane Sandy! – emergency lighting is going to play an important role.

Here’s a quick review of standard emergency lighting. Do you need to put some of these on your shopping list?

1. Ordinary battery-operated flashlight. Cheap ($3-$15), easy to operate. As long as the batteries work, you’ll have at least SOME light! I recommend getting at least 250 lumens. Of course, the beam is narrow, and you have to use one hand to hold the flashlight. Here’s a good one: (HK) Black Mini CREE Q5 300 Lumens Super Bright LED Flashlight Torch
2. Headlamp. Again, battery operated, but you’ll be SO much more efficient with two hands free! Tape one to your helmet, or wear one over a cap. Costs start as low as $7 and go up from there. Here’s a best-seller: LE LED Headlamp, 18 White LED and 2 Red LED, 4 Brightness Level Choice, LED Headlamps, 3 AAA Batteries Included
3. Battery-operated lantern. The ones we have are sturdy and stable and designed to fill up a whole room with soft light. Again, having supplies of batteries is essential. Prices range from $10 – $30. This one even has an AM/FM radio built in: Northpoint 12-LED Lantern with 4-LED Flashlight and AM/FM Radio, Green (I have a lantern in nearly every room, particularly in the bathroom.)

One final note . . .

Having enough battery-operated lights, and a supply of extra batteries, will prevent you from reaching for candles until you are absolutely sure it’s safe.

Hope I’m not preaching to the choir on this topic, but it’s always worth a reminder!

Virginia Nicols
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team



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