Power Outage – Where are your emergency lights?


Have you been watching the news footage coming from Puerto Rico? Satellite images show how dark the island has become because of power outages. It’s a reminder to us all to revisit emergency lighting.

Always-ready ambient lighting . . .

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?

One model — wall mounted emergency lights.

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.

A new find — emergency light bulb.

And this week, I found another automatic light I want to make you aware of. I think it would be particularly appropriate for families with children or families with older people for whom not being able to see would be dangerous.

3 in 1 lamp

Why I like this 3-in-1 bulb.

I pulled these images to try to show how the bulb works. It’s designed to screw into a regular socket, so you can just put it into a table lamp, like in the picture, and use it like an ordinary bulb.  It’s a soft color, and because it’s LED technology, it doesn’t use much power and doesn’t get hot.

You leave it in all the time so it is always charged.

The cool this is that IF THE POWER GOES OUT, THE LAMP GOES ON!  Because it has a built in battery, it will burn for about 5 hours. (Ultimately its battery will run out, of course.)

Let’s say the power goes out. You can find your way directly to the lamp, and then you can REMOVE THE BULB and use it as a flashlight! What about having one of these bulbs with you when you travel?? Pop it into a hotel lamp, and if something happens during the night you’ll be able to see  (Just don’t forget it when you check out.)

This bulb costs less than $5 when you buy two. Check out full details and a video HERE before you buy.

But for powerful emergency lighting . . .

The lights described above 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 and now, in Puerto Rico – 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 really good one: LED Tactical Flashlight,Wophain Super Bright 800 Lumens CREE XML T6 LED Outdoor Handheld Flashlight Adjustable Focus Zoom Flashlight With 5 light Modes, Ultra Bright, Zoomable,Water Resistant
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. We’ve drafted an entire new Advisory about lanterns. Prices usually range from $10 – $30. Here’s one with 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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