We are continuing with our Be Prepared series, and today’s topic is lighting!
Lighting is actually an emergency category that you may face more often than others. Several hour power outages are quite common, and no dire emergency needed to have the need to pull out the emergency lighting sources.
So if you have a high likelyhood of needing emergency lighting for a non-emergency, imagine it’s popularity when a real disaster strikes!
You can very affordably, easily and without much storage space needed, carry a supply of emergency lighting. We are even going to share ideas with you for kids to have lighting too!
I remember power outages in my home state of Idaho. As a kid, one big source of comfort was having my own light source. It relieved a lot of tensions and fears.
Here’s the list of items you should gather and put in your emergency bin. We haven’t talked about this much, but other than most of our food, our emergency supplies are in a plastic bin in our basement. We chose the plastic bins because of flood/water damage possibilities. We also have pallets on our basement floor (only 2 right now) that we store many things on in case of a basement flooding (and there doesn’t need to be a crisis in the community, even just pipes breaking or other crisis restricted to just our home!) as this will elevate them by several inches! Anyway, those were just a couple of side tips.
So let’s get back on track. This is a quick, easy list that can easily be all purchased for under $100. Our goal was to get you prepared in each category for $100 or less (except food as this is a gradual storage category, but you can devote whatever your budget allows to build your food supply).
There are several different types of candles: the decorative smelly ones, the long burning ones and even emergency specific 100 hour candles. Honestly, any and all will work, but no matter what, we recommend having a few of each…. or skip the smelly and just get the long burning candles.
The 100 hour candles will get you through many emergencies and our recommendation is to have at least one 100-hour candle for every 2-people in your household for a 3-day period. This will allow lighting for different levels in the home, or when the family needs to separate for one to take care of this and another to go to another part of the house and take care of this, etc. It gives you much more flexibility. These 100-hour candles can range in price from $6-$12 depending on where you buy them, and the more you buy the cheaper they are! You can see many options on Amazon HERE.
We personally aren’t the biggest fans of the other long burning candles (the ones that are strictly candles – not the glass jar 100-hour candles) with kids, but it is a good idea to have them just in case. However, know how and where you will put them to reduce fire hazards. The last thing you want is your home to catch on fire in the middle of a disaster or emergency! That would just be adding insult to injury 🙂 So if you want a supply of regular wax candles, there is honestly not a reason to pay for the hype and label of an “emergency wax candle” as candles are quite frankly just that, candles! So the best thing to do is to go to the dollar store and buy a bunch of the tall Church style candles. Many already come in a glass jar and so this reduces your fire risk and is safer with kids and pets. You can also get those super thick tall pillar candles for the same purpose at the dollar store.
Don’t forget to add the matches and store a supply in your emergency supplies, but stored separately from the candles!
This one is sort of a given, but we personally need to be reminded and work on this one! Why? Well, it seems like when flashlights enter our home, our kids LOVE them as toys and they end up getting used, lost, broke, etc. So this is a good reminder for us to check and see “what is left” in this department.
Now flashlights would be the most logical, the easiest and probably the most popular. And while all of this is true…. they are good to have, but not quite as practical…. unless you have a large store of batteries or a solar battery recharge station and rechargeable batteries. To have these types of batteries requires a bigger investment as they are more pricey.
BUT, at any rate, flashlights will come in handy for a short time. It cannot be relied upon for a long period of time, possibly not even more than one night depending on the type of flashlight.
Our recommendation is to have a handful of flashlights and batteries (or rechargeable batteries with a solar charger depending on what you want to invest) and only use them when someone needs to. Don’t keep them on or use them long-term.
Headlights are quite a practical source to have! Again, similar to flashlights, they cannot be used full-time, but they are a very practical way to get lighting in an emergency. It keeps your hands free as well so that you can do what you need to do. Let’s say for example, you are in your home with your family around your 100-hour candle and you run out of water! Pop on a headlight and head to the nearest water source and have both hands free to carry water back. This is just one example, but every emergency kit should include a headlamp for everyone, just in case you need to walk or travel somewhere as well and any of it ends up at night! Carrying your light source is burdensome in those circumstances, so headlamps are super helpful and practical!
Again, this is where you will need batteries or rechargeable batteries with a solar recharge station. But, we are much more in favor of storing a handful of batteries for your headlamps than in your flashlights as headlamps will prove to be much more useful!
You can buy solar headlamps, but again, the cost is a lot more too. If you can’t afford to get solar headlamps now, invest in some inexpensive ones. We see them for around $3-$4 all of the time!
Depending on what your budget is, you can always invest in one or two high quality higher priced headlamps for those that may need them most, but having a headlamp for every family member just in case and getting the cheaper ones for this purpose.
A few notes, we bought these ones initially and two of them broke immediately – so the cheapest is not always the thriftiest! We have since invested in these ones that are $7 on Amazon, but Costco had a 3pk for $9.99. This is a seasonal item at Costco. We bought them in August. So whether you find them at Costco or Amazon, both have decently affordable options!
There are many, many head lamp options on Amazon, most all that are the best prices everyday with few exceptions, so a good place to get some!
You can also have a supply of light sticks! This is a great alternative to wax candles, especially for kids! I see in our situation, the biggest need for these would be to comfort kids at night! Running candles all night while they are sleeping, or keeping a flashlight turned on are both impractical and unsafe. But kids, in emergencies, find comfort in little things like this! Having a supply could help your kids and family sleep more comfortably.
For this same reason, you can also have a supply of the glow sticks or glow jewelry for your kids too! Only one stick is going to last one night, so you will want a good supply for this purpose!
But not only that, these light sticks can provide a low level of light, but also help others find you in an emergency (depending on the emergency).
The dollar store and Amazon HERE are the best places to get them!
Yes, I am talking about the common household lighting pre-1880’s before most did not have a lightbulb for light! Well, why not use them now for emergencies too? They are still just as practical and just as helpful as they were for those millions of households over 140 years ago.
Often, when we do talk about emergency preparedness, it very much leads us to living like those in the 19th century did!
Now you will need a supply of oil for your lamp, but it is a good thing to have! You can find these practically anywhere!
This is more of the modern spin on hurricane lamps, but modern again as limitations in emergencies! Most of them will require batteries… and big ones. But this could still be a good source of light. And again, if you have the budget, buying solar powered lanterns is going to be the best in emergencies.
There are many different lanterns available, so one of the best breakdowns and explanations that we have seen is on the REI sporting site HERE. They walk you through many pros/cons and features as well as battery life.
The pretty good size $4 solar lights!
Finally…. my favorite!! Now solar head lamps, battery chargers, lanterns and flashlights are quite pricey. BUT, just buying solar lights is very cheap! Even large solar lights can easily be found for less than $10, but for most purposes, the $1-$4 range will do! This is going to be our TOP recommendation! Line the outside of your home with solar lights, solar motion flood lights and keep a stock in the house. These are all not only great for emergencies, but everyday security and frugality! Using these solar lights will save you money on our power bill for outside lighting, the will be lights that come on whether you are home or not for security and for emergencies!
We also highly suggest that you get a couple of bigger lights (still less than $10 each) to help light a bigger room, and then get tons of $1 (.97 exactly at Walmart in the garden section) solar lights for everyone to have individually – kids LOVE these!
Store these in your emergency pile, then when disaster strikes, use your candles, flashlights, etc. but the very first “day” put your handheld small solar light stakes in a bucket or in the ground to charge. Then by night, everyone has a lamp they can carry with them!
Our one of many $1 Solar Lights perfect for indoor handheld use!
Over the 4th of July, we bought a lot of the $1 solar lights at the dollar store. All of them work beautifully and do a great job!
So determine your budget at $100 or less, even $10 and start an emergency supply of lighting options! Amazon is consistently the lowest prices and most convenient way to order them too!
As a quick note, we did want to point out one key consideration. Whether you are buying flashlights, head lamps, camping lanterns, etc. (basically anything needing batteries) the best options are to opt for LED as they usually have the longer battery life over the other types!
Now for the next part on lighting – the unique, odd and DIY ideas that actually work in making your own lighting options! We are going to share these ideas in a separate post, so be watching for that soon! These will be really fun ideas, even things to make with kids for fun.