Find Cheap Emergency Lighting Before the Next Power Failure

Find Cheap Emergency Lighting

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A couple of weeks ago, the main energy provider for the city had two transformers blow up and over 13,000 residents in one part of town suddenly lost power.   It happened right around dinnertime – I am sure a lot of people were caught unawares.

So I thought, why not take a weekend and put together a bin or bucket of emergency lights, so you are ready for the next power outage.

Here are just a few options:

  • Hit the garage sales and thrift stores and pick up candles.  When I was at Goodwill I saw a lot of unused brand name candles, selling at a fraction of their original price.  Garage sale season has started – you may get lucky and find camping lanterns and flashlights at the same time.  I know candles can be fire hazards, and you can’t light a match if you suspect a gas leak such as after an earthquake, but for a simple power outage that randomly occurs, candles will suffice.  Practice common sense and keep them away from children, curtains etc.
  • Pick up tea lights at a discount store or at the dollar store.  Obtain baby food jars for free from friends who have toddlers, and use with the tea lights.  Don’t forget to pick up a pack or two of glow sticks a the dollar store.
  • Go to a home improvement store and buy solar garden lights  The beauty of solar garden lights is you can leave them out in the sun, they get recharged and you can bring them inside when it’s dark.  Place in a nice vase or stand and you’re all set.
  • Tap lights are great to have on the night stand, as well as in closets and garages.  Pick up a dozen and place them all over the house.  The next time you have a power outage, just reach over for instant illumination.  Just make sure the batteries are fresh.  Tell the kids where they are so they can always find them.  (Just be aware:  kids who love to read will use them as lamps after you’ve tucked them in!)
  • Before an emergency happens, take the time to make a cheap emergency lamp from household items, or a bacon grease lamp.  Or learn how to make a 2000-hour flashlight.  These are all super cheap and made with things you already have around the house.
  • Make sure you have enough matches and lighters.
  • After you’ve obtained emergency lighting, go a step further and prepare for the next power outage.  Having these items on hand will also ensure you won’t be one of the hapless crowds running to the store right before a hurricane or ice storms when all these supplies sell out.

Anything can happen that interrupts our electricity.   Hopefully your next power outage will be a short one, but if you do the above, you’ll be ready.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Get out of debt

Bargain E-book for a Long Lasting Emergency Light

2000HrFlashlightI purchased a copy of The Amazing 2000-Hour Flashlight by Ron Brown.  It’s a manual that shows you how to add a 30-cent resistor to a $5 flashlight, to create a light that will run for 2000 hours on the same battery.   The e-book contains step by step instructions and includes illustrations.  You can’t buy such a light from a store; you have to make it yourself.

I first heard about the author, Ron Brown through his DVD, Lanterns, Lamps and Candles.  After learning from his DVD, I went on to experiment with making emergency lights from common household items and they were all super cheap and easy.  The e-book’s Foreword was written by Gaye Levy, who runs one of my favorite blogs, Backdoor Survival.  With two trusted writers, I figured this book is sure to be a treasure trove of information.

Being the inquiring mind, I asked Ron Brown a question that I am sure comes up:

APT PREPPER:  The book description indicates “using illumination for 2000 hours”  – how many lumens would you estimate the light to be?

RON BROWN:  You’ve asked an excellent question but not a simple one to answer. So I’m going to quote from the book itself (sans illustrations).

“When I first added a 150-ohm resistor to a flashlight, I was concerned about how much light it would produce. So I compared my newly modified light to a variety of other flashlights I already owned.

“In preparing a sequel to Lanterns, Lamps & Candles that would address electric emergency lighting (a future project, as it turns out), I accumulated a fair assortment of flashlights, old and new, borrowed and blue.

“Comparing them, I found that the Eveready 5109LS with a 150-ohm resistor was right down the middle, neither the brightest nor the dimmest of what I had on hand. So, even with the resistor in place, it’s fair to say that the light output is “good.” Not great, I’ll be the first to admit, but good.

“Now, what can I use as a cutoff point, a minimum, a threshold, to say that it’s NOT good anymore? Here’s where it gets sticky.

“Flashlights are commonly rated in “lumens” and most lights provide that info on the label. The Eveready 5109LS does not. Online, however, various sellers (e.g. Best Buy, Walmart) state that the 5109LS outputs 25 lumens.

“What the 5109LS wrapper does display is a little clock icon that says ‘FL 1 Standard 65h’ (meaning 65 hours). ‘FL 1′ stands for ANSI/NEMA FL 1 – Flashlight Basic Performance Standard. In that standard, run time is defined as ‘the continuous time lapsed from the initial light output to when the light is at 10% of the initial output.’

“So the FL 1 standard uses circular reasoning. A flashlight is measured in terms of itself. If the 5109LS starts out at 25 lumens, when it reaches 2.5 lumens its run time is deemed to have expired. (According to Eveready, that’s 65 hours.)

“I would argue that we need a fixed standard of comparison, not a moving target. When I’m trying to compare light output and battery life using a 56-ohm resistor versus a 150-ohm resistor versus no resistor at all, a run-time benchmark defined as ‘10% of wherever you started’ is useless.

“So I picked a light that supplies, in my opinion, a minimum threshold of useful light. It’s a keychain light, the Maglite Solitaire. It’s been around since 1988 and kicks out a blazing 2 lumens. Count ’em. Two.

“Although the two-lumen Solitaire will not inspire Tarzan-yells and chest beating, it does produce sufficient light to be useful. You’ll be able to find your way to the privy at midnight. It’s a practical standard by which to compare various flashlight designs. And it’s widely available; Walmart carries it.

“I bought a new Solitaire. The Solitaire’s blister-pack contained a Duracell alkaline battery in addition to the flashlight. I swapped out the Duracell for a new Energizer Ultimate Lithium battery. I removed the lithium battery from the Solitaire between tests.

“I used a pass/fail test. As long as the flashlight being tested was visibly brighter than the brand new Solitaire, I judged the test-light as ‘passing.’ I would waggle my finger at the test-light and say, ‘Keep on trucking.’

“When the light being tested had dimmed to the point of being MERELY EQUAL to the brand new Solitaire, I judged the test-light to have ‘failed.’ I would then jerk my thumb and yell at the test-light, ‘You’re outta here.’

“That was my standard. That’s where the 2000 hours came from. 

“You might well ask, of course, ‘How did you determine visibly brighter?’

“In answer, the simplest test I found was to stand in a dark room with the light being tested in one hand and the Solitaire (the control or standard) in the other and shine the lights in quick succession, one after the other, at an analog wall clock with a sweep second hand, twenty feet away. If you try it, you’ll discover there really isn’t much question about which one best illuminates the clock face.”

This response shows how thoroughly this book is written.

I have read through it and found that the materials are very easy to find, and the instructions are easy for me to figure out.  I am going out to get the parts and assemble a couple of these 2000 hour lights for myself.  Having an emergency light that’ll last for 2000 hours is certainly a money-saver for apartment dwellers and homeowners alike.   This information is a bargain at  99 cents and I highly recommend this e-book.

2000HrFlashlight

The Prepper’s Pantry

The Prepper’s Pantry

Incredibly Simple and Cheap Emergency Lamp

20121218_145352It’s been a couple of months since my last homemade lamp creation, and it continues to be a very popular post.  I thought it’s about time to try making an even simpler one, with items that can be found in most homes.  This lamp, as my previous one, was learned from reading  Lanterns, Lamps & Candles by Ron Brown, which contains a wealth of information about emergency lighting.

The items needed for this lamp are super easy to find:

20121218_144900

Cotton ball or cotton puff

Glass container – I used a clear candle holder from Goodwill, but you can use a cereal bowl or even a tuna can

Vegetable oil

Aluminum foil

Matches or lighter

Flammable liquid (you can use a drop of nail polish, nail polish remover or petroleum jelly)

Directions:

20121218_145018

  1. Soak the cotton ball with vegetable oil. Shape a little tip on one side of the cotton ball.  This will be your wick.20121218_145117
  2. Cut a piece of aluminum foil the size of a nickel and poke a small hole in the middle with pencil.20121218_145226
  3. Pull the tip of the cotton ball through the hole in the aluminum foil.
  4. Place a drop of flammable solution (petroleum jelly, polish remover or nail polish) on the cotton ball tip.
  5. Light the cotton ball wick.

This lamp should last for a couple of hours.

20121218_145352

I realize there are cheaper fuels that vegetable oil, but it is good to know how to make  lamps from easy to find materials in case of emergency.

 

For beginning preppers

 

ReadyMade Resources is a trusted source for your preparedness supplies:

 

Find products that are equally functional for wilderness survival as well as urban preparedness:

 

 

 

Learn about Lanterns, Lamps and Candles before the Next Power Outage

Lanterns, Lamps and Candles DVD

I recently finished reading Lanterns, Lamps and Candles:  A User’s Guide by Ron Brown.  It is an e-book that is available on CD.  The book delivers just what the title says:  everything you need to know about lanterns lamps and candles.  It tells you the various types of emergency light, fuel types, safety tips, complete with instructions on how to make your own.

I learned a lot about emergency lighting from reading this book.  It was interesting to find out there is a lot of misinformation on the internet regarding this subject.  You’ll also become more knowledgeable about what fuels can be used with what items, and whether certain fuels are interchangeable.  Even if you are not that interested in fuel types, it will come in handy should you ever need to improvise in an emergency.  Knowing this also increases your safety, as you won’t be making mistakes in misusing fuels.

As regular readers know, I enjoy testing things and do-it-yourself type instructions, of which this CD has an abundance.  I hope to make some of the simple lighting projects, especially those that are made with items readily found around any home.  If you don’t have a lot of room to store extra gadgets, knowing how to make your own lighting from various materials will save you space, time and money.

Ron Brown, the author, is a retired industrial engineer.  He is quite knowledgeable regarding the subject matter, and it is evident in the examples and anecdotes given.

This is not a book to speed read or multi-task through, as it contains very detailed information that should be absorbed. This is not a flaw, just an observation.  The book is only available in CD format, but you can always print out a few pages of instructions so you can follow step by step.  I liked that it contains lots of color photos, a glossary and an index

At some point, we will all experience a power outage and knowing how to provide lighting is a valuable skill.  The time to learn how to do things is now, and not in the midst of an emergency.   This book will tell you all you need to know about emergency lighting.  For this reason I recommend Lanterns, Lamps and Candles.  The CD is available from http://rc-publishing.com/index.html.

 

ReadyMade Resources is a trusted source for your preparedness supplies: