Find Cheap Emergency Lighting Before the Next Power Failure

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

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.


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  1. Go to Harbour Freight when they have their sale and catch the solar yard lights on ad and buy a ten pack. Wal-Mart sells faceted canning jars, buy a case of 12, the 8 ounce size, and take the flat lid out.

    Take the bottom stake off the solar light and it will fit perfectly in the small jar; make sure the light is turned off and screw the top on.

    Put them outside, turned off and if you have a power outage you have 10 charged,bright lights. I use them two or three at a time and they last a long time.

    Recharge each day

  2. I thank you for posting this blog. I did not consider tap lights. I will have to add these to my list. Thank you for all the great posts.

  3. Hey! Great idea about the solar garden lights. I am in the process of expanding my apartment’s balcony garden, and a few solar lights could be a great addition. They are “somewhat” reliable – my mom purchased a few of these several years ago, and they slowly petered out after two or three years… but in the meantime, they did provide a pretty good glow around her patio, and I’m sure they would provide a pretty decent glow inside an apartment – at least enough to navigate through the furniture, while keeping a candle or something similar to read with.

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