One of the things you can almost be sure of is that if a
hurricane hits your area, the commercial power grid is going to fail.
Depending on where you live and how bad the infrastructure is
damaged by the storm, it may be days, weeks or months
before power is restored. Even one night in total darkness
can be scary, or even very dangerous. There are several
lighting options to choose from as you prepare your emergency
You will notice that none
of the lights I have listed on my web site include those with an
open flame. This includes candles, "hurricane
lamps", and gas or kerosene lanterns. There is just
too great of a potential for fire with these types of
illumination. And remember, if you set your house on fire
in the middle of a hurricane, you've got yourself a very serious
problem! So my advice is to avoid open flame light sources
for emergency lighting.
Those lights that
concentrate their rays into a narrow beam are called spot
lights. Most conventional flashlights fit this
category. These lights are especially suited for emergency
work for several reasons. First, they tend to cast their
beam a relatively long distance. This is useful when
trying to see objects far away, such when inspecting the roof of
your residence for storm damage, looking out to see rising
water, or to look for a lost pet.
Like most things, you tend
to get the quality you pay for. Maglites are certainly an
example of this rule. I paid about $16 for my Maglite,
which was a significant amount of money when I purchased it over
ten years ago. However, after these many years of use,
it's still in great shape and can be counted on in an emergency.
The "D" cell
Maglites are available with either a conventional light bulb or
a high intensity LED. The LED-style flashlights have an
almost unlimited bulb life and are immune to the shock and
impact that you would subject them to under normal use.
This makes them especially suitable for emergency use because
the odds are much lower that you'll ever experience a bulb
failure. Additionally, LED light sources tend to be much
more efficient, which means the batteries should last
longer. Though the LED version of this light is roughly
twice as expensive as the conventional bulb version, it may be a
good long term investment for your emergency supply
Finally, it's worth noting
that the Maglite flashlights are widely used by police, fire and
EMS responders nationwide. This is further testimony to
their ruggedness and reliability. If I could only have one
flashlight for emergency use, it would be a three "D"
The "D" cell Maglite is one of the best all-around
lights for emergency use
Though I don't recommend
them as your only emergency light, self-powered lights are a
great supplement to your emergency lighting kit. The
reason I don't depend on them is the unpredictable nature of the
battery charge, and the potential for the moving parts to break
in and emergency. Even though you don't have to install
batteries in them, they all have some type of internal
rechargeable battery which will eventually fail. In the
middle of a hurricane is a bad time to have your sole light
source die on you!
I do like these lights for
children to play with when the power goes of. The crank
makes gives them something to do (and helps burn excess energy),
and they can play with them as much as they like without running
through the emergency batteries. But as I mentioned above,
these should be used as a supplemental light and not your
primary light source.
emergency light doesn't use conventional batteries.
Instead, it can be recharged repeatedly by spinning the crank.
Lights - Small
A small area light such as
the Coleman LED MicroPackerTM is a great little
light for illuminating a small or confined space. These
lamps are excellent for lighting up a toilet area, child's room,
home stairwell, or other limited area. This high-efficiency LED
lamp will run for several days on three AAA
batteries, and provides a surprising amount of light. At a
retail price of $9.95, you can afford to have several on hand.
This Coleman LED MicroPacker (TM) is a great light
for limited areas.
It will run for several days on three AAA batteries.
Lights - Large
I've tried several of the
lanterns and the best I've found is the Ray-O-Vac Sportsman
Lantern. It's well constructed and provides a significant
amount of light for the size. These lights can be highly
beneficial in a power outage because they illuminate such
a large area. This can not only provide adequate lighting
for home repairs, preparing meals, and reading, but also
provides a psychological boost by allowing activities that give
some semblance of normalcy. New for this year is the LED
version. This light only requires three "D" cell
batteries, and runs two to three times as long as the former fluorescent
model while actually producing more light.
The RAYOVAC Sportsman lantern is great for illuminating a
large area of your home
During a power outage after a hurricane, you may wish to only
light select areas of the house in order to conserve your
batteries. In that case, you'll need a small pocket light
to use as you go to unlighted areas of the home. There are
a variety of great lights on the market for this purpose.
But one of the best ones for the money that I've found is the
100 lumen lights made by Defiant. They are available at
Home Depot in a package of two for nine dollars. They run
for several hours at a time on just three AAA batteries, and
produce a brilliant light with a relatively long range.
For the money, they're hard to beat!
The Defiant 100
lumen pocket lights from Home Depot
As far as bang for the buck, I prefer alkaline batteries for
most of my devices. This is especially true for
lighting. I tested four name brand batteries in both the AA and "D" cell sizes to see which would
last the longest under simulated flashlight load conditions
(using a West Mountain Battery Analyzer). For AA batteries, the least expensive (COSTCO Kirkland
brand) performed the best. For "D" batteries,
Ray-O-Vac was the winner. Keep in mind that depending on
the type of load and current draw, the results of this testing
may vary. For instance, in a low current drain application
such as an MP3 player, another battery may have been the top
performer. But for your purposes, this is a pretty good
place to start.
my computerized load testing, I found the COSTCO Kirkland AA
batteries lasted the longest under a flashlight load
my computerized load testing, I found the Ray-O-Vac
batteries lasted the longest under a flashlight load simulation
LED Sportsman Lantern
Battery Powered Lights