I favor LED flashlights. The one I carry in my bag will go at least 150 hours
on 4 AA cells.
My reasoning is that when we used candles/lanterns we were using technology that
we seldom used. Therefore out competence with same would have been minimal at
best. Think about somebody who only drives a car once a year..... Since the
consequences of misuse are grave with any kind of flame, it seems like battery
lights are the sensible choice for occasional short-term use.
I discovered a couple of years ago during a power outage at my parents' that
the disposable chemical light sticks put out a pretty good light. I was able
to easily navigate my way around the house, use the bathroom, etc. I suspect
one could be used for reading if held close enough. Incredibly, they were
still going the next morning. They're pretty cheap, as well. I bought
several at a sporting goods store for my home.
Every time we have a long outage in my fire departments service area we
run a candle caused fire. In a city of only nineteen thousand souls
that is a very high rate of candle caused fires. We campaign against
the use of open flame lights during power outages because of our
That said the previous posters statement that the lack of familiarity is
what makes them dangerous rings true to me. Be advised that it heresy
for a firefighter to say this but I think that combustible liquid fueled
lanterns and solid candle lanterns could be used safely. The thing I
will argue against is bringing any flammable liquid fuel inside your
home. On that basis Kerosene is OK in a non breakable reservoir lantern
but coleman fuel, white gas, naphtha or any other fuel that will readily
ignite in it's liquid state without a wick or preheating should not be
brought inside your home. The Britelyt genuine Petromax lanterns are a
wonderful disaster preparedness light because they will burn almost any
combustible or flammable liquid from bio diesel to alcohol. Plan ahead
for the use of lanterns and have a safe place to hang them out of the
reach of children and away from common combustibles. You can also have
fixed propane and natural gas mantle lanterns anywhere you have a gas
Well we aren't no thin blue heroes and yet we aren't no blackguards to.
We're just working men and woman most remarkable like you.
I like this LED lantern:
If you set it on the table and put your book on table there's plenty
of light to read by. At max brightness it runs 40 hours on a set of D
cells, if you dim it you can leave it on for 12 *days*.
If you are having ice storms, your first necessity is heat. I have a
few cords of dry firewood in a woodshed, and a 30-year-old Fisher
Mamma Bear. It heats the whole house nicely. There are several other
options for heat, like portable kerosene heaters, or a generator wired
up to run a furnace. Obviously, electric heat is not a good idea
during a power outage.
Your second need (some would say first) is water. Without water, your
toilet won't work. Basic sanitation is a necessity of life. If you
are on a municipal water system, you are in pretty good shape, except
in cases of earthquake. I am rural and get water from a well that
isn't reliable in the summer, so I set up a 2500 gallon cistern to
store whatever water is available. The bottom of the cistern is level
with the window sills, so during power outages it provides gravity
flow to fill the toilets. If we want a shower, we have to fire off a
generator to run the pump.
Another critical need is a survival kit. 30 days of any medication.
Gloves. Emergency ponchos and space blankets. Emergency flares and
fire lighters. Water purification tablets. Keep it in your car.
There's no guarantee that you will be able to get home immediately.
Be ready to take care of yourself wherever you are.
For food, just stock a pantry with dried and canned foods. A camp
stove will do all the cooking you need. I have a travel trailer and a
camp kitchen with a propane barbecue and 2-burner propane hot plate.
During the last big outage, I never used them. We just cooked on top
of the wood stove. Pot roast. Yum. Coffee. Pancakes. Chili.
Stew. Sloppy Joes. A manual drip coffee maker and a hand coffee
grinder are very nice. I bought the coffee grinder after being
reduced to smashing coffee beans with a claw hammer one icy morning.
As a backup, learn to make cowboy coffee.
Light is handy, particularly for winter outages. If you have pets,
locate any flames where the pets can't knock a lamp or candle over and
burn your house down. I have candle sconces and wall mount kerosene
lamps to provide light, all of which hang 6' off the floor, well above
the height of wagging doggy tails. For a porch light, I hang a
kerosene storm lantern by the front door. It's cheery.
Aladdin lamps are bright, but they burn HOT! They can't be near a
ceiling, or they will set the ceiling on fire. Around animals, they
can't be left unattended. Fluorescent lanterns put out a lot of
light, and can be found that run off of D cells.
One of my favorite lights is an LED clip-on book light, that provides
plenty of light for reading. It provides about 300 hours of light
from a couple AA batteries.
Generators are handy things. They make electricity when the delivery
guy doesn't show up. I think most people over-do the generator
thing. I don't even bother to get a generator out until the second
day of an outage. I have one generator big enough to run the electric
water heater or the well pump, but not both at once. I heat a tank of
water, turn the tank off and the pump on, and take a shower. A shower
is luxury. It sure beats a sponge bath. The big generator eats a
gallon and a quarter of gas an hour. For general electrical power, I
have a little 2-cycle 1200 watt generator that will run 4.5 hours on a
gallon of fuel. 1200 watts is plenty to run the fridge and freezer,
some lights, a computer or TV set. It's also so quiet that it doesn't
irritate me or my neighbors. I think it cost $149.
Most of the time, I just hark back to the 19th century and do without
electricity. A couple hours of electricity a day is plenty to keep
the freezer frozen and take showers. The rest of the time, my house
is snug and warm without electricity.
Other things that are handy:
A NOAA weather radio.
A GOOD battery powered radio. I have a Realistic DX-440 that is
A battery powered travel alarm clock.
Battery powered carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
Batteries. Alkaline batteries have a shelf life measured in years, so
Lots of candles. I keep 40 or 50 on a shelf in the garage.
Lamp oil. I keep a gallon of the scentless paraffin oil handy, and
can substitute another gallon of kerosene if things get tough.
A hard wired telephone extension or two. I have a couple princess
phones that I plug in at opposite ends of the house.
A gasket kit for the generator, if you know how to repair small
Several good books you haven't read.
I was surprised at how much more efficient my new generator is. The old
unit was a 5.5kW splash lubricated flat head. My replacement is a 8.5kW
pressure lubricated overhead cam engine. I'm assuming the major difference
in fuel efficiency is the change from flat head to overhead valves. The old
unit burned a little over a gallon an hour at "typical" load - usually near
full load. I run a little more load on the new unit and it's burning .55
gallons per hour.
That's similar in size to a Miller or Lincoln mid-size engine-drive
arc welder. For that size engine (16-20 hp) compare the pricing to a
Miller Bobcat or Lincoln Ranger and you have an arc welder along with
Brush generators usually put out much better power than brushless units do -
at least the low cost quadniture excited brushless units. Some of the
welder generators put out dirty power becuase they are inverter units that
use cheap square wave (AKA modified sine wave) inverters.
Just a coda on the power outage prep thread:
I stopped by the Goodwill Last Chance store yesterday, and bought a
whole shopping bag full of candles for $1. If you are not familiar with
Goodwill, they have outlet stores where they keep things for 24 hours
before they are trashed or recycled. It's stuff that didn't sell in the
regular store, so it's pretty much "make an offer."
Anyway, I bought about 35 lbs of candles for $1. About half the weight
was pillar candles, and about half was tapers. Thanks to this little
foray, I now have about 80 or 90 tapers on hand. I guess now I need to
keep my eyes open for a candelabra.
For email, replace firstnamelastinitial
with my first name and last initial.
I've got a couple of packs of "emergency" candles in my kit somewhere
but to be honest, they'll be the last things I light up in an emergency.
Good flashlights are not very expensive, won't set the drapes on fire
and they don't set off smoke alarms or leave soot on the ceiling.
Everybody to their own, I guess. I find flashlights to be garish and
unpleasant, good for getting down a muddy path at night, but hardly the
sort of thing I want to use in my house. I haven't set the drapes on
fire or put soot on anything yet, and I have never seen a candle set off
a smoke detector.
For email, replace firstnamelastinitial
with my first name and last initial.
On Wed, 14 Mar 2007 16:59:09 -1000, in misc.consumers.frugal-living Maren Purves
In a local town this year the power went out, old woman lit a candle then fell
and dropped the candle, house caught on fire and she could not find the phone in
the dark. Her house burned down. Very sad but true story.
| In a local town this year the power went out, old woman lit a candle then
| and dropped the candle, house caught on fire and she could not find the
| the dark. Her house burned down. Very sad but true story.
The house was buring with a dark flame?
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