emergency lighting–{disaster prep day 10}

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Today’s action step, as part of the disaster preparation series, is to invest in a couple of torches and one other lighting alternative.

Are You Ready As I mentioned yesterday, power outages can happen to anyone, any time. Even if the outage is for only an hour or so, if it occurs at night, it’s a bummer stumbling around looking for a torch or candle. It’s even more of a bummer (speaking from experience) if you don’t have a torch or candle at all.

It’s surprising how dark it can get during a power outage. Without the ambient light from screens, clocks and standby lights, and without external lights from neighbours and streetlights, you can find yourself looking for a torch in pitch darkness.

Which is why it’s important to have a few in specific places around the house. That way, if you suddenly need a torch (and these things always happen without warning), you know exactly where you can find one.

Here are a few alternate lighting ideas for when the lights go out.


Hand cranked or wind up torches are great because they don’t need batteries. You can buy these from the hardware store.

If you use flashlights with batteries, keep some spare batteries on hand. It’s a good idea to store infrequently used flashlights in an easily accessible bag or box with spare batteries not in the flashlight to avoid corroded batteries in the flashlight.


Candles are a popular option for ambient light, but they do pose a fire hazard. If you store candles, make sure you also have matches or lighters on hand to light the candles.

Night lights

We have a few cheap, battery powered night lights. They aren’t great for lighting up a room, but they give enough light so we’re not tripping over furniture, and they are good in the kid’s rooms too.

LED Battery Lanterns

You can find these at your local camp store. They are great for lighting a whole room, if you need to do things while it’s dark.

The downside to these lanterns is the batteries need to be recharged. Store a spare battery for extended use.

Gas Lantern

An alternative to battery powered lanterns, you need to store spare gas to fuel these lanterns. These lanterns can also be a fire hazard.

Oil / Hurricane / Kerosene / Paraffin Lamp

These lamps work by burning fuel. They are widely used for lighting around the world where there is no electricity or it is too costly. They can light whole rooms.

You will need to store extra fuel if you choose this option. As with the other options, these can also be a fire hazard, so due caution is required.

solar powered lights

Solar powered garden lights are an inexpensive option for night time lighting, assuming you have some sun to recharge them during the day.


Not something we would often think of, a headlamp is great for hands free lighting!

Frugal husband bought his father a cap with an LED light in the brim for Father’s Day last year. It has quite a powerful light and would be very useful during a power outage.

Light sticks

Light sticks are a bit of fun and can take the fear of darkness away for children.

They are also good to have if you live in an earthquake prone area, where gas lines might be damaged after an earthquake and a spark could cause an explosion. Even a flashlight can cause a spark – a light stick is a safer option.


Finally, if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, this can be a source of light as well as heat and a way of cooking food.

Just like in the old days.

A power outage doesn’t just happen in a disaster scenario – it can happen any time. So it’s important to have some alternate lighting options on hand, rather than stumbling around in the dark.


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  1. This is not just a problem at home.

    A power cut when you are on holiday can be a real problem as an unfamiliar room in total darkness is a real problem. I always have a small LED torch in my toilet bag when I travel.

    Also most modern smartphones have a torch app. although the battery life is a problem.

    1. I agree!

      We took a torch and an LED night light this year when we went on holiday – I read it somewhere that it’s a good idea, especially if you have kids, because hotel rooms can get very dark (even if the power hasn’t gone). They both came in handy!! I won’t travel without a torch again.

  2. This tip was emailed to me:

    “We use solar Xmas Lights. Used them camping and in power cuts and on the pergola so always charged. Surprisingly good when your eyes adjusted. ”

    Thanks for the tip!!