Survival Spot has published a list of the Top 100 Items to Disappear First During a National Disaster. Number 5 on that list is lamp oil.
I have been a fan of kerosene lamps from the beginning of my adult life. While I have never had to endure a power outage of more than 24 hours, even short outages are made more bearable by having some light. Kerosene lamps are pretty, inexpensive and practical. And they add a touch of warmth and hominess, even romance, to any evening, with or without a storm. For these reasons, a pretty kerosene lamp is my signature wedding gift!
When preparing for a long-term power outage, light is high on my personal list as well as Survival Spot’s. Obviously we need some light to move around our living area, but how comforting to be able to read or do needlework even without electricity. So how best to prepare a supply of kerosene lamps?
A more practical kerosene lantern is a hurricane lantern. These are more portable than the pretty ones, and just as practical. I found mine in the camping section of Wal-mart for less than $10. These will be used mainly for moving around outdoors in the dark, in the event our battery supply has been exhausted. If you have livestock, consider what will be the best light for you in performing your daily/evening chores. The pretty ones are useful, but they are difficult to carry around the house. They tend to be a bit top-heavy and might be dangerous if a little one bumps into the table the lamp is sitting on. For households without young children or obnoxious teenagers (who has ever heard of such a thing?), pretty kerosene lamps are terrific. They cost less than $10 at Wal-mart. If you like antiques, it is fun to find old kerosene lamps at yard sales and auctions. You can beautify your home, indulge a hobby, and get prepared all at the same time. Need permission to buy pretty things at yard sales? I just provided it!!
The lamps are useless without oil! The oil for a kerosene lamp will last longer than batteries for a flashlight. But it is obviously consumable, hence the need to stock up. Clear lamp oil is the best because it puts out less smoke. It is less than $5 for a liter or two, and is not combustible – so it is easy to store. I pick up a bottle with each monthly grocery trip.
If you have a lamp, and you have oil, you still cannot use them without wicks. They can be purchased at your local Wal-mart – in the candle department (which is also where you will find the oil and the pretty lamps.) These, too, are obviously consumable so you will want to stock up on them. Or you can stock up on the supplies to make your own!
If you find yourself in a dark situation, there is nothing like firelight to make you feel warm and cozy. Battery power is good, too, but
firelight is warmer, and lasts longer! Get prepared . . . and if it turns out you have no need for the kerosene lamps, you will still have items that beautify your home!