My house just made it through several rounds of severe weather- really severe, with lots of tornadoes that killed people and destroyed homes. We were spared any damage, and we are grateful. However, our power was out for 24 hours. Again, we are grateful it was only 24 hours, because as I write, there are homes all around us that are still without power after several days.
When you find yourself without electricity, you realize how many things are taken for granted, one of which is light. There’s nothing like a good power outage to make you feel absolutely stupid every time you walk into a room and flip that dang switch, even though you know nothing is going to happen. But there are things you can do to have light, even when the switch doesn’t work!
These are the best for general lighting. They are cheap, the oil is cheap, and the replacement wicks are cheap. For around $15.00, you can set up one lantern that will last for years. I replace lamp oil about once annually. Kerosene lanterns put out a lot of light. They will light a room enough to play games, and if you have one nearby, you can read or do needlework. Kerosene lanterns are not easily transportable, however. They are best used in rooms such as a living room or kitchen, where they can be set in one place, on a sturdy surface that little ones can’t wiggle.
So, what do you use for transportable light?
Jars and Votive Candles
A votive candle in a half-pint canning jar works perfectly to carry light from room to room. The candle sits dow n deep i nside the jar, so when the candle is carried, the air does not blow out the flame. The flame sits in the middle of the jar and does not make the outside of the jar hot. And, it is the perfect size for little hands. Small c hildren can safely carry a candle in a half-pint jar from room to room.
Now, what about a room that needs a good light, but gets too much traffic for a kerosene lantern?
Bathroom and Bedroom Light
I like to use large scented candles that sit in their own jar. The Wal-mart brand is only around $5, and the scent goes throughout the candle, so it smells good all the way to the bottom. They come in a variety of scents, and you can purchase lamp tops to make them more decorative. These work well in bathrooms and bedrooms where you may want a light on throughout the entire night during the power outage, but you want it to be safe. They are too big for little hands to transport from room to room, but once the wick burns down beyond the rim of the jar, they transport well in big hands.
What if you don’t want any candles burning in your home at all?
Battery Powered Light
Rule #1 for battery-powered light: Stock up on the appropriate batteries.
Rule #2: See Rule #1!
No artificial light will work without electricty and batteries! BUY BATTERIES! Buy batteries for what?, you are probably asking. Since we are talking about light for the home during a power outage, you should shop for battery powered lanterns. Shelf Reliance has several battery powered lanterns to choose from. The UCO Candle Lantern is cost effective and versatile. The Eureka Magic 185 is more expensive but can also be used as a flashlight. It has several settings, and comes with the necessary AA batteries. Where have you ever seen a product with batteries included? The Eureka Guide 51 is also both a lantern and a flashlight. It, too, has batteries included!
It is so much easier to go through a major power outage if you are prepared. Light is one of the first things we miss, so plan now for the worst, and of course, hope for the best.