The power can go out at any time. Perhaps there's a lightning strike which takes down the power lines in your neighborhood, a terrorist attack knocks out the grid, or there's a disaster and the SHTF. Our lives today revolve around power, from the food we microwave, to the laptops and mobile phones we can't take our eyes from, and even the lights in your home. When the power's out, it can feel a little eerie. In the night, everything drops to pitch blackness, and the quiet as your fans and air conditioners fail to run can feel a little eerie. If your power went off, right now, what would you do? Of course having a flashlight in a drawer is common sense, and our team at APE Survival recommends having at least one flashlight stored in every room of your house, so you're not trying to rummage through storage boxes in your garage at 2am when the power's out to find a source of light. Here's how to keep your lights on when the powers out:
Flashlights Let's cover the obvious first, as most people are going to have a flashlight, somewhere in their home. But when was the last time you checked the batteries? These drain over time, and if you haven't used it in over a year there's a good chance it's going to be a dud. Plus, older flashlights are usually not all that bright, so it makes sense to invest in at least one decent flashlight for every member of your family. Backups can of course be headlamps, the apps which let your smartphone run as a torch, and I've even got a handful of cheap LED flashlights which I've put in every room of my house so there's a source of light within easy reach, no matter when the power goes out.
Crank flashlights Some survivalists swear by these, because you never have to worry about your batteries dying. Personally, I find the need to continually crank them to be annoying, and I would only ever use these in a short term situation. I keep one in the glove compartment of my car, just in case.
Battery-powered lamps Don't just invest in flashlights, in your camping supply store you'll find plenty of battery-powered lanterns, lamps and even electronic candles which can be used to light up your home during an outage. The downside though is they require batteries, so I'd also recommend investing in a bunch of rechargeable batteries and a solar charging kit.
Candles These are my go-to when the powers out, as candles will last forever in a drawer until you need them, and are straightforward to use. The only downside is the inherent fire risk because of the open flame, so be sure to stock up on the proper non-flammable holders for the candles you buy. They should always be set on a surface that won't be impacted by heat, and never set a tea-light candle burning without a holder, the heat will mark whatever it is resting on.
Oil and kerosene lamps Despite their retro style, these can work to produce a significant amount of light if you know how to use them. Of course, they have an open flame so care needs to be taken when you use them, and only ever use them in a well-ventilated room. The heat one of these lamps puts off will soon get uncomfortable, and the carbon dioxide they release is not good to breathe. If you choose to use an oil or kerosene lamp as part of your survival strategy, make sure you've got plenty of extra wicks on hand, and only ever store the lamp oil in the container you buy it in - it will eat through plastic.
Propane lamps Propane lamps connect straight to a gas cylinder, and you'll remember these from your family camping trips. As a light source they are fantastic as they put out a massive amount of light, but because of the high amount of oxygen they burn, as well as the heat they generate, propane lamps are best used outside. You're also going to need to stock up on extra propane bottles, as they tend to run out far quicker than you would realize.
Solar-powered lamps You can get both indoor and outdoor versions, and they work simply by absorbing the energy from the sun, and then using this energy to power the charge in their light during the night. Some of the indoor versions also have in-built dynamos so you can charge them by hand on a cloudy day, and some models even provide charging ports so you can use it to charge other devices, like your phone.
Phone-line powered lamps It's a little known fact that there's a very low level of power running through your phone line. It's not enough to power any major appliances, but you can now buy LED desk lamps that connect to your phone jack which allow you to tap into this power source. It's a great backup for when the power's out but the phone lines are still operational.
Glow sticks If you've got young kids using glow sticks is a great way to keep them entertained through an outage. They're long lasting, provide a decent amount of light, and are fairly inexpensive to buy and stock with your emergency supplies.
Car conversion kits There are adapters you can get for your car that enable you to turn the voltage that comes through your cigarette lighter jack into power that you can use to charge all of your batteries, devices, laptops and phone. Of course, your car needs to be running for this to be able to charge, and eventually if the SHTF there's not going to be enough gas left for your car, but in a pinch it'll allow you to charge all of your batteries, and get your phone and laptop to 100%.
The generator The last item on the list is the most practical, and most preppers have already got it organized. Should the power go out in my house it's not a problem, as once my wife and kids have had enough fun playing in the dark I'll simply start the generator and we'll be back in business. Of course this solution also relies on gas to keep it running, and unfortunately it's not going to be able to light my house up like a Christmas tree, but mine has enough output to run my fridge, and get the lights back on, when used in combination to my solar cells I've got installed on the roof. As a society we're all too reliant on 'the grid' for our power. Should it ever go down, the majority of Americans are going to be in massive trouble, so take our advice, get the preps you need in place so that you can thrive once the SHTF, and keep your lights on.