Buying a Bear River Rocket Stove is a HUGE way to be prepared for emergencies. But there are several small, inexpensive ways you can be prepared. As part of our mission to foster emergency preparedness, Bear River Rocket Stoves offers some simple suggestions. The product links in this article will take you to our specific recommendations on Amazon.
Light is so important to emergency preparedness. I’m not talking about post-apocalyptic, end-of-the-world emergency preparedness. I’m talking about your run-of-the-mill, brief-power- outage, sleeping-in-the-backyard, having-a-flashlight-because-your-hike took-longer-than- expected, getting-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-see-if-your-sprinklers-are-leaking, car-dies-on-a-lonely-country-road-with-ax-murderers-lurking-nearby kind of emergencies.
Face it: you feel safe when you can see.
It might come from our pineal gland, centered deep between our eyes at the base of the brain. Scientific researchers believe not enough light to the pineal gland in the winters is the cause of Seasonal Affects Disorder. Cultural researchers believe the pineal gland to be the “third eye” of awareness and inner light discussed in many ancient Eastern religions.
Wherever our need for light comes from, controlling it is one of the advances that makes our modern society different. Our days aren’t limited to the sun’s presence. Though candles, torches, and campfires solved the problem of night blindness, here’s a shout-out to electricity: As a human race, we’ve grown accustomed to being able to see whenever we want to.
So, don’t be caught in the dark. Whether it’s a campout in the backyard or weathering a power outage, you may need emergency light sources in various places.
The important thing to remember about lighting in emergency preparedness is not just the what, but also the where. Here are 5 emergency light solutions and places to store them:
Candles are the most basic light source available. They’re cheap, readily available, and easy-to-use. Candles are appropriate in most home power outage situations. If you ever suspect a natural gas leak, candles are NOT the answer.
I like to burn soy candles in my home because they are a renewable, plant-based energy source and give off less soot than petroleum-based paraffin candles.
Where? Everywhere in your home.
Candles make the perfect home emergency light source because they are decorative. It is very easy to add a candle to each room in your home.
Power outages can happen at any time and it’s important to be prepared. Heavy winter storms, lightning strikes during spring thunderstorms, and over-strain on the power grid in the summer are just some of the reasons for the power to go out. When the power does go out, it’s super-handy to have candles in place in every room because you will avoid the ironic activity of searching for candles in the dark.
It seems too simple to even suggest, but power outages happen unexpectedly and it’s easy to get caught off guard. Even if you have decorative candles prominently in every room of your home, candles aren’t any good without matches.
You can get as fancy as you want with emergency matches. Small kitchen matches are available in mini-boxes of 32 matches and available in a 10-pack from Amazon for $5.20.
Where? Everywhere you have candles
Store matches by every candle to be ready to shed light on emergency situations. Buy several small boxes of kitchen matches and place near your candles. Of course, if you have children, teenagers, or pyromaniacs in the house you will want to store the matches out of sight.
Mirrors reflect light, essentially doubling your light output for free. Placing candles near mirrors doubles the amount of light output. While mirrors won’t help increase light if you don’t have light to start with, they do wonders for multiplying the light of candles, flashlights, or lanterns.
Where? Group with candles for decorative and illuminative effect.
Just as candles can be an decorative emergency preparedness item, mirrors can also serve that purpose in your house. Work with the mirrors you have in your house for optimum emergency lighting. Placing candles by your bathroom mirrors increases light in the bathroom. We have a mirror above our stove to give us the illusion of having a bigger kitchen. Turns out it’s also super-handy in power outages: candles placed on our range give double the light due to the mirrors.
Decorative mirrors by the entry or above a shelf in the living room or family room create a nice arrangement and an ideal set-up for emergency home light.
What? Glow sticks
So, glow sticks don’t really radiate light, per se. They basically just keep their light in place and, well...glow. So, while glowsticks aren’t ideal for finding your way down a rocky mountain path at night, or even finding your way to the bathroom, they are better than nothing, easy to store, and they do provide a sense of comfort.
What glowsticks are useful for is locating. Want people to spot your campsite? Lost in the wilderness? Snap open a glowstick for easy visibility. Car won’t start on a busy road? Place glowsticks on the road as a warning. Children need a night light during a thunderstorm? Snap open a glowstick to put by their bed. Don’t want to lose said children at outdoor events or at the fireworks? Give them a glowstick necklace.
Glowsticks are quite inexpensive and can be purchased in packs of 6 at dollar stores. However, the quality is questionable and not every glowstick in the packs works. US-made Cyalume glowsticks come individually wrapped in a foil pack and boast 12-hour duration and 5-year shelf life.
Where? Anywhere a little light would come in handy
Keep a few glowsticks in your cars--in the glove compartment,where they can be easily reached. Keep them in your trailers, and campers. A foil-wrapped glowstick or two in your tent back might come in handy if you get to a campsite late and need to set up the tent in the dark. Keep glowsticks in your emergency packs. You should have an emergency pack in your car, your office, and by the door. Keep them in your picnic bag. Keep them in your first aid kit.
What? Crank Flashlights
Battery operated flashlights are a great thing, provided you have batteries. Hand-crank flashlights ensure you will always have the power source for your flashlight when you need it because that power source is you.
Where? The usual places
Keep flashlights by each bed, on top of the refrigerator, and at the entrances of your house. That way, you will always have a flashlight in an emergency unless your kids like to take your flashlights in order to play Egyptian tomb explorer. In which case, you’re better off hiding the flashlights as you hid the matches.
What? Inflatable solar camping lights
I’ve saved my a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e favorite suggestion for last: The solar-powered inflatable camping light by Luci. I first found out about them when my dad loaned me one for a camping trip, and I was SOLD.
The sun charges it. It’s so much lighter to carry than a flashlight. It gives out great latern-quality light. There are no matches to mess with and no batteries to worry about.
You see, I am SO DONE with battery flashlights. I’ve kept flashlights in the first aid kit, in the hall closet, and in the car, only to find that in an emergency--or even just routine packing for camping trips--the batteries are dead, corroded, or both. And worse, I find the extra batteries I’ve stored have been sacrificed to the Wii controller or to power late nights reading in the treehouse. Who wants to run to the store in a frenzy for a new flashlight or more batteries? Not me.
The Luci solar-powered camping lights are life-changing if you hike or camp. They are lightweight, inexpensive, and hold a charge for several months. Just tie them to your pack while you hike, or let the solar cells charge on the dashboard while you drive. The light will last all night if you leave it on. The lights are LED, so they will last for YEARS. We prefer the clear lights because the light is (wait for it…) clear, and brighter than the frosted lights.
My dad left his on the dashboard or his parked car in the summer--a thing the manufacturer tells you specifically NOT to do. The power button is now a bit persnickety, but it still works. These solar camping lights are A-MAZ-ING.
I keep one in my hiking bag. I keep a few around the house. This year, I’m going to buy several for the yard and hang them in the trees to provide ambient lighting at night.
The Luci inflatable solar lights are also ideal to keep in first aid kits, in your tent bag, and in your car. One caveat: if you store them in dark places for months a time, you will not be able to have light until they are charged. The solar cells usually take a few hours to charge.
After reading this, please take one small step to being better prepared. Put your matches with your candles. Put a crank flashlight by your bed. Put some glowsticks in your car. Invest in an inflatable solar camping latern.
---Stacie Weatbrook is an internet content writer for Bear River Rocket Stoves, a writing instructor, and a lover of hiking in the outdoors. She’s not ashamed to admit she’s afraid of the dark.