Point Richmond CERT
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LET THERE BE LIGHT!

by Shaun Partlow, PR CERT

Electric lanterns light your space without using your precious flashlight batteries.

Electric lanterns light your space without using your precious flashlight batteries.

There are many other choices and ideas on how to go about creating your disaster-supply kit. And, of course, there is much more to a good disaster kit than what I'll put here. 

Lighting is important in a disaster plan. With no light, everything you do when the sun goes down becomes increasingly harder and your living becomes very limited. 

Fire is a bad idea after an emergency because heaven forbid if there's a gas leak. Even if there's no gas, open flame of any kind, whether a candle or a campfire, can create a fire hazard. And when you're trying to survive on your supplies after in a post-disaster situation, the last thing you want to have to do is fight a fire. 

 

LIGHT IS COMFORTING AS WELL AS USEFUL

While electric lanterns and flashlights are important to have in your kit, using them for general lighting is wasteful. If you're using your precious batteries to keep your shelter illuminated, you're burning through resources you may need later. 

Cyalume sticks come in many colors, but white sticks make the most light.

Cyalume sticks come in many colors, but white sticks make the most light.

In addition to flashlights for specific jobs, I recommend having a good supply of light sticks. They're inexpensive, disposable, and don't pose a fire hazard.

I recommend Cyalume. The brightest white light stick lasts 8 hours. Colored versions of light sticks last longer, but they're not as easy to see or work by, so there's a trade-off.

Bottom line: You'll need some white light sticks, so I'm not sure if it’s worth keeping track of multiple colors.

My one beef with these is that they have an expiration date, and when you buy them online you never know what you’re going to get. Reaching out to the company might help determine how to get the “freshest” sticks.

HEADLAMPS

I like headlamps in addition to one or two good flashlights. You can work with your hands free. Just be sure to change batteries on a regular basis to prevent them from leaking inside your devices.

FLASHLIGHTS

No kit is complete without flashlights and headlamps.

No kit is complete without flashlights and headlamps.

Flashlights are essential, but think about how you'll keep them going. If your flashlights run on rechargeable batteries, how are you going to recharge them if there's no electricity? You might want to bypass the more eco-friendly versions and have a few that run on good old-fashioned batteries in your kit.

Another alliterative is crank-powered flashlights, which used to be comparatively weak but have gotten very good in recent years. 

Finally, there are some solar-powered lights available if you're determined not to let the earth suffer for your disaster planning. While environmentally friendly, be aware that they will require you to take time in your daily maintenance to keep them charged for nighttime. And if they run out in the middle of the night, you'll be stuck with no light until morning.