*Emergency Lighting*

What to use?

By Jaden

10 March 2004


You have a huge disaster in your AO and power is knocked out. Letís say an Ice Storm with a lot of ice & snow. There is super severe damage and power companies donít expect to have things back online for at least 3 of weeks if all goes well. Main transmission lines are down, trees took down utility poles, a power sub station was destroyed. Itís wintertime so itís dark out earlier which requires you to turn on lights much earlier than the summer months.

The sheeple are flocking to stores to buy flashlights and batteries (for double the price no doubt) along with food & bottled water etc. You are sitting at home relaxing because you are a survivalist and prepared in advance. You have a back up power system, Coleman lamps, candles etc. Thatís good. You have plenty of light sources. Now the ?? isÖwhich one(s) to use.

You analyze the damage and consider having to live 3 weeks off grid. How big is your battery bank and how long can it last? Can you recharge it?

I have no idea what you all have for various preps so Iím going to go off ours.

My 12-volt battery bank is 920 amp hours. During the winter months in the north good sunlight is sparse. For example on 23NOV03 it was sunny. My bank voltage only increased by .3 volts. Here it is 1556 hours and the sunís about ready to go down.

Iím sitting at 12.4 volts now and thatíll drop down to about 12.2 tonight as Iím drawing from it.

So back to the original scenario. Since weíre stuck in here on this side road we need to be able to survive with whatís here. No chance of getting out for a re-supply.

Renewable Resource-

The battery bank is a renewable resource provided that the sun shines enough to keep up with the consumption. Which during the winter up here thatís doubtful. The batteries can also be charged with the generator, but only at 6 amps (battery charger rating). Running the generator requires fuel consumption (hey, thatís what itís there for right?).

We want to conserve electricity to run the computer, ham gear & refrigerator. The frozen goods can be taken out and put into the snow. Thatíll make it a little easier on the battery bank.

OH NO!!!! While listening to the battery operated radio you hear the announcer say that the storm damage is far more extensive than 1st thought. The power companies now think itíll be close to a month, maybe more before power can be restored to your area.

Well bummer.

How are we going to light our house?-

Ok, weíre not counting on the sun so power consumption is key. We still have the generator and 100+ gallons of fuel to fall back on.

Our lighting preps include-


Matches & Kerosene lamp wicks Kerosene lamps

We also store plenty of extra kerosene.

Candles are a handy thing to have too. Donít forget the candle holders.

So we have a few of Ďem

Another handy light source is a Coleman lantern. We own 2 of them and keep plenty of spare propane on hand. Be sure to have extra mantles.

We have a few flashlights around too. Spare batteries & bulbs are stored.


Since weíre stuck in here and want to conserve power for other things we will primarily use kerosene lamps and candles. Candles are a renewable resource. As long as you store spare candlewicks or make your own you can reuse the wax and make more candles. Check out Solarís article. Kerosene lamps last a long time. We use one here on a regular basis and it takes about a month to use 1 bowl full. 1 wick lasts about 2 bowls. We can last a long time on lamps alone.

Well Jaden, why donít use use the Coleman lanterns too?

Because we rent this house and the kitchen stove is electric. We might just need to use the propane (long term) for cooking so why waste it on light?

As itís said in the Rubicon- "Do what works for you." You might have a better way, but this is what works for us.


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