As you make your disaster plan, don’t forget flashlight preparedness. Buying candles alone is not a good idea, because you’ll need to light up an area well beyond the first couple of hours or nights. You may have to go outside in the dark, and a candle won’t stay lit if there’s wind, water from rain or snow. There are many options, but you should have at least one of the following types of flashlights:
If you don’t like the hassle of replacing, storing or recharging batteries, then you’ll love a hand crank flashlight. The popular ones that are included in many emergency kits, or sold to those preparing for disasters, include a radio and cell phone charger as well. When you crank for light, you also have “juice” to turn on a AM/FM radio, that you can use to get updated weather reports and other news and information. You’ll also be able to charge your cell phone to call others to let them know where you are, and how you’re doing. Hand crank flashlights use LED bulbs, which is sufficient for indoor use, but often works poorly in the outdoors.
Another option is to buy rechargeable flashlights, if you want to avoid hand cranking and regular batteries as much as possible. You have to keep the batteries charged while you have power, so that it’s ready to go when the power goes out. A rechargeable flashlight is your best option for lighting up the most area, and the lighting lasts longer than regular and hand crank flashlights. The problem is, you won’t be able to recharge the battery if the power goes out for days. That’s unless you have a solar charger for the flashlight, or a portable solar powered generator for a power back up.
The great thing about using a solar flashlight, is that the sun doesn’t “run out” like electricity from the power company. Even a small amount of sunlight during the winter can give you some power for your flashlight. These come with a small solar panel that’s on the flashlight itself, or a rechargeable flashlight may include a separate solar charger. Buy a flashlight that you can recharge using an electrical outlet, or by placing it or a solar charger in your window. It’s your best option for long term use. If you can also hand crank the flashlight, that’s even better.
Tactical flashlights aren’t only used by police officers. You’ll want one of these lightweight and easy to handle flashlights, so that you can keep one or both hands free. A disaster may require you to evacuate your apartment, or venture out to find wood, water or search for people. A bulky flashlight will only get in your way, weighs too much and is not as precise. Buy a couple of tactical flashlights to store in your emergency kit and in the apartment.
Diversification is key in your disaster plan. You need a plan, a backup for that plan and one more backup, because so much can go wrong. Having more than one type of flashlight is the best way to be prepared.