Prepping for a long-term disaster, no matter what type of disaster you feel is most likely to impact your life, should involve plans to light the home or survival retreat. Generators are the obvious choice to continue to power and light your home during a disaster, but fuel could run out long before the SHTF scenario has stabilized.
If the power grid fails, it could be months or even years before the electrical system is repaired. Should the grid go down due to a solar flare or EMP attack, the amount of time taken to get the system up and running again would be significantly longer, if ever. As previously reported by eFoodsDirect, the federal government does not have a massive stockpile of power grid transformers, wire and other necessary parts stored safely away in Faraday cages.
During a TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) situation we will all likely be up early engaging in physical labor on the homestead and going to bed very early, except when it is your turn on watch. The need to keep a low profile at night to avoid unwanted attention also negates the need to keep some type of light burning inside the home after the sun goes down.
However, possessing the ability to light the home is still important and should be factored into the prepping budget. During the evening hours an illness could strike, a loved one (or multiple loved ones) could become wounded and need medical attention, or a baby could decide to enter the world. Addressing any one of these issues would be difficult or impossible to do at night without a light source.
A seasoned prepper already knows that a solid survival plan involves having backups for your backups. As the old adage goes, never put all of your eggs in one basket. The preparedness plan should include multiple sources of light and power for inside the home as well as multiple portable light sources that can easily be packed when on foot.
Top 10 Emergency Light Sources For Preppers
Generators that function on several types of fuel are a far better option for preppers and off-the-grid families than generators that only run on gas. If your fuel-powered generator can run on diesel fuel, making your own bio-diesel fuel would enhance the amount of time the light and power source could continue to function during a long-term disaster. Stockpiling extra parts for repair and learning how to work on the generator before the SHTF is highly advisable. We keep our generator inside a Faraday cage when it is not in use. Stockpiling fuel for propane-enabled generators is an easier task than stocking up on gasoline for generators that only run on that specific type of fuel. When stockpiling gas, make sure to purchase gas stabilizer and learn how and when to use the add-on ingredient to prevent the fuel from going bad.
Solar generators are also a very worthy investment. There is no need to stockpile dozens (or hundreds) of cans of fuel or lose a lot of space to the highly flammable containers. Solar generators are lightweight and portable and function even in wooded areas and during the winter months. Solar generators should also be stored inside a Faraday cage for protection when not in use.
Solar generators make no attention-attracting sounds when providing power like traditional generators do. When the entire world is silent because cars and televisions are no longer running, the consistent hum coming from a fuel-powered generator could bring unwanted visitors to your prepper retreat.
The Lion Energy L-1500 is one of the best and most affordable solar generators currently on the market. The L-1500 is known for its quietness and durability. The generator can last up to 2,000 complete life cycles.
Sure, we all have flashlights, but have we stored enough of them and batteries to keep them going for months or years? Flashlights, batteries, rechargeable batteries and charges are a must-have for the prepping family. Plus, they make excellent barter items. A sturdy flashlight can also double as a weapon. I got this handy small metal flashlight that I gave to my daughter to keep in her purse for just that purpose. National Geographic sent the flashlight to me in a media kit with a DVD of the American Blackout movie to review.
Push-on lights can nearly always be found at dollar stores and can run on AA rechargeable batteries. The lights give off a soft glow, which is perfect for the times when you do not want to attract attention. Attaching some Velcro to the back of the light allows it to be mounted just about anywhere. I sewed a strip of Velcro on the emergency backpacks of loved ones and gave them each a push-on light with a Velcro backing for their packs. If they become separated from the group and need to be found, they can simply attach the light and keep their hands free to hold a weapon or to traverse rugged terrain.
This variety of flashlights and lanterns charge on a base plugged into a power source; they are also valuable power-grid-down preps. You can plug the base into a solar generator or fuel-powered generator after use and keep the device ready for the next nighttime patrol or emergency situation.
Although these can be a bit tedious to use for an extended amount of time, like 10 minutes or more, they are durable light sources that do not require a power source to recharge or the stockpiling of copious amounts of batteries.
A light that can be worn around the forehead or attached to a piece of clothing offers another hands-free source of power. Like all types of flashlights, the bulbs will eventually wear out, so make sure to stockpile bulbs for all your light sources. Labeling the bulbs and keeping them stored next to their designated light or putting a photo of the light they match on the storage box will prevent confusion and wasted time during an emergency.
Candles are yet another obvious choice for a light source during a long-term disaster, but they do have their drawbacks. Every winter the power goes out in our rural country at least once. A collective groan can be heard from firefighters when the lights go out. Fires often start because of candles and kerosene heaters, which people always pull out during a snowstorm or summer thunderstorm outage. When stocking up on candles, make sure to also purchase holders or durable metal containers to keep the candles and their flames away from furniture and curtains. In addition to snagging a plethora of store-bought candles, gather candle-making supplies and learn how to make your own for both use and barter.
When used in a well-ventilated area, hurricane lanterns are safe, portable, and give off sufficient light to work, cook, or render first aid. Making your own oil lanterns is both quick and easy.
Camping lamps and lanterns should only be used outdoors or in a very well-ventilated area. The same propane canisters used for camping stoves and camping ovens also fuel the durable lanterns. The canisters will be safe for use for years if stored in a cool, dry space.
Solar Yard Lights
I have amassed quite a collection of solar yard lights from area dollar stores for emergency use. Unlike candles, they pose no fire hazard and do not need batteries like flashlights. The lights collect energy from the sun all day and then at night they can simply be plucked from the ground and carried inside to share their light. The lights can be placed directly onto a table without damaging the furniture. To make a temporary and nearly free holder, buy some Styrofoam balls from the dollar store and push the ground spike into foam and then place it into a cup to keep the light upright.
To maintain light discipline, purchase some light-cancelling blinds or thick-backed curtains to hang on all the windows inside the home, barn and storage buildings.