Emergencies can happen in the middle of the night, and that is not the time to start searching for flashlights, batteries, or other light sources. To be prepared, you need to have immediate light sources and potential long-term light sources.


Flashlights are great for a quick response to an emergency situation. The more reliable flashlights are LED flashlights because incandescent bulbs can burn out suddenly or break if you drop your flashlight. LED flashlights don’t have breakable parts and actually last for about 10,000 hours of use.

If you purchase an inexpensive flashlight, the light will not be as bright and might be slightly off-color. There are many different shapes and styles of flashlights, but the major difference is the size and weight of flashlight you want to carry, as well as the brightness you desire.

  • Key-ring flashlights are generally more gimmicky than useful. They can fit in your pocket or your purse and weigh next to nothing, but most give barely enough light to see a few feet in front of you.

  • Pocket flashlights are a good choice for emergency. The better-quality flashlights are able to regulate voltage, so even when the battery is losing power, the light will remain bright. They are small enough to carry in a pocket, purse, or backpack, or to put in a drawer in your nightstand.

  • Glove-compartment flashlights are too large to easily fit in your pocket and too heavy to carry in your purse or backpack. The best ones provide you with an adjustable high and low beam; the low beam for use inside the car, and the high beam for lighting the outside of the car in emergencies.

  • Emergency crank flashlights are excellent tools for emergencies. Not limited to the charge of a battery, they are small enough to fit in a glove compartment and can run thirty to sixty minutes after one minute of cranking. Often these flashlights include other options, like weather radios.

  • Large household flashlights are heavy and can be cumbersome, but they provide a great deal of light when you are trying to find your way through your home in a power outage.

  • Rechargeable flashlights are great while you still have power or, if they are solar powered, while there is sun available, but they lose their power fairly quickly compared to other choices. A rechargeable flashlight is best used in areas where a sudden power outage can be dangerous or frightening, like for small children in a bathroom, because they are easily located.

Experts recommend lithium-ion–powered flashlights for use in very cold weather and for flashlights stored in a disaster shelter because they last for a longer period of time under harsher circumstances.


Using candles for emergency lighting is one of the least expensive lighting options. Emergency candles that come in a glass container are the best kind of candles to have in case of emergencies. Regular dinner candles or even scented candles don’t put out the kind of light you need and can be dangerous if left unattended. Emergency candles are long-burning. There are even some 120-hour versions, and they are constructed for safe burning.

When using any kind of candle, be sure it is situated on a stable surface that is free from clutter. Because a quick draft can cause a candle flame to jump, never put a candle near curtains or any other flammable objects.

You can also use candle lanterns to increase the safety of using candles. Lanterns provide a base, a lid, and a glass surround or chimney to place the candle into. They also provide a carrying handle, so the candle can be safely transported without fear of the flame being blown out. Some lanterns designed for camping and outdoor use can hold a standard white emergency candle, which can burn for eight or nine hours.

A Candlelier is a lantern that holds three standard emergency candles. The candles can be burned individually or simultaneously, depending on the amount of light you desire. The top of the lantern has a heat shield that can also be used as a small stove. They also produce enough heat to be a personal heat source.

Lanterns and Oil Lamps

Lanterns and oil lamps are another option for lighting your home during an emergency. Lanterns have been used for centuries to provide portable light for barns throughout the world. Generally, kerosene or specially made lamp fuels are used for lanterns. You can purchase an inexpensive oil lamp that uses paraffin oil at most department stores. These are mostly ornamental, although they give enough light to see and can be placed throughout your home when not in use as part of the décor. Both of the aforementioned fixtures generally use wicks to pull the fuel up from the base and feed the flame. Specialty lamps, like Aladdin lamps, use mantles and kerosene fuel. The light from an Aladdin lamp is equal to a 50-watt light bulb.

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