In the event of an EMP attack or other long term power outage situation, you won’t be able to just flick a wall switch to get light on demand.
You will have to have alternative sources of light on hand. Here are some options you should think about:
The best option for lighting your home when there is no electricity is a lantern. Lanterns come in both fuel and electric versions, and are designed to distribute light in a 360 degree area.
Of course, in an EMP scenario both fuel and electricity will be hard to come by. Thankfully you can now find lanterns that have either hand cranks or solar panels for recharging them.
Be sure to do your research on these products as some of the batteries will last longer than others. We have used lanterns with solar panels that sat in the sunlight all day, yet barely lasted an hour at night.
You can also make a lantern from a flashlight if you have one. Just fill a gallon milk jug with water, turn on the flashlight, and tie or tape it to the side with the lens facing inward.
The water will disperse the light in all directions so that you can see more clearly than you would be able to with just a flashlight alone.
Flashlights and Headlamps
While flashlights and headlamps only provide a beam in one primary direction, they are still key pieces of gear to have when the lights go out.
We own multiple tactical flashlights bright enough to light up objects 100 yards away. They are made of aircraft aluminum, and are practically indestructible. Their beams are also adjustable so you can easily light up half a room in your home.
On a side note, these tactical flashlights are also designed for self-defense. They have beveled edges for striking and a strobe setting to disorient attackers.
We also have headlamps that are every bit as bright as the flashlight, and also have an adjustable beam. The beauty of a headlamp is that it keeps both of your hands free to work other tasks.
We recommend having a headlamp that is rechargeable (or has rechargeable batteries). Keep multiple battery packs fully charged so you can quickly swap out.
These childhood favorites are for more than just playing in the dark. We always keep glow sticks in our bug out bag as well as around the house in case of a power outage.
They are cheap and distribute light in well. You can throw several of them around a room to light up the whole room, or just set one down where you are working.
If you want to light an area before you walk into it, but also keep your hands free, you can throw a glow stick into that area.
We also have some thinner glow sticks that can be wrapped around a wrist and fastened. This really comes in handy when you need keep track of your kids at night.
In addition, you can attach them to important tools such as your flashlight or knife so you will not lose them.
At a few different places in our home, we have installed motion activated, battery powered lights. We currently have them in places where the lighting is poor even when we aren’t experiencing a power outage.
The fact that they only turn on when they sense motion makes the batteries last a very long time. You can move lights like these into your main living during a power outage to provide additional light when needed.
Fire should be used as a last resort for indoor lighting because of the risk involved, but there are times it cannot be avoided.
A fireplace is by far the safest option for using fire to light your home. If you plan to use your fireplace for lighting, you should always have plenty of fuel on hand to keep it going.
Candles are another relatively safe way to use fire for lighting. To effectively light a room, you will need several so keep plenty on hand.
Ideally they should be in a glass candle holder so they will not burn the house down if one gets knocked over. Trick candles that do not blow out are perfect for survival in case there is a draft near their location.
In order to light either a fireplace or candles, you will want to have several options available for starting the fire. Lighters are the best short term solution.
If you purchase a zippo lighter, it should last you a lifetime. They are windproof, durable, and can be refilled with any flammable liquid.
On the other hand, Bic lighters cost less than $1 and are also very reliable. You can purchase a whole case of Bic lighters for the cost of one zippo.
Matches are another inexpensive option. We recommend storing them in multiple places in case parts of your home get wet. You don’t want all your eggs in one basket.
I also like to keep a ferro rod along with other methods of starting a fire as a backup plan.
In a true emergency, you can still provide light with a little ingenuity.
Just about any type of wax or fat can be used as fuel for a candle if a wick is added. Open up a can of sardines or tuna in oil, add a wick, and light.
Add a wick to a jar of Crisco for an instant candle.
Tie a wick inside a bundle of crayons, or even light just a single crayon.
Stick a wick in a ball of bacon and light. Even the grease from Cheetos is enough to let you to light one up like a candle.