Ah... the debate. Are emergency candles a better idea, or are flashlights and glowsticks a better solution?
This 4th week of National Preparedness Month is "Power Outage Preparedness" week. So we thought we'd share some thoughts on a debate over which form of emergency lighting is best.
The Survival Candle Burns ~36 Hours
Candles: Benefits of candles over electrical or chemical lighting include long use (some emergency candles burn 30 hours or longer) but they aren't much use unless you have dry matches or a lighter. On the other hand, you know they will work when you need them. You might think this is the case with dynamo (crank) lights, and chemical light sticks, but it isn't really so... as you'll learn below.
Use Candles Carefully
People like to light candles. They can be useful if you have a power outage and they add atmosphere. Sadly, they cause three or more fires each day, so be carefully when using them. Consider Home Fire Safety, too.
- Put candles in a proper candle holder, on a heat-resistant surface, away from furnishings, such as curtains, and never under a shelf.
- Children and pets should not be left alone with lit candles.
- Sparks can fly when you blow candles out, so use a spoon or candle snuffer
Dynamo Flashlights: These things are great... tuck it away and you don't have to worry about anything, because you create the energy when you cranks it up... right? Nope. These crank flashlights are excellent to have around for exactly the reasons stated, except one thing. They have batteries inside, and batteries expire. Think about it - if you need to "wind" it for 1-3 minutes, and then it will stay lit up for "X" amount of time, where it that juice stored? In a rechargeable battery within the device. These expire. depending upon the configuration and quality of the light, the batteries may have a 1-5 year life expectancy, they may (or may not) work after the battery expires.. either while cranking only, or for less time or less brightness, but these are not 'everlasting gobstoppers". If you prefer these in your emergency gear, cool, just remember to check them out every time you change your clocks for daylight savings, just as you check all your emergency gear batteries.
Glow Sticks / Light Sticks: So how about light sticks? Awesome Idea, eh? Ready when you need it? Kinda. Chemical light sticks expire, too. A typical 12 hour light stick has a shelf life of about 5 years. High intensity glow sticks usually only have a 1-3 year shelf life. What about LED Glow sticks? These can last for 200 hours of heavy use up to 10,000 hours basic/low energy use... but they DO expire, too. (some have other cool features light strobe, flashlight, whistle and more - not just "glow".)
So what's your best bet? That is your call, but we say hedge your bets and have all three on hand... they are inexpensive, and critical during a power outage.
Emergency Lighting & Heating:
Glow Sticks, LED Flashlights, warmers & more... Flashlights & Glow Sticks, Batteries, Hand Warmers, Waterproof Matches, Slow Burn Candles & Portable Generators.