Max Mayfield: Will you have lights after a hurricane?

By Max Mayfield, Hurricane Specialist, mmayfield@Local10.com
Published On: Jul 30 2012 05:11:05 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 31 2012 08:32:18 AM EDT

MIAMI -

One item near the top of your hurricane supply checklist, after water and food, will be lighting. Once the power goes out, you will want to have at least some source of light to see what you are doing. This blog focuses on simple lighting not connected to a generator or portable power station.

Most people have an adequate supply of flashlights.  Hopefully, you will have one for each family member.  It is important to make sure you have plenty of fresh batteries.  I have recently replaced batteries in the flashlights that my family keeps in cars and our home as a precaution as we head into the active part of the Atlantic hurricane season. 

Today, there are a variety of battery operated lamps and lanterns available that can also come in handy if the power is out for an extended period.  Again, make sure you have plenty of fresh batteries on hand. 

I also have an inexpensive solar powered lantern that is kept in the backyard.  The power of this solar powered light is not particularly strong, but the plan is to use it after the power goes out as a nightlight.  And, I don’t have to worry about batteries for this one.

In addition, a friend gave me a dynamo-powered lantern that uses Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).  The dynamo recharges a battery pack.  One minute of hand cranking results in 15 minutes of useable light. 

Hand cranked dynamos are very useful in low power applications.  The LEDs are very efficient, although not as bright as other lights.  My particular lantern comes with an FM radio and cell phone charger.  This device could come in very handy if power is out for extended periods and we run out of batteries.

I also have several inexpensive dynamo-powered flashlights that work after hand cranking.  My son gave me a combination flashlight/radio that is hand cranked.  I never have to replace batteries.  Supposedly, cranking for one minute will supply 70 minutes of power for the flashlight/radio.

I have a few tap lights on hand as well.  These lights run on batteries and turn on when taping them.  The newer ones that I have use LEDs for light bulbs and easily fit in the palm of your hand.  The ones I have reportedly last for 100 hours on three AAA batteries.  They can be purchased in home improvement stores.

I certainly hope I never have to use any of these backup lights for extended periods.  But it is a good feeling just knowing that I will have light in case the power does go out from a hurricane or for any other reason for that matter.

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