Natural disasters - Lessons Learn - Lights

firefly99

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NotRegulated said:
I think that before everyone gets started we should agree upon a time frame that the "disaster' would encompass so we don't get sidetracked by bug-out-of the country scenarios. 48 hours? two weeks max? I think this would set the landscape for a realistic discussion and recommendations. Also indicating whether or not you expect to be in a fixed location or on the move should help.

I think we can start off the shorter end of the discussion with this review.

http://www.flashlightreviews.com/features/storm.htm
Great article and sensible advice.
Time frame start from the time the storm hit & past until 2 weeks after. Fixed location until forced to move.
 

KDB

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I spend a lot of time in remote areas where there is no power/no reliable power.
The best I've used is a solar LED lantern made by Ledtronics (SLR-LANTERN-03) which runs for 55 hours to a sunny day's charge. Next, a versatile if not "ultimate" 3 way "Favourlight" which runs on 4 AA's. It gives me 50 hours on LEDs/6 hours CCFL/3 hours Xeon. Last but definately not least, an old ARC-P AAA. I recently bought an Osram Delux Mini which gives 2 hous of 3Watt fluro on 2xAA, gives a nice light but I havn't used that in earnest as yet so don't know if it is reliable etc.
 

Hans

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Brangdon said:
Some disasters strike unexpectedly, so you should have at least one light on you at all times, and especially if travelling underground or in elevators, or anywhere without natural lighting. Hopefully 10 hours battery life would be enough for that, supposing you are going to be rescued by then.

That's the scenario I'm most interested in because I live in a part of the world where there are no hurricanes and so on. But I travel to work using public transport every day, and even though the public transport system is very reliable and well-organized here I feel it's essential to be prepared for the worst, especially since the terrorist attacks in London.

I carry two lights wherever I go: A HDS EDC 42 loaded with a li-ion rechargeable. Multiple light levels, small size, robust build quality. I change the battery once a week so I'm unlikely to encounter a flat battery in an emergency, but to be on the safe side I also carry a spares carrier with one rechargeable and a primary. That should give me more than 10 hours of light, assuming I don't need to use the highest light level all the time. My second light is a Peak Matterhorn with 1 LED. It's not very bright as the one I use is the old "standard" version, but it lasts a *long* time on one rechargeable. I also carry four spare AAA rechargeables because I also use them in my Palm and my MP3-player.

I think those two lights (together with the other stuff a have in my EDC) should cover me quite well on my way to work. However, having read the other controbutions in this thread I'm now actively looking into getting a decent headlamp as well. The reasons for getting one are pretty convincing. It would have to be small enough for EDC though, and of course reliable.

Time to do some more market research.

Hans
 

Roy

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While it is "old" technology, the Lightwave 4000 is hard to beat with it's 48 hour runtime to 50% of max brightness. It's 10 leds do make a nice flood of light. The lanyard loop can be used to hang the light from a ceilng fan, ceiling light, etc. If you want it pointed up, set it in a beer mug! It uses three "D" cells and is big enough to be used as a club if needed!
 

Brangdon

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Brangdon said:
Does anyone know how long Katrina victims were without electricity, in the worst case?
This link seems to be saying that 80% of customers had power restored within 21 days of Katrina. The remaining 20% were mostly in areas that were flooded - they are likely to be off for a while.

How many hours of daylight you get a day will depend on what time of year it is and your latitude. There's a table here. I'm at roughly 50 degrees, so in winter I get around 9 hours of daylight or 15 hours of night. Knock off 8 hours for sleeping leaves 7 hours of torch time, or roughly 50 hours a week.

So aiming for 100 battery hours is not unduly pessimistic. If you can't buy AAs and AAAs after two weeks you are probably stuffed indefinitely. More esoteric batteries may take longer. This is a theoretical estimate and your disaster may vary.
 

gbaker

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Brangdon said:
This link seems to be saying that 80% of customers had power restored within 21 days of Katrina. The remaining 20% were mostly in areas that were flooded - they are likely to be off for a while.

I know several people whose houses still don't have power, but most of these don't have houses either. In a twist of really bad luck one of the ladies in the office got a FEMA trailer. Unfortunately the workmen wired it wrong and shorted out all the electrical system. She just recently got a new trailer from FEMA. I'm not gonna stand near her during a lightning storm.
 

hquan

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Roy said:
While it is "old" technology, the Lightwave 4000 is hard to beat with it's 48 hour runtime to 50% of max brightness. It's 10 leds do make a nice flood of light. The lanyard loop can be used to hang the light from a ceilng fan, ceiling light, etc. If you want it pointed up, set it in a beer mug! It uses three "D" cells and is big enough to be used as a club if needed!

:huh2:I thought that flashlight reviews had the run time at 720 hours... if it's 1/2 dead by 48, i wonder what it'd look like at hour 719...
 

NotRegulated

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L4-McE2S_Runtime.png


Remember, just adding a McE2s two stage tailcap to your L4 will give you at least 10 hours of low runtime with a 22 Ohm resistor.
This tailcap would be good to have around just for your disaster kit.

Runtime plot by KJ. You can find them in the reviews section.
 
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turbodog

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Brangdon said:
This link seems to be saying that 80% of customers had power restored within 21 days of Katrina. The remaining 20% were mostly in areas that were flooded - they are likely to be off for a while.

How many hours of daylight you get a day will depend on what time of year it is and your latitude. There's a table here. I'm at roughly 50 degrees, so in winter I get around 9 hours of daylight or 15 hours of night. Knock off 8 hours for sleeping leaves 7 hours of torch time, or roughly 50 hours a week.

So aiming for 100 battery hours is not unduly pessimistic. If you can't buy AAs and AAAs after two weeks you are probably stuffed indefinitely. More esoteric batteries may take longer. This is a theoretical estimate and your disaster may vary.

I've been through katrina. I've had family/friends/employees/customers that have been through it.

The #1 thing people needed was water. Then food. Then gas.

I'm with silverfox. I submit that you could make it through 2 weeks of no power with a u2/hds and 1 spare battery.

Your car has a battery. Use it for light.

Find a candle. You DO have a candle in your BOB right? Why not? They are great for starting fires with.
 

redduck

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I think candle/gas lantern is a better solution for providing long-term, stationary light source, cheaper, more reliable, longer shelf life (for candle anyway), and better color tint. I don’t like the idea of buying lots of batteries and lights I don’t otherwise really need.
 

RebelRAM

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As much as we like flashlights, remember it wasn't that long ago that flashlights were invented. I have heard many stories from my grandparents and great grand parents about how life was before electricity even. And this was in the 1920's and 1930's. They lived in very rural parts of Alabama on farms. So yes candles are still very viable options. My wife likes scented candles and has plenty of them, so even if we run out of batteries, we'll still have some form of light. So depending on the power outage situation and length of time, I'll probably use both flashlights and candles to effectively conserve my resources while at the same time meeting my needs. I remember when I was younger and we used to have many power outages where I lived. They were normally no longer than several hours, but we still usually lit 2 or 3 candles for room lighting and then if we had to wander through the house to get something or do something, we picked up one of the flashlights and used it for a few minutes.
 

KevinL

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A good point was made earlier about a two-stage light.. how about I recommend a multistage light instead? Variable power allows you to control and conserve your batteries - use dimmest mode when you can, but it still allows you to step up the brightness for those moments when you need it.

Variable power is the answer to a completely unpredictable situation - when you never know how much light you will need. The HDS and U2 are very impressive in this department - I'm going off shortly and I am taking a HDS Basic 60 and U2, and.. NO RELOADS.

Last trip lasted nearly two weeks and I took a KL1, U2, 6P/P61 and a fully stocked SC1. I came back with a fully stocked SC1, bare minutes used on all of the lights and the U2 still at well over 4 volts on the 18650 rechargeable in it, despite finding every concievable excuse to use all of them in Quality Dark.
 

Bright Scouter

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I think a good stock of primary (disposable) batteries is a must. If your lights are AA, they are more easily obtained/replenished. Rechargeables are great, but only with power either from house power or SLA batteries. Unless, you have a DECENT solar charger. Some of the roll up panels can charge some batteries at a decent, but not fast rate. I want some way to charge my cell phone, or whatever else I may have. If you have that, then a good supply of rechargeables is great!

On a camping trip to Canada where there was no power, I took a small jumper pack and a roll up solar panel. I charged what I needed to from the jumper pack and used the solar panel during daylight to keep it powered up. It did fairly well, but it couldn't keep up with all the demands on it so it did get pretty low by the end of a week. But it certainly extended my rechargeables by a pretty good length of time.
 

Lightbringer

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Candles are great and all, but its important to be extremely careful. Candle-related fires are a growing problems. Its gotten so bad its that many FD's are actually specifically campaigning about it. If proper precautions are kept, I agree that it offers the cheapest and longest shelf life as a long-term light source.
 

Joe Talmadge

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redduck said:
I think candle/gas lantern is a better solution for providing long-term, stationary light source, cheaper, more reliable, longer shelf life (for candle anyway), and better color tint. I don’t like the idea of buying lots of batteries and lights I don’t otherwise really need.

Perhaps these are a good solution in some places. In earthquake country, candles are a non-starter. Also, as lightbringer points out, they can be risky even in non-earthquake country, especially if you have kids. I personally would be very hesitant on relying on candles except as a backup (and not at all in areas at-risk of earthquake).

Joe
 

NextLight

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Notregulated wrote: "...just adding a McE2s two stage tailcap to your L4 will give you at least 10 hours of low runtime with a 22 Ohm resistor..."

Absolutely one of the mose useful accessories for an L4 or KL4. I have 3 McEs switches and several extra resistor boards.

Don't forget a Gladius can run for hundreds of hours at an adjustable low output level, and still have minutes of instant tactical bright light left.
 

Sub_Umbra

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I was in New Orleans for the entire Katrina event and even though my house wasn't damaged by wind, rain or flood, the power was out for one day short of six weeks. Coincidentally, six weeks is mentioned over and over again in many of the pieces I've read over the years as a goal to shoot for in disaster planning. We actually were prepared for a longer duration which has worked out very well for us since resupply of many of the items we laid up is still impossible or at least problematical at this time. We're still relying on our pre-Katrina stocks of many things as this is written.

As strange as it sounds the most used lights during the entire event were:
  • An old CMG Infinity in blue-green.
  • A Pak-Lite in turquoise.
  • An ARC AAA in turquoise. (A little bit too bright)

Three days after the storm the mandatory evacuation rhetoric became insane with the Mayor announcing on the radio that '...any amount of force necessary...' would be used on citizens who refused to leave, even if they were prepared and their house had suffered no flooding or other damage. Thanks Ray. The NOPD was in total collapse and the Mayor sought to minimize political embarrassment by forcibly removing EVERYONE so his totally dysfunctional police force would have fewer to interact with while they...did what they did. Around this time (+three days) the police chief declared that those who refused to leave would have their doors broken down and be '...dragged out by their ankles...' Thanks Eddie.

This post is actually about lights -- so hang in there.

I knew that this was going to be the storm I had prepared for all this time so on Sunday night, right before it hit, I blacked out all of our windows with six mil black plastic which I had bought for that purpose in the last century. That way we would be able to use our lights at night without revealing to looters outside that we may have something that they might want. (It never occurred to me before the storm that the most threatening group we would be hiding from would be the NOPD.)

The point to all of this is that by three days into the event the City's rhetoric had gotten to the point where we went to a light discipline that involved the use of only blue-green lights after dark out of fear that the NOPD may use NV equipment to help locate citizens who refused to abandon their pets and possessions. Even though our windows were blacked out I was concerned that splash from our flashlights may be detected from outside with Night Vision gear. A couple weeks later, after curfew one night I was talking to an 82nd Airborne patrol and we looked at the CMG through their NV gear -- they were impressed.

For those who think that our actions were perhaps a bit extreme I will state that of the estimated eighteen residents who rode out Katrina on my block -- only Mrs Umbra and I remained nine days later. One was murdered by the NOPD and the rest were convinced that it would be in their best interest to comply with the mandatory evacuation order -- even though the storm was long gone.

One cannot escape the need for brighter lights in a disaster situation. For some security and medical tasks you can never seem to have enough light. While no kit would be complete without some really bright lights, in the entire six weeks the total combined use of our bright lights added up to only a few minutes.

While many choose headlamps I prefer to add a ring of vinyl or rubber to mine and just hold it in my teeth. I've done this so much in the last three decades that there is no conscious thought involved and I'm rarely stuck somewhere with the wrong light for the task at hand.

Battery storage is no issue for the first two lights I listed. I would never accept the risks inherent in a candle as long as I had an old CMG Infinity that would run forty hrs on one AA cell -- the most common cell on earth -- a cell that can even be scavenged from TV remotes and clocks in your own house. A Pak-Lite will run six hundred hrs on one nine volt battery. How many batteries will you have to lay up for these lights? Not many. It's certainly not worth squinting right next to a candle during the hottest September on record since the advent of accurate thermometers.

For me the answer is that I should have lots of different lights so I may choose whatever one I feel best for what I need to do at the time. For me, for this event, the lights I listed fit the bill. The nature of the beast is that you really won't know what you'll need 'til you get there. Disasters are 'come as you are partys.' Variety rocks.

The other lesson is that in today's socialist city-state you must not only be prepared for a disaster -- but you must also be ready for what your bungling government does afterwards. Both are very real threats.
 
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Brangdon

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turbodog said:
I'm with silverfox. I submit that you could make it through 2 weeks of no power with a u2/hds and 1 spare battery.
That would give you around 80 hours at best? Would you agree that whether that was enough would depend on the time of the year? In summer you'd sleep through most of the darkness so you wouldn't need much.

Your car has a battery. Use it for light.
Yes. If it's not been swept away, looted, stuck the wrong side of a fallen tree etc. I wouldn't rely on having a car available.

Find a candle. You DO have a candle in your BOB right? Why not? They are great for starting fires with.
I have boxfuls in my shelter-in-place kit. None in my BOB, though. They can be hard to use outdoors, because they blow out. And when it gets hot, they melt and make a mess of your rucksack. And they are a fire risk, especially in a tent. And they are bulky. One 6-hour candle has about the same bulk as a Zipka+ headlamp which will last for 150 hours. Not that I'd recommend strapping a candle to your head. :)
 
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