Copyright © December 21, 2010 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.
A battery operated flashlight is a critical item everyone should have whenever the lights go out.
During normal times a flashlight could help you find the bathroom in the dark of night without having to turn on the electric lights and waking someone else up.
During a power failure when there is no electricity a flashlight has all the following practical uses:
A traditional flashlight uses a bulb that has to be replaced on a regular basis. The newer flashlights use a L.E.D. bulb (light emitting diode or LED).
- It will help you see in the dark.
- It could help you avoid having an accident or injury by helping you avoid tripping over something in your path.
- It could help you avoid bumping into something and knocking it over and breaking it.
- It will help you find the "source" of any strange or unusual noises you might hear.
- It can provide light so you can perform necessary jobs while the electricity is off, such as finding the paper plates and the plastic forks and spoons so you can fix a simple meal for your family.
- It will help you locate your emergency battery operated radio so you can listen to the local news to find out how long the power is going to be off.
- It could be used as a "lantern" or as a "candle" to provide light for your family during a blackout so your family will feel safer and more secure.
The LED bulbs have the following major advantages:
There are three basic types of flashlights that a family should have for emergencies:
- They consume at lot less power than a normal flashlight bulb so your batteries will operate your flashlight for a much longer period of time.
- The bulb will last for approximately 100,000 hours which means you will not have to replace the bulb during your lifetime (unless the bulb is defective for some reason).
Let's examine each of the above three major functions one-at-a-time.
- A flashlight that has a powerful beam that will allow you to see a long ways in front of you.
- A flashlight that is mounted on a strap you can wear on your head so you can use both your hands to do work.
- A flashlight that can be used as an area "lantern" or as a "candle" that will allow your entire family to see one another inside one room of your home.
Although it is possible to purchase separate flashlights for each of the above three applications, it is also possible to purchase one flashlight that will do all three of the above tasks.
- Brightness: The brightness of a flashlight beam is directly proportional to the number of batteries used in the flashlight.
A flashlight that only uses one battery will provide enough light to see but it will not be as bright as a flashlight that uses two or more batteries.
Some flashlights use the C or D size batteries instead of the AA batteries.
However, the brightness of the flashlight beam does not depend on the size of the battery, such as AA or D.
The brightness of the flashlight beam depends on the number of batteries in the flashlight and the type of bulb or bulbs used in the flashlight.
- Head Mount: Flashlights that use C or D size batteries are too big and too heavy to be comfortably worn on your head.
Therefore a flashlight that uses one or more AA or AAA batteries is a better choice for this application.
- Some small compact AAA flashlights are specifically designed as head lamps and they are permanently attached to an adjustable strap that you can wear around your head. The head lamp is mounted on the strap in the front center of your forehead.
- Or you could purchase a special head strap that is designed to hold a small flashlight on the side of your head above your right ear (or above your left ear).
- Or you could purchase a normal elastic head band strap and use two pieces of “Velcro” to attach your flashlight to the elastic head band. This is easier to do if your flashlight has a nylon carrying pouch because you can put your flashlight in its pouch and then “Velcro” wrap the pouch to the head band.
- Lantern or Candle: Some flashlights allow you to elevate the top of the flashlight so it can be used as an area lantern.
Other flashlights allow you to completely remove the top of the flashlight so the flashlight can be used as a candle.
Recommendation: The flashlight I recommend is the Mini MagLite LED Flashlight that operates on two standard AA batteries. It can be purchased for between $20 to $22 at most WalMart stores in their sporting goods department.
The Mini MagLite LED flashlight has the following advantages:
If you purchase a separate flashlight "adjustable head band" then you could wear this flashlight above your ear so you could see where you were walking or looking. This would allow you to work using both your hands (instead of having to hold the flashlight in one hand).
- All MagLite flashlights, including this Mini, are extremely well made and they are very high quality flashlights.
- The top of the flashlight can be twisted so you can see more of the area that is close to you, or it can be twisted to focus the flashlight beam on a object that is far away from you.
- The flashlight may be used on "high" power and the batteries will operate the flashlight for about 18 hours. Or the flashlight may be used on "low" power and the batteries will operate the flashlight for about 31 hours.
- The top of the flashlight may be unscrewed and placed on a flat surface. The bottom of the flashlight can then be placed inside the top piece. This will support the flashlight in an upright position so the LED bulb of the flashlight can be used as an area "candle."
- The flashlight can be set to blinking mode and it will blink on and off continuously.
- The flashlight can be set to "SOS" mode and it will transmit the SOS signal continuously.
- The flashlight comes with a black nylon carrying pouch that can be attached to your belt.
Click on www.grandpappy.info/indexhar.htm for more Hard Times Survival Tips.
Click on www.grandpappy.info for Robert's Home Page.
Send e-mail to RobertWayneAtkins@grandpappy.info