Whether its a short-term blackout during a winter storm or a long-term disaster situation, you’ll need to know how to keep the lights on when the power goes out. Sitting around in the dark is a safety hazard and can be horrible for morale in a really short time.
It’s always a good idea to have these on hand, regardless of what other supplies you might have. A basic votive candle (the little stubby ones about 2 1/2 inches tall) should give you 12 hours of light, and they’re quite inexpensive. Taller tapers run the risk of getting knocked over much easier. Of course, you’ll need matches or a lighter to go along with them. At least you never have to risk dead batteries in an emergency. For outdoor use, you really should have a flashlight though.
You really have to have a few good-quality flashlights on hand. They provide bright light in an instant and don’t pose a fire risk. In an emergency when you are moving around inside and out, these are a must. Rotate your batteries once a year and you shouldn’t have any problems with a dead flashlight when you need it. A crank or solar model helps avoid the battery issue, though they aren’t always as bright.
Flashlights are great for getting around, but they are a poor lighting format when you’re just sitting around because you have to keep holding on to it. A tabletop lantern is better for standard room lighting. You can get battery-powered ones or camping lanterns that run on canisters of gas.
These little lights aren’t going to give you a lot of bright task lighting, but they are very cheap and can be excellent options for lighting hallways and stairs for better navigation around the house at night. A dozen of these can be used around your home at night, and then moved into the sun during the day to recharge.
These aren’t the most practical option but they do have their place. They can be bright enough to help you navigate around, and can be very important if you are outdoors and need to keep an eye on other family members in the dark. The best feature is that you don’t anything else to make them work, just bend and crack. Ideal for fast light in any weather.
The ultimate gear for keeping the lights on is a gasoline generator. With a small amount of gas, you can light up any room and possibly keep large appliances (like fridge/freezer) as well as computers or televisions running. Just make sure you have a place to have your genny running outdoors. Filling your house up with carbon monoxide is a bad idea.
Overall, the best approach to lighting in a blackout is to have supplies for more than one source of light. Don’t rely solely on your flashlights or just have a box of candles. Have at least 2 options on hand.