Friday, September 26, 2008

A Candle Blog or Is It a Light Blog

Okay your assignment for today is to evaluate the “what-ifs” that could be lurking around the corners in your life. What other blog in the whole wide world gives you assignments, let alone expects that you will do something about it? Just me.

That means you have already gotten your pencil and your note book and are ready to do something more about being prepared, right? Right! So about those things that are lurking … no, no not under the bed, but in your area. Things like storms? What kind, wet, cold, freezing? Power outages? Blackouts? What about all of the ripple affects from a power outage? And more …

And you have answered yes, that some or all of the above could happen where you live. In that case what will your source of light be during those dark and dreary days and nights?

Next I would like you to re-think whether or not you want to have candles on hand or another resource for light. Here are some factors to help you think through your candle decisions.

Candles may be considered romantic for special occasions. Long-term power outages, combined with downpours of cold miserable slush hardly qualify as romantic. A candle may look like an easy inexpensive solution, but you need to consider some of the down sides to candles.

The conditions in which candles are used during a crisis or emergency are far from secure. Many times in just dealing with a power outage, not a severe storm, those things, which usually are considered normal, can go out the window. For example, being able to see what is going on beyond a foot and a half away from you will most likely be impossible. In other words a candle does not light a room, it sort-of lights a small, very small, space. A dinner candle projects even less light. Emergency candles are made from different ingredients than dinner candles, therefore they burn brighter and longer than regular candles.

One of the major problems with candles is that in order for them to work there must be a flame. Combining flame with an emergency and the chaos of an aftermath is not the best formula to follow. If you add frightened children and adults to the mix, the situation can deteriorate.

Here are a few more things to think about. What happens to the flame on a candle when you carry it while lit? What happens to the flame if someone hustles past a lit candle? You’re right the flame goes directly toward the person. What could happen if that person has long, flyaway hair? You’re right – tragedy.

What about bumping the table if the candle is not secured? Where is your attention focused if several, or quite a few candles are lit at the same time, and the kids and the puppy are not cooperating?

By now perhaps my concerns are coming through to you. Flames are not a good thing to be dealing with during a crisis.

While you have the opportunity, I would suggest that you obtain a few flashlights to begin with. The LED bulbs burn brighter and longer than regular bulbs do. The alkaline, heavy-duty batteries last longer than generic regular batteries. Naturally they will cost more. If budget is a problem, start with the ordinary, inexpensive plastic versions that come in red and black – or your favorite color.

Then do your homework and if you feel the need, gradually replace them with sturdier or brighter or better flashlights. Perhaps start with one large, heavy-duty lantern or flash light that could serve as a main light for all. Once again let me remind you to add more to your supply, as time and budget will allow. Spare batteries need to be a priority to have on hand. You may be thinking, “Duh, Barbara, we know that.” Sure you do, but have you taken the actions required, such as buying a sufficient number, so that if you have to use your flashlights for seven days and/or nights in a row, you will have enough batteries to continue having light for four more days? I just thought I’d ask. By the way do you remember how dark it is in the early afternoon, during a very bad thunder and lightening storm?

The thought for the blog of the day is use the dinner candles for dinner – or breakfast, and get a bunch of working flashlights on hand BEFORE you need them. That way you will be sure to be able to find the chocolate when the lights go out.

Return to the Neighborhood