Monday, November 17, 2008

Mirror, Mirror That Used To Be On the Wall

With winter’s darkness, stormy day and night darkness and power outage darkness I thought it might be a good thing to talk to you about at least one solution for darkness.

I have one idea to share today that I know works – been there, done that. If you are planning and working on being prepared some of these solutions might seem to be just common sense – now. Yet in the middle of chaos and confusion that simple solution might be the last thing to enter the brain – unless it is in place in that realm of “prior to,” you know, the planning part.

I’ll call this “Mirror, Mirror That Used To Be On The Wall. That way if you happen to be super organized you can file it in an easy way to remember. If not, it’s a fun title.

In the category of darkness a simple idea that can double the lighting capacity of a temporary light source but not double emergency fuel consumption during a power outage is a mirror. It will reflect the light from your emergency light source giving you twice the illumination. This can more efficiently light an area with even one lamp or lantern and stretch a small amount of fuel or battery power.

In 1989, as darkness was descending, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck. During the aftermath of the quake we placed an oil lamp on the fireplace hearth and propped a 14” x 16” mirror (which had not broken) up against the fireplace behind it. This one small thing greatly increased the light in the room. (We could not use the fireplace for heat or light. At this point we did not know if the chimney was cracked or still going to come down.) However, I vividly recall sitting on the floor as it continued to roll, writing in my journal by the light of the mirror and lamp.

If no mirror is available - using masking tape – you could tape aluminum foil to the wall or backdrop behind the lamp or lantern. If all you have is a flashlight the principle will still work. Another option would be to use heavy-duty aluminum foil to wrap a sturdy piece of cardboard to use as a reflector. This could be made ahead of time and kept with your light source.

Such a simple thing as a mirror, or aluminum foil, when planned for and thought about ahead of time, can make a world of difference as a seemingly tiny solution with an enormous benefit!

Check out Preparedness Principles on our website for a lot more ideas to help you deal with the darkness.

Return to the Neighborhood


Melanie said...

Great Tip! I like your new look. Very cute!

Lucy Stern said...

I wish I had tried that during out power outage during Hurricane IKE. We were without power for thirteen days, but we managed well. I have to say that we were prepared. I just found your blog and I will tag it.