For years I have written about the critical importance of having the proper flashlights and emergency lighting available at all times. You never know when the next disaster, natural or man-made, might strike.
Almost all of us have gone through minor blackouts and other short-term power outages, but unless you experience firsthand the impact of a major disaster, it is extremely difficult to fully appreciate the impact on one's life.
A few years ago, I, along with millions of other folks, experienced the powerful force of three major hurricanes during a six-week period. I was sitting in an interior room of our house with my family when a hurricane hit us at night. We took a direct whack with estimated winds of about 90 mph!
What surprised me the most was that almost an hour before the hurricane was directly overhead, its outer rain and wind bands knocked out our power for days to come. Thankfully, I had taken my own good advice, and we were well stocked with various high-quality and dependable flashlights and other emergency lighting products.
Nowadays we are fortunate to have many fine manufacturers of quality flashlights and emergency lighting. They offer a wide array of items to fit virtually every lighting need, from a powerful tactical flashlight to a long-lasting LED lights.
Here are some of the flashlights and emergency lighting products you may want to contemplate adding to your emergency preparedness kits for your home, vehicle, and business, as well as carrying on your person.
Streamlight Strion LED (Streamlight.com): Streamlight makes some of the best flashlights in the world. In fact, before I retired as a reserve law enforcement officer, my department issued a Streamlight flashlight which I carried on my duty belt. Streamlight now has a state-of-the-art rechargeable LED flashlight called the Strion. The Strion features a 50,000 LED which puts out 160 lumens with a runtime of about 7.5 hours. Anyone in law enforcement, the military, or security should strongly consider this exceptional new flashlight.
RA Clicky Tactical (RaLights.com): The Ra Clicky Tactical just may be the "ultimate" in an everyday-carry flashlight. With its pocket clip, the Ra Clicky Tactical is super easy to carry on your person while offering a variety of amazing and useful features. Imagine a flashlight about three inches long that has the following functions (to name just a few): A powerful LED light source producing a bright 170 lumens, a tactical strobe, an SOS signal and four pre-set brightness settings. You don't have to imagine anymore with the remarkable Ra Clicky Tactical flashlight. I think most everyone should consider carrying a high quality flashlight on their person, and the amazing Ra Clicky Tactical just may be the perfect everyday-carry light for you.
C. Crane Company (ccrane.com): The C. Crane Company website is like a virtual emergency kit. Almost anything you might need for emergency preparedness is available. For instance, the C. Crane Observer is an outstanding wind-up emergency radio that evens features a built-in LED light. They also have a small and inexpensive wind-up LED flashlight that has three LED lights which can illuminate up to 30 minutes with only about five minutes of winding. The C. Crane 1 watt LED flashlight uses just three AAA batteries, yet has a powerful LED light. These items are just the very tip of the iceberg of the useful and practical lighting and safety-related products the C. Crane Company offers.
Princeton Tec (www.PrincetonTec.com): Just about any lighting products you might need for your disaster kit, Princeton Tec makes it. During an emergency, you might need to have both your hands accessible, so it is imperative to have an LED headlamp available. Both the Princeton Tec Remix and the EOS Tactical headlamps should be considered as headlamps for your preparedness kit. The lightweight Remix features four LEDs and has a four-mode switch, while the EOS Tactical has a Maxbright LED that offers about 120 hours of use on one set of batteries. Princeton Tec also makes the practical and useful AMP 4.0 LED flashlight that features a Maxbright LED which produces about 50 lumens of light.
Bluestone Lighting Flashlights (BluestoneLighting.com): Bluestone Light has a large and varied selection of flashlights. Bluestone flashlights feature bright LED lights and a water-resistant aluminum body. If you need a really powerful handheld flashlight, take a look at the Bluestone LED Pro Light which features the amazing lighting power of about 1,000 lumens emitted from 7 Luxeon LEDs. The Bluestone 500 lumen Pro Light has three Luxeon LEDs and you can switch from “spot” to “flood” illumination with just a quick turn of the flashlight. If you need a smaller flashlight, Bluestone makes the 210 lumens Pro Light which has many of the same features the larger Bluestone lights. In addition, Bluestone also makes the very useful Personal Lantern that features a bright Cree LED and 360 degrees of illumination.
NovaTac Special OPS (NovaTac.com): I like this new tactical LED flashlight from NovaTac. The NovaTac Special Ops features 3 brightness levels, a strobe function, a momentary on, an aerospace grade aluminum body, a steel pocket clip, up to 120 lumens, and even more — yet is it only about 4.6 inches long and reasonably priced.
Greatland Rescue Laser (GreatlandLaser.com): If you like an outdoor lifestyle, such as hiking, boating, camping, you definitely should take a look at the Greatland Rescue Laser. The Greatland Rescue Laser offers up to 40 hours of emergency signals, signals up to 20 miles, has a body made of anodized aircraft aluminum, and is even water-resistant up to 80 feet. Even more amazing is that the Greatland Rescue Laser is small enough to carry in your pocket and weights only three ounces.
PowerFlare Safety Light (PowerFlare.com): I’ve never seen a product exactly like the PowerFlare Safety Light before. The PowerFlare was invented by a police officer, and should be considered by anyone in the emergency services (law enforcement, firefighters, etc.) to be part of their standard equipment. What is the PowerFlare, you may ask? The PowerFlare is a small “made in the USA” light that emits 360 degrees of bright light from 16 LEDs in various light patterns. Everyday folks might like the PowerFlare to carry in their vehicles for use during breakdowns, etc. To best understand what the PowerFlare is and what is does, I suggest you visit their website.
Gerber TX4.0 Flashlight (GerberGear.com): If you want a strong and powerful LED flashlight, be sure to take a look at the Gerber TX4.0 light. This Gerber flashlight uses easy-to-find, inexpensive AA batteries and its body is made of durable anodized aluminum. Gerber makes a wide variety of flashlights that should be considered for emergency preparedness as well as for everyday use.
AE Light (aelight.com): AE Lights makes a wide selection of LED flashlights. For example, they have the AE Mini Might Flashlight which features the Cree LED, a body of aerospace aluminum that is mil-spec hard anodized, and sized for use as everyday-carry flashlight.
ATN Javelin Tactical Flashlights (atncorp.com): The ATN Javelin flashlight is built like a tank. It is designed for heavy-duty tactical law enforcement and military use. It features a body made of aircraft aluminum and has a LED light that produces about 600 lumens.
For more information on these flashlights and emergency lighting items, be sure to log on to the website for each company.
Note: Thanks to all the companies that provided information and/or samples of their products.
My Final Thoughts: Take it firsthand from me. The right selection of quality flashlights during any catastrophe is an unquestionable "must have” and it is an important part of “Personal Safety 101.” Along with the availability of proper food and water supplies, appropriate emergency lighting is the basic foundation of any prudent emergency plan. Don't wait until disaster strikes; please take action now to acquire the appropriate emergency lighting supplies for your home, car, and business, and to carry on your person.
Copyright 2010 by Bruce Mandelblit
Bruce Mandelblit (www.CrimeZilla.com) is a nationally known security and safety journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve law enforcement officer. His e-mail address is CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.
This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.
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