EMP-Proofing Survival Gear
February 21st, 2020
4 minute read
When you think of a disaster scenario, what does that look like for you? An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is one of the scenarios you may be planning for, and the power grid is particularly susceptible. In the event of an EMP, you’re looking at lights out — literally.
You might be pointing to your stash of candles and think it would be no big deal, but there are some things to consider if you’re relying on candles or even flashlights to get you through a power loss, especially one that renders your standard lighting items powerless. Whether it’s a short-term power outage or a doomsday scenario, it’s always a good idea to be prepared.
Here are few questions you should ask yourself:
- How long will your candles burn?
- How many candles will you need to do the activities you need to get done?
- How many batteries do you have for your flashlights?
- How many batteries does your light take, and how long will those last?
Certainly, candles and flashlights are great, and you should have plenty of each. Diversification, however, can also be your friend. Let’s look at a few other options and ingredients you can have on hand to keep some lights on during a SHTF scenario.
You can get these at any hardware store, and they’re often used to light outdoor walkways and paths. They recharge during the daytime, and then automatically turn on at night, using a dawn sensor to shut off again in the morning at sunrise. If you put a piece of duct tape over the sensor, you can use them inside at night. The tape keeps them from mistaking other light sources for a shutoff signal.
Olive Oil Lamp
Chances are you have everything you need to make an olive oil lamp or ten. All you need is:
- Olive oil – obviously…
- A piece of flexible wire (I use a wire clothes hanger that’s been untwisted; it’s enough for two to three lamps)
- A wide-mouth mason jar, like what you’d use for canning food (you are canning food, right?)
- A length of cotton butcher twine
They’re pretty easy to make. All you need to do is bend the wire into a coil on one end that will sit in the bottom of the jar and hold the wick, and then straighten the rest into a hook that rests outside the rim of the jar so you can pull it up. Work the wick into the coil so about ¼” is above the coil, and let the rest of the wick lay on the bottom of the jar. Once you have it set up, pour just enough olive oil into the jar so it comes up to almost where the wick is in the oil. You need to keep the top of the wick exposed or the oil will put the flame out.
The benefit to these is that even a few ounces of oil will burn for a very long time, and it’s a safe burn; if you knock over the lamp it’ll just burn out. Since olive oil has a high flashpoint, it won’t suddenly ignite if it spills — making it a lot safer than your candle. In addition, it burns cleanly and will be fairly bright for the amount of materials you’re using.
It might seem like I was badmouthing flashlights, but no way — they’re critical pieces of gear. What kind you need depends on what you plan to use it for. A mini-Maglite, for instance, is great for a bug out bag or everyday carry. If you want to have something that requires zero batteries or external power source, however, you need to look elsewhere.
Enter the hand crank flashlight. One highly popular model is the Thorfire, which claims that you can get 60 minutes of LED light from one minute of cranking. It also allows for solar charging as well, which gives you a second option for power.
If you do decide to go the candle route, don’t just load up on taper candles from your local home décor store. Check out the 115 Hour Plus Emergency Candles by Emergency Essentials; they burn clean and odorless. You can even use tea light candles in a lantern for low-but-functional light.
Before going all-in on one type of survival lighting, explore other scenario-based options, such as a post-EMP situation. Have back-ups for your back-ups, and make sure that you have plenty of supplies for whatever options you choose.
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