Lesson of the Hurricanes - Emergency Lighting

April 30, 2005
Bruce Mandelblit
News Max

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 manmade, 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.

Unfortunately, this past summer I, along with millions of others, 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 Hurricane Charlie 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 Charlie 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.

In 2005, 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 keychain light.

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.

(Note: Thanks to all the companies that provided information and/or samples of their products. In future columns, I plan to give more detailed reviews of some of these flashlights.)

NIGHT OPS GLADIUS (www.Night-Ops.com): The Gladius is one of the best tactical flashlights I have ever seen or used. The Gladius flashlight comes from the folks at BlackHawk Products. Gladius' features include a high-intensity LED with multiple functions such as constant on, adjustable light levels and even a strobe mode. Simply put, the Gladius is a quality tactical flashlight made for and by professionals. Anyone in law enforcement, the military or security should strongly consider this exceptional new flashlight.

HDS EDC ULTIMATE (www.HDSsystems.com): The HDS EDC Ultimate just might be the "ultimate" in an everyday-carry flashlight. With its pocket clip, the HDS EDC Ultimate is super easy to carry on your person while offering a variety of amazing and useful features. Imagine a flashlight about 3 inches long that has the following functions (to name just a few): A powerful LED light source, an emergency strobe, an SOS signal and a locator flash, as well as multiple power settings. You don't have to imagine anymore with the remarkable HDS EDC Ultimate flashlight.

SUREFIRE (www.SureFire.com): SureFire is known worldwide for its line of quality flashlights. A favorite of both law enforcement and the military for years, SureFire offers a multitude of flashlights for a variety of uses. For instance, the SureFire L1 LumaMax would be an excellent addition to your emergency preparedness plan.

This quality mil-spec flashlight uses a single lithium battery, but still offers the option of a low-output beam for close-up activities, or a high-output beam for use as needed. In the low-output mode, the SureFire L1 offers usable light for about 50 hours. One of my SureFire favorites is its L4 LumaMax model. The SureFire L4 is a compact powerhouse that features a five-watt LED and a stainless steel pocket clip for ease of "on-person" carry.

C. CRANE COMPANY (www.ccrane.com): The C. Crane Company Web site is like a virtual emergency kit. Almost anything you might need during a disaster is available. For instance, its Freeplay Plus not only offers a detectable three-LED light source, it is also an AM/FM and shortwave radio. And don't worry about electricity with the C. Crane Freeplay Plus, as you can charge it using either its wind-up generator or its solar cells.

The Freeplay Summit is another wind-up/solar power AM/FM/shortwave radio you may want to consider. Also, I really like the "Made in the USA" CC Expedition 600 flashlight. On just one set of three C alkaline batteries, it will produce about 40 hours of bright light, and after that it will give off about 100 hours of additional useful light.

ASP (www.asp-usa.com): I have used ASP products for years, and I really like two of its latest lights. The ASP Elite takes the LED keychain light to new heights of innovation. The ASP Elite has three modes (constant on, alert strobe and international SOS). All this in a light under 3 inches in length and under 1 inch in width. The new water-resistant ASP Triad is just over 5 inches in length, made of aerospace aluminum, and its dual contacts provide both intermittent and contact on/off activation modes.

LIGHTWAVE (www.lightwave-usa.com): The Lightwave Tec3000 features seven LEDs and has about 700 hours of battery life on only three C batteries, and has a "floodlight" type light beam. The Lightwave Infiniton C1 has a single powerful Hi-Fux LED and offers a "spotlight" type light beam. The high-tech Lightwave series of "floodlight" and "spotlight" LED flashlights would be a super addition to anyone's emergency preparedness plans.

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. I like both the Princeton Tec Corona and the Aurora headlamps. The Corona features eight LEDs and has four levels of brightness available, while the lightweight Aurora has three LEDs that offer about 160 hours of use on one set of batteries. Princeton Tec also makes the practical Pulsar II and the advanced Impulse keychain LED lights.

DAKOTA SOS TORCH WATCH (www.DakotaWatchCo.com): For those folks who don't want to carry an extra flashlight on their person, there is a new product from Dakota Watch which combines a quality quartz watch with powerful LED lights. It is called the Dakota SOS Torch, and it features a dial light, a flashlight and even an SOS signal – all built into an attractive wristwatch. This amazing timepiece and LED lighting system uses a unique charger that allows an eight-hour charge to operate the watch for about a month.

ETERNALIGHT (www.techass.com): EternaLight makes some of the most distinctive lights on the market today. For example, the EternaLight ErgoMarine is only about the size of a pager yet can continuously provide light for about 30 days on one set of three AA alkaline batteries! In addition, it offers many modes of use, including constant on, flash, strobe and SOS.

EternaLight also makes the Derringer model, which features an LED light visible for about a mile, 14 modes of operation, selectable white or red LED, and it is still small enough to fit in your pocket, purse, glove compartment or backpack.

INOVA (www.InovaLight.com): INOVA flashlights, made by the Emissive Energy Corp., offer a wide range of lighting products, from keychain lights to high-intensity LED flashlights. For example, the INOVA T1 and INOVA T3 are powerful tactical "Made in the USA" flashlights that may be used by police, security or anyone wanting a compact flashlight that packs a potent lighting punch.

SAFE-LIGHT INDUSTRIES (www.PALights.com): The PALight's SAFE-LIGHT is one of the most unusual lights I have ever seen. It fits in the "palm of your hand" yet it offers a powerful LED light with multiple lighting modes including night light, high beam and even an emergency flashing signal. A 9-volt battery and magnetic clip are included. This light would be a great idea for hikers, campers and everyone's' emergency kit.

COAST (www.CoastCutlery.com): Coast offers an extensive line of LED light products. For instance, it makes the TekTorches Personal Emergency Light, which is small enough to use on a keychain. It also includes a "reflector tube" that can be used as an emergency flasher. Another Coast item is the LED Lenser Tac Torch, which features a high-intensity LED light that can operate for up to 50 hours on one set of batteries.

NIGHTSTAR (www.ShakeLight.com): The NightStar is one of the most amazing flashlights I have ever seen. It uses no batteries, yet it produces a strong LED light beam. How does it work? Just shake the Night Star for 30 seconds, and it will provide about 20 minutes of light. Consider the NightStar for your home, car and emergency kit.

OMNIGLOW (www.omniglow.com): OmniGlow is the maker of a complete line of light sticks. First used by the military and law enforcement, OmniGlow Light Sticks are simply a "must have" in every emergency kit. They use no batteries, produce no flame, heat or sparks, are non-toxic and non-flammable, are very easy to use – and they are an excellent source of emergency light for up to 12 hours.

LONGBOW GEAR (www.LongbowGear.com): If you are looking for a very powerful flashlight in a very small package, then you may want to take a look at the Longbow Micra LED flashlight. With a single 1-watt LED and a single 3-volt Lithium battery, the Longbow Micra flashlight is rated to produce about 21 lumens of light to a range of about 130 feet. The Longbow Micra is small enough to keep almost anywhere, so you are never without access to a bright flashlight.

TERRALUX (www.TerraLUX.biz) TerraLUX makes a flashlight enhancement to convert a traditional bulb to an LED. This upgrade is available for different types of flashlights, including the popular MiniMag model. Converting a flashlight from a regular bulb to an LED light source may offer advantages such as an increased battery life, a nearly indestructible LED with an approximate 100,000-hour lifetime, and a bright white light beam.

NICABOYNE (www.nicaboyne.com): Nicaboyne makes a distinctive product that integrates dual LED lights with a usable pen. This LED light pen has many uses, such as the ability to write and take notes in low-light conditions. People who work at night, including those in law enforcement, security and the military, might want to take a close look at the Nicaboyne LED Light Pen.

PHOTON MICRO-LIGHT (www.PhotonLight.com): The Photon Micro-Light by LRI is a basic lighting tool for everyday life, as well as emergencies. The Photon Micro-Light simply clips onto your keychain, zipper or backpack and is ready for use. It is about the size of a quarter, yet it will provide a strong LED light beam for about 12 hours of continuous use.

MAGLITE (www.MagLite.com): Year ago, when I was a law enforcement rookie, the first "real" flashlight I purchased for duty use was a MagLite. Even today, MagLite is a leading maker of flashlights including the MagLite 2-Cell D, the Mini MagLite and the pocket-sized MagLite Solitaire. These reasonably priced "Made in the USA" flashlights provide a quality source of lighting in virtually any emergency situation.

FOXFURY (www.FoxFury.com): FoxFury makes a line of high-tech LED headlamps. For example, the FoxFury Safety Edition model features an amazing 24 LEDs that can illuminate an area of up to 200 feet in front and up to 60 feed in width. With batteries, this headlamp weighs less than 12 ounces including the batteries.

COLEMAN (www.coleman.com): Coleman, a well-known name in outdoor living products, has a new line of flashlights. They are quality products available at reasonable prices. Their Compact 3 LED Light would be ideal to pop in the glove compartment of your car or to take with you when walking the dog at night (it has an integrated belt clip). The Coleman Widebeam Flashlights feature a new technology that provides a 50 percent broader beam of light than traditional flashlights.

For more information on these flashlights and emergency lighting items, log on to the Web sites for each company.

My Final Thoughts: Take it firsthand from me: The right selection of quality flashlights during any catastrophe is an unquestionable "must have." 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; take action now to acquire the appropriate emergency lighting supplies for your home, car and business, and to carry on your person.

(Note: If you manufacture or distribute any Security, Safety, Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Defense or Crime Prevention related products, please send information on your product line for possible future reference in this column to: [email protected])

Copyright 2005 by Bruce Mandelblit

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"Staying Safe" with Bruce Mandelblit is a regular column for the readers of NewsMax.com and NewsMax.com Magazine.

Bruce welcomes your thoughts. His e-mail address is: [email protected]

Bruce is a nationally known security journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve Law Enforcement Officer. Bruce writes Staying Safe, a weekly syndicated column covering the topics of security, safety and crime prevention.

Bruce was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel – the state's highest honor – for his public service.] 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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