Whether its a short-term blackout during a winter storm or an extended disaster scenario, sitting around in the dark is a safety hazard and can be horrible for morale. Have a few supplies ready to keep the lights on when the power goes out.
It’s always a good idea to have these on hand, regardless of what other supplies you might have. A basic votive candle (the little stubby ones about 2 1/2 inches tall) should give you 12 hours of light, and they’re pretty cheap. Taller tapers run the risk of getting knocked over much easier though they usually burn longer. Of course, you’ll need matches or a lighter to go along with them and stable holders. Great for indoor light, but not too practical or lighting the way if you are outside.
You really have to have a few good-quality flashlights on hand. They provide bright light in an instant and don’t pose a fire risk like candles do. In an emergency when you are moving around inside and out, flashlights are a must. Rotate your batteries once a year and you shouldn’t have any problems keeping them lit. A crank flashlight helps avoid the battery issue, though they aren’t always as bright. For hands-free use, a head lamp is another good idea.
Hand-held flashlights are great for when you are on the move, but they are a poor choice when you’re just sitting around because you have to keep holding on to it. A tabletop lantern is better for standard room lighting. You can get battery-powered ones or camping lanterns that run with canisters of gas.
These little lights aren’t going to give you a lot of bright light, but they are very cheap and can be excellent options for lighting hallways and stairs for better navigation around the house in the dark. Keep them out in the sun during the day to keep them charged, and you won’t have to worry about batteries.
These aren’t the most practical option but they do have their place. They can be bright enough to help you navigate navigate (inside or out), and can be very important if you are outdoors and need to keep an eye on other family members in the dark. Just have everyone hang a glow stick around their necks. The best feature is that you don’t anything else to make them work, just bend and crack. Ideal for fast light in any weather.
The ultimate gear for keeping the lights on is a gasoline generator. With a small amount of gasoline, you can power a number of household lights and possibly keep large appliances (like fridge/freezer) as well as computers or televisions running. Just make sure you have a place to have your genny running outdoors. Store a few heavy-duty extension cords nearby so you can easily bring the power into the house.
Overall, the best approach to lighting in a blackout is to have supplies for more than one source of light. Don’t rely solely on your flashlights or just have a box of candles. Have at least 2 options on hand, if not more.