What is an Emergency Flashlight?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 February 2020
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An emergency flashlight can refer to numerous types of flashlights that people keep in places like homes, cars, or emergency kits to be used in case of emergency. Organizations like the Red Cross recommend that all emergency kits contain an emergency flashlight, and that people especially avoid using things like candles or other light sources that require flame. Some natural disasters, for instance, could cause gas leaks, which may not be apparent. Using an open flame can be dangerous because of its inherent fire risk, even without a gas leak, and also because if a gas leak is present, the flame can easily lead to devastating fires and personal injury.

Many people choose an emergency flashlight that is battery operated. This can be a good choice if a person has access to numerous batteries. Only having a back up battery or two may not be enough to provide consistent power for the flashlight throughout the length of an emergency. For this reason, others look to different kinds of flashlights that can be charged in various ways.

One emergency flashlight that many people turn to is a crank flashlight. This is powered by winding a small hand crank for about a minute to produce approximately an hour’s light. Once the light stops working, the crank is wound again to produce more light. Since these flashlights rely only on people power, they may be preferable.


Alternately, some people turn to an emergency flashlight that is rechargeable, especially through plug in to things like car cigarette lighters or chargers. Of course, depending on the emergency, it may or may not be possible to get to a car to charge the light, and if power is off in the home, the light may not be of much use. However, these lights might be ideal for keeping in a car.

Others consider solar powered lights to be the best source, because they will produce light when exposed to sun for several hours. When the flashlight is kept in an emergency kit or disaster preparedness kit, it may not be ready for use for several hours, and if the emergency occurs in the dark, people may need to wait for daylight before they can use the flashlight. In general, an emergency flashlight powered only by solar is a poor choice.

Another alternative for the emergency flashlight exists, and this is a flashlight that has numerous ways to recharge or obtain power. Such flashlights can be battery powered, feature a hand crank, recharge in a car, and be solar powered too. Since it's impossible to predict the nature of an emergency, an emergency flashlight that can be powered in a variety of ways makes the most sense. People can find such flashlights at a variety of local stores and online.

Consider having these flashlights in several locations. Keep one available in a car for emergency stops in the dark, or need to inspect the car. Have a flashlight within reach at night as needed in case of black outs. Stock emergency flashlights in an emergency kit or disaster preparedness kit too. Since flashlights are often attractive to kids, make sure they know that any lights designated for emergency are not toys and should not be used for entertainment purposes.


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