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Batteries are always on the list for an emergency kit. You need them in an emergency, but you use them every day too. Pick a place in the house to store batteries and just make sure you have a good supply. Buy an extra pack or two of every kind of battery you use and keep them in one place.
Like with the gasoline, the trick is putting batteries on the shopping list when you open the last package instead of when you use the last one. This has the added advantage that there are always batteries for the non-emergencies as well. If you keep batteries in the refrigerator, they last longer and you always know where they are.
Flashlights are cheap. Keep a lot of them. Often, when they are on sale, the whole flashlight costs little more than the batteries in it. Every car, every garage, every basement, every bedroom, every office desk should have a flashlight in it. Then when the power goes out, it's handy. This has the added advantage that there are spare bulbs and flashlights not just spare batteries. It is very frustrating to have a whole sack full of spare batteries and discover that the bulb in the one flashlight is burned out.
For lighting, there are flashlights that are intended to sit on a table and be used as a lantern. It is helpful to have one or two of these in the house. Some flashlights have multiple choices for the light including emergency flashers. These are often sold with auto supplies and are particularly useful as the flashlight in the car.
Standard tapers and pillar candles may make lovely lighting for a romantic dinner, but they have drawbacks as a source of emergency lighting. They do not last long, generally a few hours, and it really is not safe to leave them burning if you are not in the room. Candles tip over easily, the wax can run where it can do harm, and they are a frequent cause of fires. You may want to use candles for lighting the dinner table, but any real work or movement should be lighted with a flashlight or lantern.
Lanterns are the best thing for emergency lighting. There are three types that are acceptable, oil, kerosene, and candle lanterns. Kerosene and oil lanterns are essentially the same design. Oil is pulled up the wick from the pool in the base of the lamp and burns off the wick to create light. Oil lanterns have the advantage that the oil comes in manageable bottles, burns more cleanly, and is safer to store than kerosene Both types should be kept in good repair, have an adequate wick, and be stored empty. To use one lamp five hours a day for a week, you need about 2 quarts of lamp oil. Candle lanterns use candles in spring-loaded tubes inside a lantern body. This makes the candles safe and the candles are easier and safer to store than lamp oil or kerosene.† You can find these at camping supply stores.
A car can be a source of power for a lot of the small needs. Have a car charger for your cell phone. Have a flashlight or spotlight that plugs into the car. You can turn on the car radio to listen to the news. You can even pile in the car to get warm. Just remember that you must not run the car in a closed space or where the exhaust will get in the house. Don't run the battery down and donít run the car out of gas if you may need it to evacuate. Running the car takes a lot of fuel for a little bit of electricity.