Miniature Oil Lamps, Lights Out! What to Do When the Power Fails

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Miniature Oil Lamps, Lights Out! What to Do When the Power Fails. Can your family quickly convert from a fully electrified, electronically connected lifestyle to one without power and lights? In these uncertain political times, knowing how to manage without electric power is a lesson that every family should learn.

Whether lightning strike, transformer explosion, ice storm or, God forbid, a terror strike, losing access to electric power usually means lights out, heat's off, A/C's silent and your phone, refrigeration, water and cooking services are compromised, if not cancelled.

Miniature Oil Lamps

Just read Laura Ingalls Wilder's "The Long Winter" to grasp the enormity of long, dark nights in the mind and memory of a young child. Of all the hardships the Ingalls family endured that winter, you may be most struck by the darkness that descended -- literally and figuratively -- when kerosene ran out and there was no way to light the lamps.

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Bringing light back into your life has to be your first concern, since -- before you can deal with everything else -- you need to be able to see what you're dealing with! Instead of fumbling around in the dark, here are some basic steps to take and materials to have on hand when you hear that dreaded call, "the lights went out!"

Lamp Illumination

1. It's no financial hardship to keep a simple oil lamp available to light each of your home's main rooms. I now keep more than a dozen lamps, nearly all of them $2 or less and bought at garage and yard sales. You can buy two large glass lamps at a local Wal-Mart for less than $6.

2. The lamps won't do much good if you have no oil, so keep several large containers of lamp oil in storage, as well as extra wicks and kitchen matches. Stock the clear, odorless and smokeless oil if you can. Be sure you've got oil and sufficient wicking in each lamp before the lights go out!

3. Lamps mounted high on a shelf will throw more light and banish more shadows than those placed on an end table or coffee table. We tend to congregate in our family room, so keep two oil-filled lamps on the fireplace mantel at all times, two on the built-in bookcases and another one on a wall shelf ... just in case!

4. Don't overlook the miniature oil lamps. You can buy them inexpensively at discount stores and even less expensively at garage sales! They are easy to use, long-burning and are just right to light a hallway, bathroom or a stairwell.

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5. One other tip about oil lamps: Keep the chimneys clean at all times. Just make washing the chimneys a part of your regular cleaning regimen. A sparkling clean chimney will disperse much more light than a grimy, sooty chimney. And if the power goes out unexpectedly, you won't have time to wash the lamps before you need them!

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No matter where you live -- city, country, town or suburb --"power's out!" are among the most discouraging words you can hear. But they don't have to be. With a little foresight, you don't have to miss a beat when you suddenly find yourself without electricity.

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