Certain Flashlights May Not Be Enough

During a conversation recently, a friend told me about the emergency flashlights in her home.  They plug in and store at an electrical outlet, recharging constantly, and when the power goes out they turn on automatically to shine on the floor providing emergency lighting.  "Are those your only emergency flashlights?" I asked. They are.

Here are my concerns:
  • In an emergency, the charge may fail too soon if the flashlights come on automatically.  Let's say you leave for work Friday morning at 7:30 am, and your home loses power shortly after.  That night you go out to dinner and a movie with a friend right after work.  You arrive home at 10:00 pm to a dark house with no working flashlights because these flashlights have already been shining for 14 hours!
  • Some of these flashlights take a non-standard battery.  You aren't likely to keep a fresh charged one on hand, and you certainly can't store an extra battery with it hanging on the wall.
  • Rechargeable batteries don't last infinitely.  At some point these batteries will wear down, leaving you with only minutes to a charge.  If you don't test the life of your batteries occasionally (And who really does that?), you won't know how long each charge is lasting.
  • In an emergency evacuation, such as during flash flooding or a nearby chemical spill, your emergency kit and go-bags are designed to grab and go without thinking.  In a rush, you may not remember to add anything not stored with your kit.
I think this style of flashlight is handy for everyday use.  It's ready when you are for dark corners, flashlight tag, and looking for Legos in your 4 year old's ear.  But you need a designated emergency flashlight with at least two sets of batteries (stored out of but with the flashlight) that you keep solely in your emergency kit, just in case.

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