Monday 7 September 2015

What happens when the lights go out?


Expedition Kitbag: Blackout Survival Kit

So if the power goes off and the lights go out at home, what do we do?

For most of us, it’s time to go looking for the flashlight, only to find there’s no batteries, or they’ve leaked inside the unit, rendering it useless. So we strike a match and burn our fingers looking for that pack of AAs we hid somewhere. Instead we find the scented candle left over from Mothers’ Day 1966 and it even if we find the matches, we know it’s going to smell like a smoldering funeral parlour.

At home, this situation is a comical inconvenience, but what if you are in a foreign hotel or a cruise ship and there is a total loss of power? What if the situation is exaggerated by a fire or other emergency? Stop laughing, it happened to me.

One of the must-pack items in my kitbag has always been a pocket torch and boy, was I glad to have it handy that night on 15th floor of the Westin Edmonton when power went out to the whole building just as I was packing to check out at 5.30am.

So when a product arrived on my desk called ‘Blackout Buddy’, I took notice.

Blackout Buddy
The 240V rechargeable, always ready emergency flashlight and nightlight
There’s actually two of these little ‘buddies’. One is a 240V night light, emergency (4hr) flashlight and blackout alert that you can leave plugged in at home or in your hotel room or ship cabin. If the power goes out the unit automatically illuminates. Endorsed by the Red Cross, it has a RRP of $25.95.

The second is a smaller, always-ready, single use emergency light that needs no batteries. The cute thing about this tiny Blackout Buddy H20 is that it is water (or any fluid) activated making it a much smarter alternative to matches or potentially explosive disposable lighters.

Just add water for up to 72 hours of light
It has a clever magnesium-oxide battery module that is free from mercury, hexavalent chromium, cadmium and lead. Just add water once a day to keep it alight for up to 72 hours. Note, that once turned on, you can’t turn it off and when it’s done, it’s done. RRP $14.95 each or $29.99 for a triple pack.

Now let’s say you need to keep an ear out for weather or fire warnings after the power has gone out. And let’s face it, no one ever has fresh batteries in the old tranny radio. So here’s the potentially lifesaving solution: the FRX1 Hand turbine radio and LED flashlight.

You can charge this little jigger via the supplied USB cable while you have power, or turn the hand crank to charge the batteries when the grid goes down. You can tune into AM, FM or good ol’ shortwave if you remember how. The sound is not Hi-Fi by any means, but more than sufficient to hear emergency warnings or listen to calming music while you wait further instructions. RRP $74.95

All these items can be purchased from Anaconda Stores nationwide or online at

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