What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Solar for Emergency Preparedness

Solar Emergency Preparedness

As summer comes to an end it's time to make sure we are well stocked for the winter months. Not only am I busy making sure the pantry is well stocked with home canned and dried foods, I'm also adding to the freezer stock. However, preparedness is more than just have a 1 - 2 year supply of food on hand. This is also the time of the year to stock up on sundry type items such as laundry soap, personal needs items, toilet paper, First Aid supplies as well as emergency preparedness items. I'll be making a few posts on getting prepared for winter.

During winter storms the prospect of having no electricity for short periods of time increase. The normal recommendations is to keep oil lamps with plenty of fuel and lots of candles in your emergency preparedness stores. In cold climates both serve to provide light with a bit of heat. I keep a good supply of homemade beeswax and soy candles on hand for regular and emergency use. However, in homes with pets or children using oil lamps and candles can present a risk of fire and/or injury if they get bumped or knocked over. Battery operated emergency devices only work if you have sufficient batteries. I've turned to solar devices as part of my emergency preparedness.

Pictured is the wind-up/solar powered radio, Coleman camp lantern, a few of our many flashlights, solar light stakes, battery operated lights, rechargeable batteries (AAA, AA, D), 6 V battery adapter and solar battery chargers. Not pictured are a couple of small camp lanterns that use only one 6 V battery and a wind-up flash light. The principle of using solar rests on turning solar energy from the sun into usable energy for lighting and heating. In emergency situations you cannot always rely on the sun however in most cases you will be able to get enough sunlight exposure to power emergency equipment such as the radio, some lights and solar battery chargers if need be. Combining wind-up power for essentials like flash lights and a radio makes good sense as these can be used without relying only on solar.

The light stakes are meant for garden use but can easily be charged in a sunny window to provide indoor lighting for the evening during a power outage. I like keeping a good supply of charged batteries on hand that can be recharged if necessary using the solar battery chargers. The 6 V battery adapter is a rather interesting find. It uses 4 - D cell batteries and can be used in place of a 6 V battery. I think these are great items to have in our emergency preparedness supplies.

Garden Gnome