The power grid is aging and blackouts are on the increase. Just this year alone, many people have had their preparedness skills put to the test after major power outages.
- January 10 & 21, February 27, complete power outage in Sudan.
- On March 2, a Nor’easter struck the east coast of the U.S, leaving over 2 million people without power.
- On March 21, a power outage struck large swaths of Brazil, affecting tens of millions of people, especially in the country’s northern and northeastern regions. The blackout was due to the failure of a transmission line near the massive Belo Monte hydroelectric station.
- On April 12, 870,000 customers in Puerto Rico lost power when a tree fell on a major power line near the town of Cayey while workers were clearing vegetation. A week later, on April 18, power was lost to all of Puerto Rico when an excavator repairing 2017 damage from Hurricane Maria hit a line connecting two major power plants. After a request by Governor Ricardo Rossello, the government electricity monopoly, PREPA, terminated its relationship with D. Grimm, the subcontractor responsible for both incidents.
- On July 3 from around 00:20 till around 8:00, nearly the whole of Azerbaijan, except Nakchivan (which had its own independent station) and Nagorny Garabagh (which was not under Azerbaijani control), had a major power outage. The reason was unexpectedly high temperatures which could not be handled by Mingachevir Electric Station (the main electricity supplier of country). Although outage lasted for quite long, it didn’t cause any serious problems. Engineers started recovering electric supply immediately, starting from capital city Baku, and soon lights were on again in the country.
- On September 6, the 2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi earthquake, which knocked out power to about 2.95 million customers in around Hokkaido, mainly due to damaged in thermal power station of Tomato-Azuma, according to Japan Federation of Electric Power Companies official confirmed report.
- On September 21 a severe thunderstorm, with wind gust up to 260 km/hr, hit the Ottawa/Gatineau region. The storm caused large scale damage to the power infrastructure, with 80 poles broken and one transformer station damaged. The destruction caused power outage for about 172,000 customers for intervals between few hours and several days.
- On October 15, a fire in La Arenosa electrical station in Carabobo, caused a massive blackout which affected 16 states in the northern part of Venezuela varying from 1 to 3 hours, although some persons report that it tooks 18 hours in some zones. The Electrical Energy Minister Luis Motta Domínguez reported that the cause of the fire was because of an explosion.
Those listed above are only the tip of the iceburg. These are the major blackouts from this year so far, for more visit Wikipedia.
When severe power outages occur, your home is not even near the top of the list to have its power restored. They must first address hospitals, water treatment facilities, fire and police stations, and many other medical, government, and administrative buildings before they work on getting power back in to your home.
The good news, is that with a little craftiness, you have many items already in your home that you can turn into candles that can create heat and light for the family. During this guide we are going to look at five items that you probably already have and that you can create your own emergency candles. The five items that we are going to be looking at are:
- Wax Crayons
- Can of Tuna
- Cheese Wax
Wax Crayon Candle
Wax crayons make a quick and easy emergency candle that will give you light for around 30 minutes per crayon.
Crayons are not intended for use as candles and they do not burn as cleanly as a ‘real’ candle. You can smell the burning paper and the melting wax. Also, this project is suitable for adults or should be performed under adult supervision.
All you need for this to work is a crayon that still has the paper wrapper around it and a good lighter that can hold a flame. Due to the shape of crayons, being tall and skinny, you have to melt the bottom of the crayon slightly and stick it to the surface where it will be used to ensure that it wont fall over when lit. Choose your surface for the candle wisely. Be sure to use a flame resistant surface such as glass or metal.
Now all that is left is to light your candle. Light the top of the candle until the wax begins to melt and the paper catches fire. This can take 10-15 seconds. The paper serves as the wick for your candle and the wax burns as the fuel. Check out the video below:
Orange Peel Candle
Next up in our list of cool ways to make emergency candles is oranges, or more specifically, orange peels.
Now, this will take some practice to get it right but once done correctly, it will burn for as long as you have oil for it. Unlike the method above, you are going to need fuel for this candle. You can use any cooking oil but I found olive oil to work the best for me.
The cutting of the orange is what you need to be very careful to get right. You don’t want to just slice straight through as you need a longer wick.
Start by placing your orange on a cutting surface with the ends facing horizontally. Next, cut all the way around the center of the orange peel just deep enough to cut through the white pith lining the peel. Stick your thumb in the slice on one half of the orange between the peel and flesh of the fruit and carefully rotate the orange loosening the peel from the flesh.
Once the peel loosens from the flesh on one half of the orange, grab the ends of the orange and slowly twist and pull the loosened peel from the orange. What you’re left with is an orange peel shaped like a small bowl with the central column of the orange intact to serve as your wick.
Slowly pour oil into the orange peel and then slightly coat the top of the central column to soak the wick. Light the wick and hey presto! You have light. Simply add more oil as needed.
The flame will be very small at first but once it gets going, it will give you a nice, long burning flame that won’t easily go out. If it does go out it should relight just fine.
I recommend using matches to light the orange peel candle as you can’t tilt it once the oil is in it so you may end up burning yourself if using a lighter. Check out the video below:
All you will need for our third candle is a stick of butter, some toilet paper, and something to poke a hole through the butter with like a toothpick.
One Tablespoon of butter will burn for about 1 hour so cut the butter into the sizes that you require leaving the paper wrapper on the butter.
Take your toothpick and poke a hole in the top of the butter at the center. The hole should reach all the way to the bottom.
Next, take your piece of toilet paper and twist it tightly. Using your toothpick, push the make-shift wick down into the hole until it touches the bottom. Give it a little twist to release, and pull the stick back out. You should end up with about 1/4″ of the wick poking out of the center.
The wick needs a little starter fuel, and that can be added by rubbing the wick tip down into the exposed butter at the top.
When you strike your match, hold the flame near the butter at the base of the wick. The butter needs to melt a little for the flame to become self-sustaining, so it may take a couple of seconds. Our third candle is ready. Check out the video below:
Can of Tuna Candle
As I have already written about this one before I will just leave the link which you can see here. And you can check the video below:
Cheese Wax Candle
The wax that coats many cheeses to prevent mold growth and retain moisture makes for an awesome candle.
All you need is your wax coated cheese, a wick (toilet paper, string, etc), and a knife.
Use your knife to remove the wax coating from the cheese and then slice it down so that you have two flat pieces of wax. Next, place your wick on one end of the wax and begin rolling up the wax.
Make sure you use a long enough wick so you have room to light it once you’re finished. Once you have rolled up the wax, squeeze tightly at the top beneath the wick to secure it.
Lastly, stand the candle up in the direction it will be lit and press it down firmly into the hard surface to create a flat bottom so the candle will stand. Light it up and you’re good to go. Check out the video below:
Always use caution when working with candles and open flames. Check out our post on staying safe around candles