Should I carry a flashlight everyday?

Our world has become more and more dependent on artificial illumination. Just one day without it is intolerable. This leads some to ask: Should I carry a flashlight every day?

Yes, your cell phone makes for a poor flashlight. You should carry a keychain light all the time and a mid-sized flashlight whenever you expect to need more illumination.


Why your phone makes a poor flashlight

Many people think that having a cell phone that can operate as a flashlight is all the light they need for their everyday carry. But that is far from the truth. Actually, you are cell phone it makes a very poor flashlight for the following reasons:

1. Not bright enough
First off, your cell phone just isn’t very bright. The average cell phone puts out about 50-80 lumens which for a flashlight is pretty weak. You might think that the flash on your cell phone would produce hundreds of lumens but that’s not the case. Cell phones cannot sustain that bright flash, you would destroy your phone very quickly if you had the full flash effect on for any length of time. Instead, to protect their phones, the cell phone companies greatly reduce the lighting power of your cell phone.

2. Not focused enough
Secondly, a cell phone light is very broad. It’s not focused at all and so it doesn’t throw a tight beam and it doesn’t throw light very far. If you need to see something further than a few feet away you’re out of luck with a cell phone light.

3. Inconvenient to handle
A cell phone is designed to hold close to your face. It is not designed for you to hold it out to illuminate an area. If you try to do this in an unfamiliar area, you’re likely to bump into something or to stumble and then you will either drop the phone or you use your hands to protect yourself and as you reach out you’ll smash the phone into something. And as you know most cell phones are not designed to be smashed into things.

4. Eats battery too fast
You can practically hear your cell phone battery huffing and puffing away as it lights up a few feet in front of you. And what happens next is that your cell phone battery is dead, now you can’t make any calls and you don’t have any light. And that’s why you should use your cell phone as a backup light and not as your primary light.


What do you need a flashlight for?

Now let’s consider all of the opportunities you have for using a flashlight and the reasons why you might need a flashlight in those circumstances.

1. Look under at stuff in the daytime
Firstly, you might want to look under your desk or under the sofa. There are 10,000 things in your house and in your office and if something falls down on the floor, you may need extra light in order to find it. This is a great time to pull out your trusty flashlight and quickly find what you’re looking for.

2. In the attic/basement
Your attic and the basement are rarely well illuminated and when you are looking inside boxes and around nooks and crannies and corners, it’s great to have a real flashlight with you. In your office, you might need to go above the ceiling panels to work on some wiring or some other kind of problem. If you have your flashlight in one hand, you can then do your work with the other hand and avoid making a bigger problem than the one that you’re trying to solve.

3. In the car
Having a flashlight with you or at least in your car is absolutely mandatory. It’s not only helpful when you have to leave your car and move around at night or in the dark parking garage. It’s also really useful if you’re looking at some map or looking for something that’s falling down in your car with car seat car well. How many times have you dropped something in the car and had to wait until you got to a restaurant or gas station to look for it in the better light?

4. Around the neighborhood
A flashlight is great to have a night even when you’re just going around your own neighborhood. Street lights are nice but they don’t create uniform lighting and the same with house lighting when you walk around your house things are not equally well lit. It’s much safer and more convenient to carry a flashlight with you and you can provide your own lighting where the Environmental Lighting is poor.

5. In nature
A flashlight is absolutely essential when you’re going out into nature or at night or even if you’re just going through a park. Nature is poorly illuminated. So when you’re passing through a park or a natural area, you really want to have a good flashlight with you. It will not only ensure safe footing for you, it will illuminate the eye line, so you don’t walk into the branches of a tree or a big spider web.

6. Blackout
Having a flashlight during a blackout will provide you with a lot of confidence. Even though your home or your office is intimately familiar, that’s only when there is lots of light. We quickly become disoriented, confused, and nervous when we can’t see what we’re doing or where we’re going. Thus, having a flashlight with you allow you to be able to orient yourself exactly where you are and exactly where you need to go. This is especially important if you’re using some emergency exit that you’re not familiar with. Plus, with a flashlight, you can get stuff done while you are waiting for the power to return. Light is power.

7. Disaster
Having a flashlight during a disaster could save your life and can save the lives of others too. Whether it’s a blizzard or a flood or hurricane or terrorism a flashlight could make all the difference. First off, since hardly anybody does bring their flashlights when you pull out your flashlight you become the natural leader of any group you’re in. With your access to light you can easily assemble other people together into a group and then you together can take appropriate action.

8. Waiting for help

Even if you’re unable to escape, if you’re unable to get out of danger, if you have to wait for assistance, you can still use your flashlight to signal for help. A flashlights battery will last for hours in many settings. Many flashlights have distress settings with a flashing light and some of them have multi-colored lights. This makes it much easier for people to find you in the dark.

9. Nonlethal self-defense
There are many places where it’s illegal to bring a gun or a knife, it’s perfectly legal to bring a flashlight. While a knife or a gun makes a better weapon, there are times when you want a non-lethal response.

The first element of self-defense is to identify threats. A flashlight allows you to identify threats from a good distance and it will allow you to see if they’re carrying a weapon or have hostile intent. Plus you can use it to quickly scan an area to identify how many threats you may be dealing with or you can use it focused on one narrow area and search in great detail for someone who may be hiding.

The second element of second defense with a flashlight is that a bright light will discourage many people from attacking you. Most troublemakers don’t want attention to their actions so they like to avoid light. A bright flashlight beam tends to repel threats just by itself. And if these threats continue towards you in a threatening way, flashing them with a bright light in the eyes is going to strongly discourage them from closing in with you. A strong flashlight of 350 or 500 lumens will momentarily blind them. This will allow you to escape or perhaps launch an attack.

And finally, a flashlight is excellent at repelling threats. You can use your flashlight to strike somebody. BE careful, if you hit them in the neck or the head, it could be lethal. If you strike them in the leg they won’t be able to run for a while, so you could easily run away from them. Or you can strike them in the arm and they will drop whatever weapon they’re carrying. Certainly, if you expect to use your flashlight as a weapon, you should train with it, just like you would train with any weapon.

What kind of flashlight do you need?

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the most common every day carry flashlights.

  • Cell phone
    • advantages: always on hand
    • disadvantage: expensive, fragile, eats batteries, not powerful
  • Key chain light:
    • advantages: cheap, always on hand
    • disadvantage: not powerful
  • Mid-sized flashlight
    • advantages: powerful, long-lasting, defensive capability
    • disadvantages: bulky, heavy, may not be on hand

The recommended choice is to always carry a keychain light. You can just forget that it’s in your pocket until you need it. Then when you expect to need more light carry a mid-sized flashlight in your pockets or a carry bag. This will allow you to be prepared for whatever lighting problems you face.



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