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Lesson #1: Batteries & Candles

Based on stories/lessons learned from your colleagues and co-workers.

What Happened: the 10/12/06 storm - Whatever you're using in your home, what will you do to make it work??

Lesson Learned: Batteries & Candles

Everyone needed and used these. A lot of people found they needed way more batteries and candles than they imagined - especially as days and nights went by without power, and stores ran out of stock...

Staff Tip of the Week: C. & J. remind you that you can "borrow" batteries from walkman radios, calculators, hand-held games, remote control toys and race cars, etc. but never, ever from your Smoke Alarm! Remember your camping supplies. You can use mirrors to magnify and reflect the light of candles.

Batteries: Be sure you keep up-to-date on your batteries - they do lose their charge (expire) and if not kept in a cool, dry place, they can corrode and become unusable. So check your supply often, and cycle them out to keep them "fresh", and remember the various sizes - AA, AAA, 9 volt, C and D - you'll probably need ALL for varying needs.

Battery lifetime ... Even if never taken out of the original package, disposable (or "primary") batteries can lose two to twenty-five percent of their original charge every year. This rate depends significantly on temperature, since typically chemical reactions proceed more rapidly as the temperature is raised. This is known as the "self discharge" rate and is due to non-faradaic (non-current-producing) chemical reactions, which occur within the cell even if no load is applied to it. Batteries should be stored at cool or low temperatures to reduce the rate of the side reactions. For instance, some people make a practice of storing unused batteries in their refrigerators to extend battery lifetime, although care should be taken to ensure the batteries do not freeze. Extremely high or low temperatures will reduce battery performance. Rechargeable batteries self-discharge more rapidly than disposable alkaline batteries; up to three percent a day (depending on temperature). Due to their poor shelf life, they shouldn't be left in a drawer and then relied upon to power a flashlight or a small radio in an emergency. For this reason, it's a good idea to keep a few alkaline batteries on hand. "an experiment showed that Rayovac outlasted all of the other batteries we tested by at more than two hours. The Eveready battery, which is a regular, non-alkaline battery, lasted only 6 hours and 35 minutes. The Duracell lasted 15 hours. The Energizer lasted 22 hours and 15 minutes. The Rayovac lasted 24-1/2 hours."

Candles: Great for light, and a little heat, but Safety, Safety, Safety!!!

Put them on a heat resistant surface- Be especially careful with tea lights, which get hot enough to melt plastic. TVs are not fire-resistant objects.

Use a proper holder - Candles need to be held firmly upright by the holder so they won't fall over. The holder needs to be stable too, so it won't fall over either. Keep clothes and hair away - If there's any chance you could lean across a candle and forget it's there, put it somewhere else.

Keep children and pets away - they don't understand the danger (and animals don't seem to know their tails are attached)

Keep candles apart - at least four inches (10cm) between two burning candles. The heat will melt each other.

Take care with votive or scented candles -These kind turn to liquid to release their fragrance, so put them in a glass or metal holder.

Don't move them when they're burning - Extinguish candles before moving them. Also, don't let anything fall into the hot wax like match sticks.

Don't leave them burning - Extinguish candles before you leave a room. Never go to sleep with a candle still burning. And never leave a burning candle or oil burner in a child's bedroom. Use a snuffer or a spoon to put them out -It's safer than blowing them, which can send sparks and hot wax flying.

Double-check they're out - Candles that have been put out can go on smouldering and start a fire. Make sure they're completely out.

This message brought to you by the Emergency Planning Committee to help you prepare