Can You Find These 7 Critical Survival Items in the Dark? (And One Bonus Find)

find-flashlightDarkness can be both an ally and your worst enemy, especially when you’re in a hurry. And, as life would have it, disasters tend to happen at night, in the dark, while you’re fast asleep, and without warning. With this in mind I strongly suggest you have the following items nearby your bedside (somewhat in my order of importance) so that they can be easily found:

  1. Light source – obviously if it’s dark the first thing you’re probably going to want is to be able to see! There are a couple of options here but by far the best one is to keep a durable flashlight (I prefer Maglites) next to your bed. In fact, keep a flashlight next to every bed in the house. Put it wherever it is within arm’s reach and ensure it doesn’t get used but for emergency situations. If you prefer a different approach, you might consider a simple emergency night light that will not only light up if the power goes off (I have these in every bedroom as well) but also turn into a flashlight if you so desire. You could also use a simple tap light (tap to turn on) placed next to the bed if all you need is a small bit of area lighting to get your bearings.
  2. Firearm – Your choice here, handgun, shotgun, or whatever. Certainly, if your concern is the defense of yourself and your family then it behooves you to have one or several within arms reach. Of course, I’ve mentioned why this isn’t the best of plans for people like me in the past but for most people it’s a good idea. You understand.
  3. Fire Extinguisher – I prefer to keep a fire extinguisher or two next to each bedside. While I have no intention of battling a fire without help from the fire department, I will try my best to deal with small “trash can” sized fires if I can. And, of course, I recognize the fact that I cannot and should not battle anything much larger and without an for sure escape path. If you’re at all unsure just get out and pray for the best. Which brings me to my next few points…
  4. Emergency Escape Mask – They say more people die from exposure to the smoke from a house fire rather than the actual flames. I tend to take the experts word for it and suggest you do as well. In this case, consider adding a quality emergency smoke mask next to each bed as something that might give your family a few extra seconds to get out with as little harm done as possible. These masks can get expensive but I would suggest this isn’t the best item to skimp on in the quality department.
  5. Shoes (or slippers) – Actually, slippers are probably the best idea here, especially for those people who live in earthquake areas for the simple fact that in the event of an earthquake you could be literally running for your life–even though you probably should not be–quite possibly over broken things like dishes and glassware. The same can be said for stepping foot over anything that might have caught fire due to a house fire. Certainly, foot protection is a good idea for anybody wandering around their house at night so I suggest you keep a pair of slippers, loafers, or anything that is quickly slipped on next to your bedside so that you’re ready to run… literally.
  6. Jacket, robe, etc – I only know of only one person that actually prefers to sleep fully dressed–yes, that’s a little weird I know and it’s not me–but most people probably sleep in very little clothing whatsoever. Seeing as though you might find need to run out of the house at a moment’s notice in little more than your “birthday suit” then it might be wise to have something nearby that can be easily donned so that the neighbors don’t freak out and call the cops on your for indecent exposure. Oh, and if it’s winter then you be thankful to have at least something to wear while you’re waiting for help to arrive.
  7. Bug out bag – Do I even need to elaborate here? If you gotta go, you gotta go… and post haste! Be sure you know how to get to your bug out bag(s) even in the dark. Perhaps even near your bedside if you have the room and your wife doesn’t complain about them clashing with her decor and blocking the room’s feng shui. 😉

Now, the bonus item is perhaps the most critical one of all…

Spouse (or significant other) and kids – Obviously this could be anybody who is important to you but the question here is: can you quickly get to them in the dark? You might think “sure I can, duh!” but maybe not. Perhaps the kids are literally the next room over but maybe they’re down the hall, on another level, or who knows where. Can you stumble your way there, in the dark, perhaps in the smoke of a fire, with chaos abound if you had to?

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Author: Damian Brindle

Blogging about all things survival and emergency preparedness, including experiences with DIY projects and ideas, gear reviews, living frugally, cooking in unconventional ways, and more! Take a tour to better understand the many tools and resources you can find here as well as what to expect in the future. Learn from my experiences and share your own in the comments below. Have a blessed day. :)

26 thoughts on “Can You Find These 7 Critical Survival Items in the Dark? (And One Bonus Find)”

  1. if you are caught with an intruder in the house, sometimes they’ll lock you in the bathroom to keep you away from telephones guns in the bed or other self-defense areas. I have a small gun safe in The bathroom vanity. Locked so the kids can’t get in, but I can’t if I’m locked in there and need to defend myself! also, having the stickers indicating pets and their possible locations should also be displayed for police and firemen, for obvious reasons.

  2. By your bed: gun and flashlight! RE: bedroom door, ‘lock down all bedrooms Alamo style’, excuse me but ‘bull’! If you (and maybe your spouse)are alone in the house and in the bedroom, ok, but if you have a family, how can you be sure that one of your children (however much they have been told to keep their door locked), didn’t get up to go to the bathroom during the night and forget to re-lock it? Of course you don’t, especially being ‘forted-up’. I suppose you’re right, for the average person, without children, ‘forting-up’ in the bedroom may be the best, but I like to know what is going on in my house BEFORE it is at my bedroom door! Re: fire, I have a friend, now deceased (from that fire), who, because his bedroom door was closed, did not know their was a fire in the house (with the door closed he couldn’t hear it) until he opened the door to a blast of heat and flame! That made it a little late. I realize many people are not trained/confident in handling a ‘situation’, but some of us are. Yes, I would rather let the police do it, but remember, ‘when seconds count, the police are only minutes away’. The wisest comment(s) so far are the people who said, in effect, situations differ, adjust! For example, I would hate to forted up, secure in the knowledge all bedroom doors were locked (and planned only for that), and hear from the hall, one of my children calling my name!

    1. I think you made my points better than I did! I certainly agree that “it depends” on the situation… you can’t just say you should ALWAYS have your bedroom door closed because it might not work such as with having kids in the house which is precisely the reason why I wouldn’t keep my bedroom door closed and barricaded as some would do. But, if it were just my wife and I and nobody else is expected to be in the house then closed and barricaded might be the better option. As with most everything in life, the answer depends on the situation. Thank you for your thoughts.

  3. Seems to me the advice in this article,would have me flat on the floor
    before I could get 4 feet’ Seems a lot of stuff is suppose to be kept by your
    bed’ Being a bit clunbsy,doubt I could have that many articles that close to my bed’

    1. As with anything in prepping, you’re welcome to take what works for you and leave what doesn’t. And, besides, I don’t recall saying you need to have all of these things by your bedside… I don’t.

  4. Old Soldier makes a couple really good (and new) points for us readers. Use that cell phone and let the police know what and where you’ll be, and be
    doing (throwing key out window). Let them do the heavy lifting as they’ve been trained.

  5. Jones is absolutely correct about closing bedroom doors. Furthermore, as a security measure, a strong door and pair of hinges with a decent lock are indicated. If you have intruders in the house, being locked down in all bedrooms and Alamo-ing the intruders is the way to go. Clearing a large house alone in the dark may appeal to your Macho instincts but is a fools errand. Let the people who get paid to do this task do it. I keep a spare key and a chem lite in my bedroom to throw outside when the cops arrive. This allows them to quietly enter your home (Without damage, I might add.). You sit quietly hunkered down behind cover until someone tries to break into your(or another bedroom) then reply with the force justified by immediate threat of severe bodily harm.

  6. Several of my bedside flashlights are attached to lanyards. Wearing the light around my neck keeps my hands free for other tasks. My BOB stays in the pickup. I figure that the truck is where I am 99% of the time. Costco has fire extinguishers on sale now. This would be a great time to add a couple.

  7. I have two large dog’s as my first line of defense.
    As they sleep in the bedroom with my wife and me,I leave the bedroom door open for quick dog egress.

  8. Am I the only one who was taught that a closed bedroom door would help protect you in a fire? Either in slowing the flames, or in reducing the smoke in the room? I was also taught that if you smelled smoke, you never opened a door if it felt hot when you touched the BACK of your hand to it.

    All the other suggestions seem great, but leaving the bedroom door open seems like a bad idea. A door handle clicking as it turns is louder than any alarm clock for me, especially when there’s no reason I’m expecting it. Stronger than coffee and more instant!

    And everyone IS checking their smoke detectors, right? And carbon monoxide detectors? And running a fire drill with children so they know what to do in an emergency? It might be your kids who save you by getting neighbors to help! Survival is rarely an individual activity; its usually a team sport! Not sure I’d want to be the last human alive on earth anyway…

    …And may all our preparations never be needed, and may we all die of very old age in peace and prosperity!

    1. I like the way you express yourself, and the way you think. I wish health and safety to all, and that we’d all be prepared.

  9. Besides the things mentioned (I agree with mariowen), it is my habit to leave a ‘night light’ on in the kitchen (or whatever works for you, location wise). This give me a view of what’s (or who) going on and I am still less than visible in the dark of my bedroom door or hallway. I have the other, especially #’s 1&2, handy, but have no need, normally, to turn on the flashlight. I have a friend who keeps his bedroom door closed as a last line of defense, I prefer (remember the ‘night light’) to have mine open so I can hear, and see in the light from the kitchen, if anything is moving around.

  10. Just a note about flashlights. If you turn them on at the slightest noise in the night, and that noise happens to be an intruder, you may have just made yourself a target. Now they know where you are. Good idea?
    An idea might be to have a type of remote control light that isn’t going to reflect directly on you. You could benefit from the light but it would be indirect and perhaps give you a chance to see them before they can locate you. It will also give you the advantage of having the light ruin their night vision without exposing you.

  11. Maybe a good idea is to practice finding all these things in the dark so you aren’t dependent on a light. A flashlight ties up one of your hands that could be used more efficiently finding, holding, carrying things.
    Keep the BOB right beside the window or door – whatever is your escape route. Rather than having to carry a BOB out, it might behoove you to keep an additional bag in the vehicle and another outside the house where you can retrieve it. Then you don’t have to cart it around as you try to exit.
    Speaking of vehicles, where are your keys in all of this? You will need them if you plan to use your car for escape.
    Clothes are a great idea if you have the time, but when time is of the essence, they are the most disposable of all the items listed. If you don’t like to be seen by the neighbors, consider changing your sleeping habits. It is a small price to pay for preparedness.
    A good, solid-soled shoe is much preferable to slippers since they will protect your feet from debris that may cut. They will also help if you have to climb over debris that inhibits your exit. They are also what you want if you are going to be gone for a length of time or forever. You don’t want to be caught in slippers! If you don’t have something like that that is easy to slip into, then purchase some as part of your preparedness.
    Nothing – absolutely nothing – is as important as your family. If you have to leave everything else behind, be sure your family is safe. This includes your pets. The other stuff is just that – stuff. Material things can be replaced. Lives cannot.
    ….just my observations……

    1. Very good thoughts in all, though, I’m not quite sure what you mean by “If you don’t like to be seen by the neighbors, consider changing your sleeping habits.” As for my keys, they’re always where I keep my other stuff like wallet, watch, etc. The thing is that you can add MANY things to this list and never be done. As for the other comment on turning on a flashlight at an intruder, I like the thought of having a remote controlled light but unless the intruder is very near that light I can’t see this being very effective. Think about how large most homes are (even going from one room to another) the odds of an intruder being in the right spot to be properly seen by a remote light has got to be small unless, of course, you don’t move. So, using a flashlight is the “best” option for being able to clear the house. Personally, I would rather take the chance of an intruder shooting me because I’m pointing a flashlight at them than shooting my kids in the dark because I couldn’t see them clearly… just my preference. 😉

  12. When something goes bump in the night, and the first thing you grab for is the flashlight, if you can’t see it, you might not be able to find it. With a tiny, glowing, key fob either directly attached, or by way of a small lanyard to the flashlight, you can easily locate what you are looking for with absolutely no lighting in the room. Otherwise, you are left to blindly rummage around the top of your nightstand or in a drawer in search of your flashlight, or keys or whatever….
    Disclaimer: I manufacture and have sold many, many thousands of glow in the dark fobs over the years that people attach to their flashlights or anything else that they want to immediately be able to locate in the dark. Just thought I should disclose that, before someone else might point that out 🙂

    1. Do you have a link to your key fobs? I would be interested. That said, your flashlight shouldn’t move on you. While I keep mine on the floor at my bedside I’ve seen people recommend velcroing it to a headboard which I think is probably a better option.

  13. Clock it up to the military in me, but when I go to bed at night the clothes I will wear tomorrow are already laid out by the bed with my EDC in the pockets, holster and knife on the belt. My pistol goes in top of night stand. Bug out bag is at foot of bed. I guess I must have a fetish for flashlights, because I have 1 in pants pocket, 1 in BOB, 3 in night stand, 1 in dresser and numerous others in my supplies, garage ETC. One thing I insist on is having a fire extinguisher by the door in each room. My father used to keep a garden hose hooked up in the bathroom to fight his way out of the house, because he lived in a trailer and was too old to get up to the escape windows. He figured that would at least give him a chance to get to the closest door.

    1. Too many flashlights? Not at all… six nearly within arm’s reach is about right. 😉 Besides that, I would say you’re definitely ready to go at a moment’s notice!

  14. To add to my previous comment, if it’s a house fire you’re escaping from,
    either close the window or your bedroom door on your way out because the draft from the open window could cause the fire to spread quicker.

  15. If you’re in a possible earthquake zone and have a headboard to your bed, put
    a lanyard on your flashlight and hook it on the headboard so it won’t get knocked somewhere on the floor when you need it.
    Everyone seems to keep personal and valuable stuff in their top bureau drawer.
    If you have time of course, scoop that stuff into your pillow case and throw it out the window. You may never have a chance later to retrieve valuables.

    1. Keeping the light up on the headboard is an interesting idea, but could you imagine trying to grab it as the light swings wildly back and forth in a earthquake!? Guess it’s no different trying to chase one as it rolls around the ground. 😉

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