49 Expert Tips, Tricks, and Advice for New, Teen Drivers Book

I just realized that I forgot to mention that my latest book, How to Drive Safely: 49 Expert Tips, Tricks, and Advice for New, Teen Drivers, is currently available and FREE for the next two or three days on Amazon Kindle (through Thursday, I believe).

I know it’s not quite a “survival” book that most people expect, but I’d say it’s one of the most important books anyone could read to keep them safe in their daily lives, especially for new drivers… like my oldest son is about to be. Besides, even seasoned drivers could use the refresher; I know I learned a few statistics that started me and it reinforced quite a few safe driving habits I’d been lax about in recent decades, lol.

Here’s What’s Covered Inside…

  • The Most Dangerous Driving Times, Days, and Situations (some of these might surprise you)
  • 5 Actions You Should Always Do Before Driving Off (how spending 15 seconds now can save your life)
  • Why Not Speeding is Much More Than Avoiding Speeding Tickets (and why it doesn’t actually save time)
  • What NOT to Do While Driving (you’d be surprised at how much safer you’ll be)
  • 11 More Common-Sense Safety Tips to Know (these could keep you the safest of all)
  • Why Semi-Trucks and Other Large Vehicles Deserve Special Attention (hint: they always win car accidents)
  • How to Really Get Your Car Ready for the Road (most people ignore these to their detriment)

Why You Must Start Educating Them Now…

Young adults think they know everything, they think they’re invincible, and they think that nothing bad will ever happen to them. You and I both know that’s not true. You simply MUST prepare your new, teen driver to be as safe as possible while you still have the opportunity to do so… here’s how to educate your teen to drive safely on the road right from the start.

(And, like I said, I’m sure you’ll appreciate reading it too.)

Get the Book Now So You Stay Safe

It’s simple to do, just scroll down and click the “Buy Now” button and you’ll get this knowledge instantly delivered to your fingertips only moments from now.

Once on the Amazon.com page, just click the “Buy now with 1-click” option to get the book for free on your Kindle…

Thank you and stay safe out there.

P.S. All I ever ask when I give my books away for free is that, when you’re finished, give it a quick rating or review on Amazon and choose to share it with your friends and family before the free deal expires so they have this valuable knowledge too.

You Know What’s Worse Than Smoke Alarms Going Off For No Reason In The Middle Of The Night?

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Last night at about 1:45 am, which is technically today, our interconnected house smoke alarms went off for no reason. You know, the smoke alarms where if one goes off, they all go off. Yeah, those. I make this distinction because we also have a handful of independent, battery-powered smoke alarms throughout the house and none of those went off.

Anyway, I never do well when I’m startled out of bed in the middle of the night and last night was no exception; it took me a few seconds to realize what was going on, but once I did my wife and I bolted out of the room and started looking for the trouble… followed very closely by a now shaking dog who NEVER appreciates it when the smoke alarms sound.

Once I realized that there wasn’t a problem on the main level, I quickly ran downstairs fearing that the kids had maybe left the space heater on and it caught something on fire. But, when I checked, I saw no fire and smelled no smoke. So, I quickly moved to my boy’s room (they share a room)… nothing. Finally, I checked on my niece’s room… nothing again.

My oldest son managed to rouse himself from his slumber enough to ask me what was going on. I didn’t know and told him to go back to bed.

The smoke alarms were still going off at this time and, realizing there wasn’t an immediate threat, I started to attempt to silence the smoke alarms but they stopped blaring at about the same time. I then choose to do one last check around the house just to be sure. Still nothing.

Confused, I tried to lay back down and wouldn’t you know it… the smoke alarms went off again about 20 minute later!

Less concerned that there was an actual fire, I decided to silence the alarms initially because they were driving me nuts, and then I set off to check the house yet again. Nothing. I’m not disappointed, mind you, just confused.

This morning I did a quick search to try and figure out why I was so rudely awoke in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, and I happened upon this article which gave me a few possibilities besides the obvious ones, including:

  • Humidity / steam. Apparently smoke alarms can’t distinguish between smoke particles and high moisture content which I think is odd, though probably not my problem because it’s wintertime and not super humid in the house.
  • Chemical odors. This would be strong odors, such as ammonia or paint fumes. I wasn’t using any strong chemicals or painting in the middle of the night, so this probably isn’t the issue either.
  • Dust. I think I knew that dust could set off a smoke alarm but, again, there’s no reason for heavy amounts of dust to have been in the air.
  • Insects. I had no idea that small bugs could crawl into a smoke alarm and set one off. And, if I had to pick one odd reason, this would be it because we do have an inordinate amount of creepy-crawlies around and inside our house.

Now, let me get to the entire point of this post…

You Know What’s Worse Than Smoke Alarms Going Off For No Reason In The Middle Of The Night?

Besides being started half-to-death, what’s worse is that my youngest son (who’s now twelve years old) didn’t even budge when the alarms went off!

And it’s not like they went off for only a few seconds; the first time they went off they had to be sounding for at least a minute or two. That should clearly be long enough to have woke him up at least to wonder what was going on, but apparently not.

You know, when my kids were much younger, I did worry that they wouldn’t wake up when a smoke alarm went off because I’d seen it happen. After all, young kids can seemingly sleep through anything. I figured, however, that my now much older kids would surely wake up. I was wrong.

In fact, I just asked him this morning if he’d heard the smoke alarm last night and he responded, “No. The smoke alarms went off last night?”

And that’s what I’m now still afraid of.

Boxes and Bungee Cords as Earthquake Proofing?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about earthquakes again, mostly because I’ve run into various YouTube videos and whatnot talking about the “Big One” to hit the west coast, but not the one you’re thinking of to hit California… the Cascadia Event to hit the Pacific Northwest where I live. To be honest, if that one ever hits us, boxes and bungee cords won’t save us.

That said, it is possible that smaller, shorter duration earthquakes could hit us like the ones I grew up with in California. With that in mind, I’ve started to consider what problems we could run into as a result, and one of those problems is our ability egress. Here’s where I’ve started:

Boxes and bungee cords as earthquake proofing

I’ve picked the space above our washer and dryer as the place to start because, although you can’t tell, that area happens to be the main pathway between our bedrooms and the family room and front door. In other words: it’s the bottleneck for traffic in our home.

And, while there are doorways to exit each bedroom so that we wouldn’t have to go through this area (if an earthquake struck at night, for instance) odds are that we may still need to walk through the area for a number of reasons after an earthquake hit.

Now, I really should have taken a photo of what it all looked like before I started this mini project but, honestly, I wasn’t planning on writing about it until I was done. Oh, well… just picture all sorts of cleaners and glass bottles lining both shelves and you get the idea.

For months I’d walk by that area and I kept thinking to myself, “What if an earthquake struck and those glass bottles came crashing down and broke on the floor where we’d have to walk?” To make things worse, “What if the cleaners came down and spilled so that now we had a slick floor and broken glass to walk over?” There are so many homemade cleaners as well as laundry soap up there that something would assuredly spill and be a hazard.

So, the current solution was to group items together into boxes because I figured that it would take more effort for an entire box to come flying off a shelf than a single bottle which, in my opinion, increases the chances that everything will stay put.

Of course, I know that even entire boxes can come sliding off the shelves during an earthquake which is why I plan on adding bungee cords to hold the boxes in place too but, for now, I’ve just used a single bungee cord for holding the loose, large bottles in place, such as the laundry soap and vinegar you see to the left.

I might also take the boxes sitting on the top shelf and move them to the garage because most of that stuff is rarely accessed as an extra precaution.

Anyway, it’s a start. Will boxes and bungee cords do any good during an earthquake? Who knows, but I do know that I feel better about the whole situation and, at the very least, I’m beginning to be proactive again about our family’s disaster safety.

What do you think? Is this worth a darn or not? What can I do better?

Insulin Wallet

I wanted to point out something that a reader mentioned a while back about what you can do to keep insulin cool while on foot, during a bug out, or whatever the case may be. It’s called an FRIO Insulin Cooling Wallet:

The idea is simple: get the wallet wet with cold water and it can keep cool for several days. Here’s a portion of the product description:

“The FRIO Insulin Cooling Wallet Large is a diabetic medication cooling system that utilizes water to keep cool for several days. With no refrigeration required, the Frio Wallet Large is great for use while traveling and can be used in temperatures up to 120°F. To use, immerse the wallet into cold water for 5-15 minutes so the crystals inside the wallet expand into a gel; once completed, the FRIO is ready to use. The FRIO Wallet Large is able to hold either one insulin injector pen and 15 x 1.5ml cartridge, 1 insulin injector pen and 10 x 3ml cartridge, 5x insulin injector disposable pens, 4x 10ml vials, 2x insulin injector pens, and 6x 3ml cartridges (none are included).”

And here’s a video describing it:

Obviously, this doesn’t have to be used for diabetic supplies but really anything that may need to be kept cool/refrigerated and can find properly inside the wallet, such as medicated eye drops.

For those with such a need I hope it helps!


Swap Out Your Food and Water Supplies for the Coming Warm Weather

Now that the weather is beginning to change and warm up a bit, I figured I would post a friendly reminder for you to change out any food and water supplies that you’ve had stored away.

Specifically, I’m thinking about the food and water in your bug out bags, vehicle kits, as well as any you may have elsewhere such as at a friends house, in buried caches (if they’re not too much trouble to get at), and so on.

Even if you think they’re still good you should consider replacing them (in my opinion) twice a year if you can to ensure that they’re edible, nutritious, and safe to consume if/when you need them.

Why do this?

Sometimes it may seem like too much trouble to replace your food and water twice a year. After all, it’s both work and an expense that may seem unnecessary but I beg to differ. If there’s any of your preps that you’re guaranteed to use during an emergency it’s going to be your food and water.

No doubt that these will go bad over time, certainly faster in hot weather and vehicle kits are a prime location for being exposed to hot weather. Similarly, freezing weather can cause trouble with your food stores.

Wait a minute. Isn’t it going to be hot soon?

Yes. It may seem counter-intuitive to replace your food and water stores BEFORE it gets hot. Honestly, if there’s anytime that you’d want to change out your water and food it would be AFTER the summer heat has passed for sure.

But, seeing as though an entire six months of being exposed to cold weather (even freezing temps) prior to also being exposed to very warm weather for six months *could* be just the thing that made your emergency food go bad or perhaps be less nutritious.

Longer term food and water stores that aren’t subject to extreme heat (or cold) are probably fine to not worry about it the proper precautions have been taken but the food in vehicle kits, in particular, are a concern.

What to do with the food you’re replacing?

Use them up! If they’re meals then make your life easy once or twice a week for a while and eat them instead. If they’re shelf-stable snacks then eat them before getting into the freshest snacks you probably also eat.

That’s my two cents, anyway.

Distracted Driving Patrols On NOW!

I was driving around my town yesterday and noticed one of those giant lit road signs along the highway that stated: “Distracted Driving Patrols on NOW” which happened to get my attention. I later found out this is a part of the “U Text. U Drive. U Pay.” campaign that’s taking place in 100 precincts here in Washington state.

At the time I read the sign I wondered, “What’s that about?” Then it occurred to me that it must have something to do with texting on cell phones. Personally, I don’t text on my phone while driving but I might do so while stopped at a stop light, for example. Honestly, I’m still not a big fan of texts.

My wife used to be somewhat bad about reading texts–and probably even texting–while driving but I would get on her about it time and again and I believe she’s much better now. My niece who lives with us… probably not so good still.

Anyway, for some reason I decided to look into the Washington state “distracted driving” thing and wound up at the Washington State Traffic Commission’s website which states:

“Distracted driving is a concern for everyone. A distracted driver is one who is paying attention to something other than driving. The distraction can be anything from typing a text message to putting a disk in a CD player or talking on a cell phone.”

I can see that texting is a problem as you really have to concentrate on punching the right letters and can easily distract you but putting a CD into the radio or even talking on the phone isn’t such a big deal, in my opinion. Heck, I do that stuff all the time! By the way, it’s apparently illegal to even talk on the phone here in Washington while driving… ugh.

One of the links I came across from the Washington State Traffic Commission’s site brought me to an injury claims site in New York which points out that the following are also distractions:

  • Eating – I do this on occasion, especially when in a hurry.
  • Grooming – I don’t have any hair but I can see how people do this. Here’s a crazy report on how a woman gets a $200 ticket for applying lip balm at a red light.
  • Talking to passengers in the vehicle – Really???
  • Tending to children or pets in the vehicle – Good luck totally ignoring a screaming 6 month old!
  • Looking at another accident, or “rubber-necking” – Ok, we all occasionally do this a bit too much.
  • Sightseeing – too many distractions, I guess. 😉
  • Changing the radio station – Oh, boy… now we’re ALL in trouble.
  • Daydreaming – I’m not even sure where I am half the time!

So, basically, I can see this as turning into a situation where ANYTHING a police officer deems as being “distracting” can be grounds for writing you a ticket and that’s where this becomes a problem… hello Nanny State.

On the one hand I want to applaud the educational efforts as I’m sure there are occasions where distracted driving does cause accidents (sources estimate 25% of accidents are caused by distracted driving) but policing my behaviors to such an extent is a bit much, don’t you think? How about you just work to educate us and NOT fine me?

Anyway, what I really wanted to do here today was to point out that if you do text and drive… it can wait! Please do yourself the safety service and ONLY text when stopped and you have the time… and probably NOT at a stoplight, lest you receive a hefty fine. 😉

4 Misconceptions About Fire Shutters (Guest Post)

Commercial building fires are more prevalent than house fires.

True or false?


Based on the survey conducted by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers in the US, most reported fire incidents have started from homes, kitchens mostly.

Residential fires caused the majority of deaths and injuries.

Most buildings have impenetrable industrial roller doors and advanced warning systems. Hence, most non-residential fires have more survivors than house fires.

So far, no house, shop or office (no matter how hi-tech) can withstand fire. But delaying the spread of blazing flames is possible.

Materials with high fire resistance ratings are effective at containing fire and smoke. Using fire-resistant rolling shutters will also decrease the rate of fire spread.

But since there are many misconceptions surrounding fire shutters, homeowners can’t help but worry.

These are just four of the most common misconceptions a lot of people may have about fire shutters.

1. Fire shutters are ugly

Some rolling doors and shutters come in various colors and models to blend in with the homeowners’ exterior design.

There are many attractive alternatives to shutters, but it is quite impossible to match its many benefits.

Well-built fire shutters reduce noise, control light, and protect the property from the elements.

These factors are more important when selecting windows or doors suitable to your home or shop. Ideally, fire-rated rolling shutters are preferred because of their simplicity and reliability.

[Editor’s note: On some buildings they look great but I’m not sure how attractive they would be on a typical suburban home.]

2. Fire shutters are not secure.

It’s more important to think of security than appearance during home renovations.

Most homeowners choose to get a rolling shutter mainly for the protection they offer. They are made of thick steel as well as robust brackets and fixings.

Roll shutters have been popular in Europe during wartime due to the supreme shield they provide homes.

Though it was invented as an energy efficient window treatment, many homes back then used rolling shutters to protect their homes from surprise attacks such as bombings.

Until now, it continues to be a valuable instrument of defense.

[Editor’s note: I don’t see steel shutters stopping a 7.62 round but I guess they’re better than drywall. 😉 ]

3. Fire shutters are inconvenient.

Fire-resistant rolling shutters are easy to roll up and down contrary to the misconception that it is difficult to operate.

Roll shutters are even more convenient than any other types of window treatments.

When you need to block out strong sunbeams or outside noise, you simply have to roll it down or you can pick sides.

If you want some privacy, with a push of a button, you can conceal an area in your home from prying strangers or passersby.

With this versatility, it seems strange to think of fire-rated shutters as a huge hassle.

[Editor’s note: Push button operation is convenient but understand how they work if the power goes out too.]

4. Fire shutters are expensive.

We can determine the cost of property and productivity lost from the blaze but it’s not possible to assign value to fatalities and injuries inflicted by fires.

If rolling shutters can protect homes or business establishments from the imminent hazards of fire, then there is no reason why they won’t make a wise investment.

The cost of fire damages far outweighs the price of all fire-rated door or window shutters combined.

For a trade-off, that seems more than fair.

[Editor’s note: Obviously, no price can be put on a life and if fire shutters can help reduce damage due to a wildfire, for example, they may be a wise investment.]

What do you think of fire-rated rolling doors or shutters? Please let us know in the comment section.

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Preparing a Survival Kit for Your Car Can Help You in Everyday Driving too! (Guest Post)

Cars offer the extra feeling of safety because they have a shell that can protect you. However this shell cannot help you when you are stranded in the middle of nowhere unless you packed a survival kit in it. A few small things that you keep in your vehicle can sustain you for a long time if you ever break down and cannot get help soon.

You may think that when would I ever need it since there aren’t many rarely traveled parts of the country anymore? But remember that you can go as far as you want once you have good transportation. And if you are adventurous you will find those spots easily! Camping out in the mountains or getting stranded in the snow are some of the examples. In any case, being prepared doesn’t hurt anybody. Besides you don’t need an emergency to need any of the items in your kit. Here are a few tips on what to include in your survival kit and how they can help you in your everyday driving.

1. Water

Nobody can argue about how essential water is for your survival. Also, you may need to top up the water in your auto. Have sufficient water with you all at all times. You should have them in plastic bottles so that they don’t burst in freezing temperatures. [Editor’s note: plastic bottles can burst too.]

I remember my car overheating and running out of water in the cooling system a couple of years ago. I was lucky that I was broken down on a busy road. Seeing the steam coming out of my automobile, an old couple stopped, gave me water in a two liter coke bottle and drove off without saying a word. I thought what kind and smart people! I waited a little for my vehicle to cool down, poured the content of the bottle in to the radiator and it was enough to get me home.

2. Food

People can last several days without food but you function better if you eat. Pack some non-perishable food that can be good source of energy like energy bars. This is extra important if you often travel with your family.

Last year we decided to take a road trip to the highlands. We thought that we would find several restaurants and cafes with beautiful mountain views and delicious food on the way and didn’t pack sandwiches with us. Unfortunately, we drove miles and miles without a single place to eat or to find supplies. We saw a couple of small villages that had no shop either. We were all starving and remembered the supplies we had in our survival kit. After a bar of chocolate we were much happier. [Editor’s note: any food you intend to keep in your car kit should be able to sustain temperature extremes and rotated often; chocolate is not a good option except for road trips. 😉 ]

3. Extra Clothing

Extra layers of clothing, boots and blankets can be immensely valuable especially if the weather is cold and you have to spend the night. Socks, gloves and hats are great to keep you warm as well.

Many times I walked out of home without wearing appropriate clothing and was so glad that I always keep a fleece jacket in my car. They are extremely handy for people like me even in the cities.

4. Emergency Kit

Emergency kit with sufficient medical supplies can be bought from most car accessory stores. Remember to add one or two medicines that every household has like painkillers. Simple bandages can be extremely valuable at times.

My daughter has always had fascination with plasters and she would have hours of fun with them that we keep a big pack of them in our car. Even now she loves them and uses them to avoid foot sores. And I often get sudden headaches that I always keep painkillers in my car. These basic supplies can be very handy in your everyday driving.

5. Tools

Simple tools like a small shovel, army knife, torch / flashlight, candle and matches can be handy in many situations. For example, the shovel can be used to clean the snow or mud under your tire. If you are stuck in mud don’t force your way out. Instead use your shovel to put solid support under your tires.

Tools are always handy. I don’t know how many times I used my army knife when we are out on the road. Screw drivers and torch (flashlight) are other regularly used tools in our car.

6. Car Tools

Jumper cable, tow rope, warning lights or flares and fire extinguisher are some of the tools come to mind. It is not a bad idea to keep other tools like a screw driver, adjustable spanner (wrenches) and few simple tools in your vehicle. Also, you should have a seat belt cutter where you can reach from your seat.

I always wanted to be that guy who would produce jumper cables whenever someone needs to jump-start a car with a dead battery. But they are one thing I failed to produce whenever I need them and was so glad a stranger had them in their car and was kind enough to help me out.

7. Communication and Direction Tools

Don’t assume that your cell phone will always work. You should keep things like a whistle, map and compass to help you out. We have already mentioned flares.

Maps are great when you need to plan a long journey for the day. GPS is great for finding your way in short distances but it is not easy to see which towns you will pass and if there are scenic routes along your route. I love to take a scenic route whenever I can and I always keep a map that shows them. [Editor’s note: taking detours is always fun but if you’ve told others where you’re going and which route you’ll take then you should update them with your change of plans if at all possible.]

8. Extras

You should also think about extra batteries for your flashlight or a cell phone adapter that can be used in the automobile. If you are like me you will need them. I seem to run out of cell phone batteries on a daily bases because I constantly forget to charge them. [Editor’s note: charge your cell phones everyday regardless of state of charge because you never know when/if you’ll need it.]

Here are a few more tips on what to do:

  • If you are planning on going camping or taking a road trip you should tell about it to someone close to you. Tell them where you are going, how long you are planning to stay and how they can contact you. [Editor’s note: AND if you’re changing plans!]
  • Always make sure that your gas tank is at least half full when you are planning on taking a trip in wilderness or driving in less traveled regions in the snow season. On the above mentioned mountain trip we couldn’t even find food for ourselves let alone petrol (gasoline). I was lucky that my car didn’t break down and I had plenty of petrol (gasoline). [Editor’s note: I suggest you always keep your gas tank half full no matter what.]
  • Don’t leave the engine on for heat and sleep, particularly when there is snow outside. Wind can quickly cover your exhaust with snow and cause a carbon monoxide poisoning. [Editor’s note: yes, be diligent to check your exhaust pipe.]

This article is written by Joe more of http://cheapautoinsurance.net. You can read his articles full of driving and auto insurance tips on his blog.

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BEWARE: Tis’ The Season to Steal!

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Seeing as though the holidays are almost over and the Christmas presents are about to be unveiled, remember too that burglars and thieves are well aware that “tis the season steal.” Make no mistake, they’re giddy with anticipation.

The question is: What can and should you do to keep what’s yours and the burglars out?

Fortunately, there’s quite a bit you can do in general, from ensuring you lock the doors at all times (even when home), ensuring windows are closed and latched, bushes, trimmed back, lights on, and so on, but this is more focused on what you can do specifically during the holidays.

It seems to me that there are two distinct and unique times when a burglar may be most likely to rob you (1) while you’re away from the house perhaps at Christmas dinner at a relative’s home and (2) days after you’ve opened your gifts.

For When You’re Away at Dinner (or for longer)

If you’re going to be away for days or weeks:

  • Have your mail and newspapers picked up daily (or hold delivery)
  • Ensure all doors and windows are locked/latched before leaving and blinds/shades are closed
  • Put lights on timers to go off at different times and in different rooms
  • Don’t leave message on your voicemail or posts on social media stating you’ll be away
  • Consider adding a JEBurglar Deterrent Television Simulater as added “proof” you’re home
  • Add a fake home security decal for general security purposes

If gone just one evening, do all of the above plus:

  • Ask a neighbor that is staying home to keep an eye on your home
  • Park a car in the driveway to make it more obvious somebody may be home
  • Add a Door Security Bar to all external doors (they’re an easy access for most burglars)

For Days (Before) and After You’ve Opened Your Gifts

For times before you open gifts:

  • Don’t openly display gifts around your tree (at least not the biggest ones)
  • Keep blinds and shades closed near the tree and for at least a few weeks after the holidays
  • If you’re going to have gifts delivered by UPS, etc then ensure somebody is home to retrieve them quickly and do all loading/unloading of gifts inside the garage if possible

For the aftermath of gifts:

  • Keep a low profile for at least a few weeks after by doing all of the aforementioned suggestions
  • Don’t pile up boxes for the recycling or garbage all at once or, at least, turn the boxes inside out and break them down

What about you? What suggestions do you have?

Energizer Weather Ready Compact Rechargeable LED Light 46% OFF – Lighting Deal!

This Energizer Weather Ready Compact Rechargeable LED Light is one of those lighting deals that’s gone when it’s gone!

It just so happens that we’ve had a few power outages over the past week and my youngest dropped one of the rechargeable lights we had and broke it. Sadly, the emergency lights we’ve been using over the years have been through a lot so I wasn’t surprised. Anyway, time to move on…

Here’s some specs on the Energizer Rechargeable LED Light from Amazon:

  • Compact rechargeable LED light stows out of the way in a light socket, and automatically turns on when power goes out
  • Ultra-bright Nichia LED.
  • Two-hour run time on high, and 15 hours on low
  • NiMH battery can be recharged hundreds of times
  • Includes lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee
  • Let Weather Ready be the light in your preparedness plan for emergencies.
  • You’ll be ready to light an entire room with these bright white Nichia LED compact flashlights if the power goes out.
  • Comes on when the power goes down

It seems the light gets very good reviews and is at a wonderful price right now. If you’ve yet to do so pick up one or two while you can and be better prepared for power outages… and avoid tripping over the dog while you’re at it. 😉