A member of AlphaCare inc.

Debbie Alexander BSN, RN

American Heart Association Instructor Network
104 Crutcher Pike - Richmond, KY

(859) 248-8189

Are You Afraid of The Dark?

red-eyes-dark

It has always been a subject which lives in the back of our minds. Our fears are varied, fear of heights, fear of closed spaces, and fear of flying… But one fear, the fear of the dark is universal and there is no darkness like the black that surrounds us in a power outage. March is Severe Weather Awareness month and it drives home the fact that power outages are a viable concern.

The fear of the dark changes through our lives, when you were 5 years old you feared the boogeyman that lurked in the dark corners of your room. When you are 20 years old you fear the countless horror movie scenarios that could happen to you in the void that become your surroundings in complete darkness. In our 30’s our fear is for our small children as we stumble and fumble through a dark house trying to get to a screaming child, possibly trying to get them to a safe place if severe weather threatens. In our 50’s our fear is divided between ourselves, our independent children and our aging parents. While our focus may change, there remains one constant and that is our fear of the dark.

Unfortunately it is not a completely irrational fear. The National AG Safety Database reports that falls are the leading cause of accidental death in people 65 and older. Being in the dark, especially without warning due to a power outage, increases the likelihood of a fall. Falls also can contribute to a complete loss of independence if complications from the injury arise. AARP reports that the number one concern of their members is “maintaining their independence”. The only way to reduce the risk of falls in the dark due to a power outage is to be prepared and have a plan of action. This involves a source of light during the outage and the ability to remain connected with family, friends and emergency responders.

The three most common ways that we deal with power outages are:

  1. Candles – the US Fire and Safety Administration and The Red Cross report that, “1 in 3 FATAL home fires are a direct result of candles being used for light in the absence of power”. Candles are particularly dangerous for children, pets and the elderly.
  2. Portable Generators – these are responsible for over 5,000 deaths in the past decade due to carbon monoxide poisoning. They are expensive and difficult to operate.
  3. Flashlights – The ever elusive flashlight which is never where you left it, especially when there are small children in the home, and may or may not have working batteries if you are successful in locating one. Flashlights are difficult to use for children and the elderly (especially those on walkers or with canes which are necessary for safe mobility).

There is no Boogeyman, the horror movies are just that, movies, but our fear of the dark is completely justified. When severe weather threatens, seconds count! When our ever growing senior population is faced with sudden darkness as a result of a power outage increased risk of falls is a real concern.

When candles and portable generators are used there must be protocols in place to ensure your family’s safety. Flashlights must be kept in working order and consistently stored in an accessible area.

We all need to be aware of the risks of power outages because there really are reasons to be

“Afraid of the Dark!”

About The Author

Russie C. Jones
Co-Founder, CEO of Rely-A-Light Decorative Emergency Lighting

A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with emphasis in Interior Design, years of experience in the healthcare field prompted Russie and her husband Keene (his background in electrical contracting) to develop, patent, manufacture and distribute the world’s first and only line of Decorative Emergency Lighting, Rely-A-Light. Rely-A-Light is a line of multi- functional beautiful table lamps that come on instantly and automatically, WITH NO HUMAN INTERACTION, when power outages occur. The lamps have 22 high power emergency LEDs that will provide sufficient light for safe mobility, for comparison the flashlight on your cell phone has 1 of these LEDs so it is easy to imagine the brightness of our lamps. Rely-A-Light also has a USB port in the base of every lamp that allows the user to charge their cell phone and electronics with AND without AC power making sure you can stay connected with family and friends in an emergency.

Based in Richmond, Kentucky, Russie and Keene have now reached a global audience with their product line. Rely-A-Light Decorative Emergency Lighting can be purchased online at Solutions, Gold Violin, Frontgate, Wayfair, Kohl’s, Bed,Bath & Beyond, Lamps Plus, and other retailers. It can also be purchased at www.relyalight.com and will be featured on HSN Shopping Network in April 2015.

 

Member of the American Heart Association Instructor Network