Everyday, it seems like the news coming out of China gets worse and worse. Far from the coronavirus being a small outbreak, there are indications that it won't be over soon and is worse than reported.
But the ramifications of coronavirus reach far beyond just the illness and deaths the outbreak is causing, which are tragic and heartbreaking enough. Parts of China are simply shut down with quarantines or people staying home, meaning manufacturing is slowing down at best or grinding to a halt at worst.
This slowing of manufacturing is already having noticeable impacts on the US and world economy, including the lighting industry.
So many products either rely on critical components from China or are entirely produced in the country. If no one is allowed to go to work, then the dominoes of the world economy may quickly fall.
So if more of the world slides into a pandemic/epidemic scenario, what can you do to keep the lights on as long as possible or use light to fight back? Let's look at a few different options.
Prevention is the best defense, and ultraviolet light has long been used to deactivate harmful viruses, bacteria, mold, and fungus. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, we've seen an increase in interest in handheld UVC germicidal light fixtures.
These air and surface disinfection systems use a special ultraviolet light to kill harmful microorganisms. Ultraviolet light can be very harmful to exposed skin an eyes, but is an effective way to kill harmful organisms on surfaces.
While coronavirus is not currently spread through public water systems, UV lighting can also be used in a water purification system. In case public utilities fail or scale back, point-of-use or portable water purifiers may be essential.
Solar Light Fixtures
In the event of a real emergency, the power may go out for short or long periods of time. Brownouts, blackouts, terrorism, failure of the electrical grid -- none of it would be good.
Some of these lights can function for days without any sun to recharge the batteries, as they also have photocells to turn the lights off when they are not needed.
The last thing anyone wants to be is the only person with supplies in their neighborhood, but having to guard it all in a dark house or shelter. Solar lights can provide safety and security for an individual, community, or family.
Emergency Ballasts & Drivers
For businesses, emergency ballasts for fluorescent fixtures, exit signs, and emergency lights may be required by law. Many homeowners, though, are not aware that the fluorescent fixtures in their garages or basements may be able to function on a battery backup in case the power fails.
Depending on the fixture and emergency ballast (or emergency LED driver), the lights can stay on for up to 90 minutes after the power fails. In a real emergency, 90 minutes can be an eternity when used properly. When used unwisely, it can also pass in the blink of an eye. But better to have that extra time than not.
Portable Survival Lights
Flashlights, portable area lights, and LED headlamps are a staple of many camping supplies, bug-out bags, and first responder tool kits. Having a few extra lights, batteries, and chargers never hurts.
The Bottom Line
Just like with avian flu and swine flu, it is entirely possible that coronavirus burns itself out in a few weeks or months and the world returns to normal. In fact, that is probably the most likely scenario.
However, the shocks that this outbreak is already causing to the US and world economy should give us all pause, and give us reason to consider how we can use different tools to protect our health, lives, and families.
Years ago, we wrote a long article on how lighting products should be part of any emergency toolkit. That was before LEDs became widely inexpensive and available. Today, lighting can be an even greater part of emergency preparations, from disinfection, to safety, to making life more convenient when it gets unexpectedly stressful.
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