Some of you may know that I carry a flashlight everyday, almost religiously. Carrying at least one flashlight on my person is as much apart of my daily "Gear" as say my Cell Phone. You will probably never catch me in a situation without at least one flashlight on my body. In fact, I would say that your more likely to catch me without my cell phone, gun, wallet, and keys... Than you are to catch me without at least one flashlight. Still, the question exists (and I get it often), WHY? ---Why do I carry a flashlight on my body at all times? Well, to address this question I've consolidated all of my reasons down to just 5 topics/reasons that are relatable to most StrafeRight members.
Reason #1: Power Outages and Bad Weather
Power Outages and Bad Weather are not necessarily directly related to each other. I.E., Does Bad Weather always cause power outages?, No. Do Power Outages always mean that there is Bad Weather? No.
So, in a situation in which there is bad weather... You may have power but for whatever reason (maybe your walking to your car) you need a little extra light in your hand. I personally find that even while the power is still working, that during a storm its nice to be able to break out a flashlight and make my way to my vehicle. There are all kinds of potentially dangerous obstacles that may not be obvious during a storm. Some of those dangerous obstacles include: Holes/Puddles, Sheets of ice, debris from trees or other items, etc... Not to mention that once you do get to your vehicle, it can be nice to have a little extra light to unlock it (Remember that during a storm there are often thick clouds and light from the moon is normally non-existent).
During a Power Outage event, the simple need of a flashlight to get to your vehicle expand to assisting you in leaving the building or area you may be in. Maybe you're at work, school, or some restaurant and you lose power. You're now in a situation in which you're going to have to leave the area, and you wont be the only one. This tends to leading to people ending up bunched up, in some cases pushing against each other, you tend to leave behind items, etc. With a flashlight, you can immediately illuminate the area and get the heck outta there.
With respect to the emergency lighting you tend to see at schools & your work... I've found that more often than not, those emergency lights tend to just not work. I have no idea how many times I've seen them just fail to turn on. Which is sad because in some cases there are violations of building codes when those items fail to work. It's really sad when you see a couple of dozen people panic when they expected the emergency lights to turn on, and were disappointed when they did not.
Probably the worst situation I've ever been in was a Casino that lost power and who's emergency generators failed. Let's just say, there was mass panic and serious issues to be had.
Finally, lets say that your at home and you lose power. How easy is it going to be to locate those candles that you set aside in case you ever lost power? Or, How easy is it going to be to locate that flashlight that you normally keep in that junk drawer only to realize that at some point you moved the flashlight and can no longer remember where it's located at? Had you had a flashlight in your pocket or already on you, you could make those tasks significantly easier.
Reason #2: Looking Under the Hood of Your Car
You hear some odd noise under the hood of your car, its overheating, you need to top off your fluids, or you need to affect some quick repair. Having a flashlight readily available can make all of those those tasks (and many others) easier. Remember, its not just at night that it tends to be dark under the hood! In fact, unless your parked in the direction of the sun, in just about every case during the day it will be dark under the hood of your vehicle.
For odd or unusual noises, I like to try and investigate them immediately. Sometimes its something simple like a cable or hose rubbing against something and I can take care of it quickly and before it becomes an issue.
Or perhaps I'm having some other type of issue and I decide to check and top off my fluids on the side of the road. Having a flashlight makes both of those tasks possible and help get you on the road much faster.
In my case, I often find that I get a blown fuse or another bad headlights switch at the worst of times. It's almost always at night, normally in the winter and during a period that its snowing, and when I most want to get home quickly. Without a flashlight or some other light source it's IMPOSSIBLE to locate a blown fuse (unless your DennyCrane) or in my case change out a bad light switch (which I keep extra's of in my truck).
As I see it, having a flashlight on you is as important as having those extra fuses or a spare tire. When you need it, you'll be glad you had it.
Reason #3: Personal Security
Reason #4: Geekdom
Maybe your out and about and you hear a suspicious noise... The hairs on your arm stick up... Maybe your freaking spiderman and your spider senses go crazy telling you somethings up. Well, I wouldn't suggest investigating the noise or issue; but, having a flashlight handy will allow you to shed some light on the situation and possibly see if there is indeed cause for concern.
Let's say that you turn on your light and you see someone that is suspicious looking, well you now know where they are and how far away they may be. At that very moment, You've also accomplished a couple of other key things. First, you've eliminated a potential attackers benefit of the lack of light and they also know you now see them. Second, you've transformed yourself from a soft-target into a hard-target. Not only have you taken away the advantages from your potential attacker, but there is also now the question of what else might you be prepared to use. ---Keep in mind that this also applies to four-legged dangers.
ZOMBIES!!! What if the zombie apocalypse breaks out while your at the movie theaters!... You'll need that flashlight to help with the identification of Zombies which will want to attack you for your BRAINZ!!
Finally, You've now got a hard object in your hands that you could
use defensively should the need arise. Now, for legality purposes (depending on where you live) you would probably not want to carry a flashlight for "defensive purposes", instead you would probably want to carry it for those times when it just gets dark. If at some point you had to use it defensively, well, it happened to be what you had in your hands at the time.
We've all been in that situation where we dropped a screw somewhere, or we were plugging in that HDMI cable into the back of our TV, or we're looking for that source of noise coming from one of our many electronic devices. In all of those situations, having a flashlight handy and on your person can save you from having to search one out or from having to complete a task by just feeling alone.
I more often than not use my flashlight for Geekdom purposes. Generally I use it for looking behind some rack, plugging in servers, locating that one screw that fell but that I have no idea where it went, investigating that rattle inside my computer, etc... Not only that, it seems that OTHER Geeks are always doing without a little extra light so its nice to be able to assist them as well.
Reason #5: It Gets Dark During Every 24-Hour Period
I hate to state the obvious or sound like a smart-ass; but, every 24 hours we go through a period that during which, it gets dark. We like to call this the night time.
It actually amazes me that I see people who carry an umbrella around everyday JUST IN CASE it rains. Here in California even though we often get less than 30 days of rain PER YEAR, I meet people who carry around umbrella's year around. I've also seen this phenomenon in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Oregon, Nevada, etc... Granted, your chances of getting rained on are higher in those states, thus increasing the chances of needing/wanting an umbrella... But, I've yet to meet ANYONE who also carry's a flashlight everyday.
It's total insanity!! Seriously! People will carry around an umbrella during the summer when there's virtually no chance of rain or even carry one around in the winter when the weather channels say that there's less than a 10% chance of rain... Yet, we know that every night it WILL get dark. In fact, about 12 out of 24 hours per day, its dark. We know that it gets dark EVERY NIGHT, we expect it! Yet most people do not carry around a flashlight.
Think about it, There's a 100% chance of night tomorrow (assuming that the world does not end).
Conclusion: Carry a Flashlight, You'll Be Glad You DID!!
Just to give you an idea of the ways over the last few days that I've used the flashlight that I carry everyday:
- 11/2: I dropped my keys under my truck (I was on a sloped hill) just after unlocking the door and while trying to throw all of my stuff into the cab. With a flashlight handy I was able to recover my keys and get home quickly.
- 11/3: At ~4PM PST I lost power and was in a hurry to get my generator running to continue my Fragging session in Battlefield 3... Well, I had to open up my shed (which was dark because there was no power and no sun making it through the clouds) and power up my generator. There's no way that I could have done my checks before powering it on without a flashlight on me.
- 11/3: After class I noticed that my tire's looked too low. I stopped at a local Gas Station to fill them up. However, I realized that I could not read the tire pressure gauge because of poor lighting in the area. Broke out my flashlight and I was good to go. ---By the way, it was raining very hard at the time.
- 11/6: I was working on a system at a clients office... Lots of lighting and all that, but it was impossible to see behind the rack without a flashlight AND when I had to take the system apart to put a new fiber channel card in, a little extra light directly in the system was nice.
You're probably thinking, "Now Teck! Your just crazy!! I would never use a flashlight as often as you do!"... Funny, that's what I used to tell a friend of mine. Finally, I bought a nice flashlight to carry with me, and now I use it almost everyday. No longer am I ever in situations in which I WISH I had a flashlight... Because I always have one on me.