Many of us who plan to bug in have alternate lighting systems. Now after a major disaster or TEOTWAWKI a light will be a beacon that will draw attention to you. If you have light, people will come to your location and expect or demand help. So what good are your lights?
Our natural reaction is that we will blackout our windows and hide the fact that we have light. Now I done a bit of research on this and it is not as easy as it seems. One idea that always comes up is boarding up all your windows with plywood or something similar. Now this will work, but it has a downside. If you want light during the day, you have to take the plywood down and if you don’t, sealing the windows up will get hot in the summer.
I looked up information and talked to my mother about the blackout regulations in England during World War 2.
Blackout regulations were first imposed on 1 September 1939, before the declaration of war. They required that all windows and doors be covered at night with suitable material such as heavy curtains, cardboard or paint, to prevent the escape of any light that might aid enemy aircraft.
My mother said that in her house they had very heavy black material on curtain rods that extended well over the edges of the windows. The material was thick almost like blankets.
In the beginning families would spend a lot of time putting up blackout materials only to find that one thickness of fabric was not enough to stop light from escaping and drawing the attention of an air raid warden or neighbor. Sometimes two or three thicknesses were required before all lights were invisible. Some tried to save time by lining their windows with black paper. This was fine initially but with the continuous taking down and putting back up this method didn’t last long.
In this type of situation, you will have plenty of choirs to keep you busy, so you want to make this as easy as possible. Standard window blinds and curtains will not work. Many stores sell what they call blackout curtains; however, they are designed to keep sunlight out. These are often good heavy material, but will not hide the fact that you have light, due to their design. The material can be repurposed or buy extra large that extend well over the edges of the window..
My suggestion is that you confine the light to a room in your home with few windows. Second, consider putting shutters on the windows in this room. Now shutters by themselves may not block out all light, but combined them with good curtains, this may solve your problem. Don’t forget when you open the door to leave this room that light may leak out.
I have seen attempts to blackout windows with paint. The attempts I saw did not work well, it seemed like there was always a leak somewhere.
If you have ever been in a situation in which there is no light, you will know that a very small light can be seen from a long way off. Plan how you will blackout your windows now, while the materials you will need are easily available.