Emergency Communities/Emergency Lighting

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As anyone who throws parties in warehouses will tell you, good lighting can change a harsh, uninviting, dirty and burned out building or parking lot into something inviting, cozy, and warm. In situations where you can't bring in rugs, where there are no internal walls, little furniture, etc., it is the light that ends up organizing a space.

Thankfully, there are cheap, simple ways of structuring light to make community spaces.

General[edit | edit source]

Avoid work lights, clip lights, and bare bulbs. They reinforce the disaster area harshness.

Indoor Suggestions: Paper Lanterns[edit | edit source]

In occupying the remnants of a pre-disaster building, I recommend dangling china ball paper lanterns from the ceiling in clusters to illuminate focused areas with warm, diffused light.

  1. run romex or UF power cable across the ceiling from a circuit breaker or generator, and put 4 outlet-junctions at points across the ceiling.
  2. cut or wrap wires for each individual bulb, with a bulb socket on one end, and a plug on the other. make them long enough to (A) cross the ceiling from the junction to wherever you want to hang the light and then (B) dangle down from the ceiling an appropriate distance. a good height for lighting is 7 or 8 ft, just above where a person can reach.
  3. the Chinese Paper Moon lanterns attach to the same wire that the socket is on, just above the socket, and enclose the bulb.

With a good ladder and proper wire and wirecutters/strippers ready, two people can do the ceiling wire and 5 lanterns in an hour. If you need to wrap your own wire, make it two hours.

See also[edit | edit source]