The June 29, 2012, Ohio Valley “Derecho” Storm thrust my wife and I into a less than desirable “Amish”-type lifestyle. We lost power for almost four days, and being on well water, lost water for the same amount of time. That event prompted us to purchase a portable propane generator to avoid the worst parts of a power outage in the future. However, while lack of water was an issue for both of us, I had to deal with the lack of lighting, which did not affect my wife, who is totally blind. She rather enjoyed the humor in that.
While I had rechargeable, handheld tactical and standard flashlights available, only a couple were vehicle rechargeable, and none of them threw light in a general illumination pattern—for reading, meal preparation, or other mundane tasks. I managed to get to nearby Zanesville, which wasn’t hit by the storm, and I purchased a propane lantern to supplement oil lamps. It threw a lot of light but also a lot of heat and fumes. Had it been winter, a propane lamp indoors would have been a definite “no-go.”
At the 2014 NRA Conference in Indianapolis, I saw the newly unveiled Streamlight Portable Scene Light (PSL) and was intrigued. Although this light is designed for law enforcement, EMS, or Fire/Rescue use at scenes where generators aren’t available, I saw civilian/prepper type use applications as well. I was able to recently obtain one for testing, just as we were rolling into tornado and thunderstorm season here in Ohio.
The PSL features three illumination levels: High, for a 3,600 lumens beam with a 5-hour run time; Medium for a 2,400 lumen beam with a 9-hour run time; and Low, for a still very bright 1,100 lumen beam with an 18-hour run time. But it’s not the beam power that makes the PSL a valuable tool; it’s how that beam’s power can be manipulated.
While the light can be operated, as is, with the lighting head locked in its carry position, it can also be unlocked and raised incrementally to a height of 72 inches. This means it can light a broad area, such as the interior or exterior of a home during an extended power outage, or even a private– or backyard-shooting range for some low-level-light shooting practice. The applications are unlimited.
The PSL comes with AC/DC charging capabilities and can be charged or run from a car or a generator. During a power outage, you can recharge it during the day from your vehicle and use it at night. A note of caution: The PSL battery draws a lot of power when charging. Do not charge it from a vehicle without the vehicle running—something that always requires caution and common sense.
The PSL is easily operated by one person. Charging is simple: A panel light changes from red to green when fully charged. There is a simple off-on toggle switch on the PSL body. When plugged into a wall or car, the light can be run directly from the External Power source setting. Without an external source, the PSL is turned on by toggling the switch to “Battery.”
In the center of the 6 LED light head is an output control button that changes the light from high to medium to low as it is cycled. By twisting the center control button, a diffuser adjusts the focus of the beam as needed for optimal use. The light head has 90-degree swivel capability for precise maneuvering. I tested the PSL in my garage for an hour on the “High” setting while working on a painting project. The LED head remained cool to the touch, which also means the light can be stowed immediately without fear of hazard.
The Streamlight PSL is built tough and is water resistant to a depth of one meter for 30 minutes. The lead acid battery will accept up to 500 charges. Stabilization on uneven terrain is provided by legs that extend out at a 45-degree angle away from the main case.
I see a lot of uses for the Streamlight PSL beyond those I just mentioned. It would seem to be a perfect light for camping or other outdoor events. I could have used it extensively for law enforcement night shooting training on the range I formerly used (that had no fixed light source). For emergency use, the low setting of 1,100 lumens ought to be just about right, but if you need more light, there certainly is plenty available.
The price is much less than I expected. Amazon has the PSL available for $579. Coupled with a portable generator for running other life necessities, the Streamlight PSL should make short- or long-term power outages much more bearable.
For more information, go to www.streamlight.com.