Cats, Kids and oil lamps : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I just wanted to remind people that if they have little kids or cats, they need to think seriously about where they will position their oil lamps. WalMart had some the other day that hang on the wall. I bought one of these that can hang up and the cats can't get to it. Our kitchen, dining area, and living room, are really one big L shaped room. So one lamp hanging on a wall, would give enough light for that whole area as long as you weren't reading, etc. You can make some wooden sconces with mirror on them and a place to hang your lamp. These hang on the wall and the mirror reflects and gives you even more light. But my main thought re this post is to prevent fire. A burning oil lamp smashing to the floor is not a small fire problem. Its splash can carry fire to all parts of the room.

Taz..who has cats!

-- Taz (, July 24, 1999


Our long haired cat just recently singed off his fur on his(until now) luxiurious tail.It was funny,but it was not so funny

-- zoobie (, July 24, 1999.

Good question/issue. Simple solution. $6 kerosene lanterns from Walmart plus $2 hanging plant arm equals safe use.

-- David Bowerman (, July 24, 1999.

Couple of fire extinguishers wouldn't be a bad idea either---about twenty bucks a piece at Lowes or Home Depot.

-- T. Jewell (, July 24, 1999.

Kerosene lamps get very hot over the top of them while they are burning. This heat, over time, will dry out the ceiling over top of them and be a real fire hazzard. Likewise with a regular lamp sitting on top of a high counter or under cabinets in the kitchen. I believe I have read where 3 foot clearance was recommended over the top. This is the reason that I never invested in one of the wall hanging models because our ceilings are so low. Maybe that is another reason why old houses had 10 foot ceilings?

Also with children and adults, you have to watch for paper and other combustibles being placed to close to a burning lamp. This is MUCH easier to happen than you would think, especially homework papers and such.

Also, when shopping for lamps, look for the ones that have the larger bases, they are available at the Wal mart near us for about $7.00. They are not as attractive as some of the more upright hurricane style of lamps, but they hold a considerable amount of oil and are very heavy; and thus more difficult to knock over.

They can be very dangerous that is for sure. We used lamps for almost nine years. We had several globes broken over that time, but luckily none knocked over; but I had to be constantly aware of child and pet activities when they where lit...constantly.

Also, be sure to have plenty of flashlights around. Take my word for it, you will use them if your primary source of light is kerosene lamps. Each room/person should have its own flashlight, in a designated place. Gosh we went through alot of flashlights and batteries. Likewise for hunting for items, clothing or what have you in drawers, closets and cabinets. The oil lamps just don't make enough light to overcome the shadows to find smaller items. We never kept lamps in the bedrooms, just too many conbustibles.

After a time, I developed the habit of using "recycled" batteries. Batteries that are to worn out for using in a good outdoor/working flashlight, are still plenty good for finding items in a drawer when you know about where what you are looking for is located.

Keep the lamps filled, top them off regularly. They seem to burn cleaner when full...makes the wick last longer I think too. Get into a daily routine of cleaning the globe (I used vinigar, cuts the smell too), topping the lamps off with new oil and making sure the metal pieces that hold the globe on are positioned on tight, removing the last nights bug collection accumulated in the globe and trimming the wicks.

One other thing. During the day when the lamps are not used, remove them from where the sun will hit them directly. Kerosene shouldn't sit in the sunlight. I really don't know about lamp oil, but I would think it would be the same. After a time, the kerosene will deteriorate and I have heard that this can be explosive. Kerosene after a time sitting in the sun seems to separate.(?)

I am not looking forward to having to go back to using lamps...when we first started using them, we would walk into a room and immediatly attempt to "flip the switch"...did that for the longest time.

-- Lilly (, July 25, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ