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#40799 - 05/17/05 02:05 PM Re: Montréal's subway as a perfect target
physics137 Offline

Registered: 10/28/03
Posts: 64
Loc: New York City
My Pelican is rated at 60 lumens output for 1.25 hours. Most of the others are similar. Some of the Surefires have an optional hi-output lamp assembly good for about 20 minutes. I don't think this is worth it though - 20 minutes is rarely enough, and if the batteries aren't fresh, you only expect them to last, on average, maybe 10 minutes. If you really *need* the brighter light, go with one of the larger 4- or 6- battery Surefires, which runs brighter for the full hour.

But an hour is good enough for most emergencies. If you know you're going to need light for longer (if you're a security guard, police office or participating in a search-and-rescue operation, or in an extended blackout, for example) you need something bigger, or preferably, rechargable (to defray the cost of going through batteries like candy). One of the longer Mags will last about 12-16 hours per set of 'D' batteries, and makes a pretty good club - actually IMHO it is better as a club than it is a flashlight. The Streamlight Stinger is intermediate in size, and rechargable.

If you use CR123A batteries, buy them in bulk online (usually they come in packs of 12 for about US$15-20). In a pinch you can pick up a pair at a store (ask for "digital camera batteries"), but you can expect to pay about US$4-5 for *each* battery.

In my estimation, I get more than 1.25 hours total because I usually only use it for short bursts with relatively long "off" periods in between, so the battery is used somewhat more efficiently (when it runs continuously, the Ah rating is somewhat lower). Unfortunately, unlike alkaline batteries, they tend to die all of a sudden, so all you get is a few minutes' warning of diminished output, and then darkness. So I carry a spare set of batteries in a jacket pocket, so that's always available.

Add to that a small MiniMag or similar 2-AA or LED pocket light, or even a keychain light, which can be pressed into service if the main light fails, and also can be used so you can see while replacing the batteries in the main light. For something as important as light, one is none, and two is one.

You could even kick in a cyalume glowstick if you've got the carry space - these are useful if there are suspicions of flammable gas - don't want any electrical switches being actuated in an instance like that.

As far as bulbs go, I purchased a spare bulb when I got the light (for an extra $6 or so), but I haven't yet had to replace the bulb after almost a year of light-duty work. It's not like my old MiniMag, where I'd need a new bulb after every second or third set of batteries.

Surefire now has some lights which include both an incandescent lamp and LEDs arranged around the bezel, with options for "low" (LED), or "high" (incandescent) settings.

But I prefer to have two physically separate lights in separate pockets, with spare batteries in another pocket still - the redundancy is total in case one gets lost, and the price is cheaper. In particular, you can use the light of one to change the batteries or the bulb, or to find the other if you drop it.

#40800 - 05/17/05 02:10 PM Re: Montr?al's subway as a perfect target
frenchy Offline

Registered: 12/18/02
Posts: 1320
Loc: France
I like to have BOTH the illumination power of a 6P (or G2 etc...) along with spare batteries + another lower power/longer life LED light ....
I also have an equivalent of Twin task Streamlight : you can swith on 3 LEDs or 6 LEDs or 1 Xenon bulb, in the same unit. Different powers, different run times also.

But IMHO 2 different lights (using the same batteries) are much better, if only for redondancy.
As someone pointed out, a LED light won't do miracles if smoke is invited to your party !! <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Then a Surefire (or other brand) xenon light will pay for its price.

Anyway, even a somewhat powerful LED light (i.e. Nuwai QIII) will only give 1.5h of full output (and then several hours of reduced output).
Spare batteries are a must, anyway you look at it, if you EDC a flashlight.

#40801 - 05/17/05 05:09 PM Re: Montréal's subway as a perfect target
DaveT Offline

Registered: 08/15/03
Posts: 208
Loc: NE Ohio
I also have a Pelican M6 - very sturdy light, and it's often the main light I have in the bag I carry daily on the subway. Another plus, besides those mentioned by physics137, is that the LED drop-in module that Norad45 mentioned for his Surefire lights will also work in the Pelican M6. That makes it a very attractive option, in my opinion.

Other possible lights, with a less powerful beam than the Pelican M6 or similar Surefire light, would be either an Underwater Kinetics 4AA eLED (around 10 hours of light) or a Streamlight 4AA Propolymer 1-watt LED light - about 4 hours of light.

As a backup light, I've been carrying a CMG Infinity Ultra...if it's not a matter of smoke conditions, but merely dark, that one should be adequate, and has a very long runtime on a fresh AA battery.

And rather than chemical lights, I plan to carry 5-10 or so of the $1.25 Photon keychain light clones. Smaller and cheaper than chemlights, I've thought these might be a good option - the kind of thing that, in case of another blackout or a stuck train that needed to be evacuated, could be handed out to other passengers - more people have light, people can light obstructions for others, or lights could be duct taped to a spot to shine on an obstruction so everyone can avoid it without everyone bunching around the one or two people who might have a light (no one wants to be that popular).

In addition, I carry a water bottle (if it's even something mundane like trak work/power outage, you could be down there a long time).

Also, I carry a Leatherman Wave, hoping it could be useful (some of the NYC subway doors have Phillips-head screws holding the window panes in them).
While on the topic, anyone know ways (in an emergency only) of exiting a subway car? I know there are panels accessible by the large keys the conductor has, but are there other ways of unlocking or forcing the doors open, other than a battering ram?


#40802 - 05/17/05 05:38 PM Re: Montréal's subway as a perfect target

I'm thinking that one of those less powerful options might be more handy in a smoky environment. I'm thinking of the back scatter effect when driving in fog with your high beams on - no good. You obviously want a little more power than a Photon II to cut through the smoke but less than a high intensity white that just creates glare. Seems to me when I was a VFD type our flashlights had diffuser lenses on them to help with that. I'm not saying a Surefire wouldn't be handy in some scenarios but if you're worried about a smoke filled subway then there might be better options

#40803 - 05/17/05 06:00 PM Re: Montr?al's subway as a perfect target
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Frankie, I remember that sad incident. I believe one victim was found with a handgun in her possessions. How ironic, she was probably as fearfull of prosecution as using it to possibly save herself and others. The 'nuts and bolts' of preparing for a possible attack are hard enough. Fear is what the current crop of evil wishes to sow, with the harvest a world society that self destroys the very freedoms they loath. Be alert on your commutes, but include in that awareness pretty girls, elderly people that need public courtesy and lost american tourists <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

#40804 - 05/17/05 07:17 PM Re: Montréal's subway as a perfect target
physics137 Offline

Registered: 10/28/03
Posts: 64
Loc: New York City
Hi Dave,

Greetings from Manhattan!

Interesting point about the LED drop-in module being compatible with the Pelican M6 - I wasn't aware of that.

As far as getting out of a subway car, in general, the doors at the car ends are unlocked, except:

(1) the train end doors are always locked

(2) on trains with full-width conductor's cabs, those doors are locked.

(3) on trains with 75' cars, all the car end doors are locked - this means all trains on the D, G, Q, R, S-Franklin, S-Rockaway, V, and some trains on the A, F, N, and W - the rest all use 51' (IRT) or 60' (BMT/IND) cars with end doors unlocked. And on the 75 footers, the end door windows can be punched out in an emergency (they're surrounded by a rubber gasket).

My opinion is, the best way out in an emergency evacuation is through an unlocked end door. The chains spanning between the cars can be unhooked, and you can jump approx. 4 1/2 feet to the track level below. A word of caution: On the IRT lines the third rail extends out past the train itself, so take care not to land on it (on BMT/IND lines the third rail is pretty much underneath the car body). The third rail is covered but don't depend on the cover holding!

That said, the tunnels are off-limits, so if you leave the train without permission from the train crew, you stand a good chance of being arrested if you're caught walking on the track level.

That also said, if people, including pregnant women, the elderly and small children are forced to be trapped in a crowded, dark, sweltering train without as much as a half-decent announcement as to what is going on and are completely unable to contact the outside world through cell phones or otherwise (and this was the case for many people for upwards of 2 hours back in the big blackout last summer), I'll be the first person off that train. If they arrest me, jail can't be much worse than being stuck on that train.

Of course, if somebody follows you out, falls down and fries themself on the third rail, their family will sue you (and the city). This is true whether or not you held a gun to their head and forced them to follow you.

#40805 - 05/17/05 08:33 PM Re: Montréal's subway as a perfect target
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
How would you see a blade being used in the kind of scenario we are talking about?

I'd have thought you'd be surrounded by metal, stone, plastic, cloth and glass. Something solid and heavy to break glass with might be an option, but maybe there are emergency hammers provided on the trains? Nowadays I try to carry a hacksaw blade, which is small, light and non-threatening, but in a subway emergency I doubt there would be enough time to actually cut metal.

I agree about the multi-tool, and I like the Juice range too - especially the CS4. It has a woodsaw and scissors, as well as all the screwdrivers and the pliers. I'd use it as a hammer in a pinch. The scissors could be useful for cutting clothing away, either to help free people who are stuck or for first aid, getting at wounds and improvising bandages, slings and splints. I can't see me doing much with the blade. I'd rather a CS4 than one of Doug's RSKs in this scenario.
Quality is addictive.

#40806 - 05/17/05 08:41 PM Re: Montréal's subway as a perfect target
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
Does the panel think the Zipka Plus would be a powerful enough light?

It's got 4 LEDs, the batteries last for 10s of hours even on full power, and it leaves your hands free which may be important if you are scambling over rubble or carrying out babies etc. The versions with wide head-straps may be more comfortable but the Zipka takes much less room.

(I'm kinda hoping you-all say "yes" because it's my mainstay.)
Quality is addictive.

#40807 - 05/17/05 08:45 PM Re: Montréal's subway as a perfect target
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
The front carriage can be safer than the second or third carriage - the engine can give some protection from impacts. The very last carriage is probably not the best place to be if the train is rammed by another train from behind. Otherwise all the information I have says further back is generally safer.
Quality is addictive.

#40808 - 05/18/05 02:20 AM Re: Montréal's subway as a perfect target
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
If you haven't got light underground, it doesn't really matter what else you have, does it?

What if you "sealed" swim goggles with Vasoline?

Would a Res-Q-me escape tool be useful for escape from a subway car?

"...if you leave the train without permission from the train crew, you stand a good chance of being arrested..." ("THANK GOD! I DEMAND that you arrest me and get me out of here!")

Do compasses work in subway tunnels (with the metal tracks)?

Do ham radios work underground?


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