An 12v LED strip triggered by 5 micro switches

I'm looking for advice on what hardware to buy to do the following. I am a programmer by trade, but am not familiar with electrical components.

1.) There are 5 micro switches: RadioShack.com Official Site - America's Technology Store
2.) When one of the 5 switches is triggered, a signal gets sent to a group of paralleled 12v LED strips to light it up and flash for a period of time

Which Arduino board should I buy? Can everything be powered with a car battery? What eletrical components would I need?

Any help would be great. Or links to similar projects would also be helpful.

Hi, look at the Arduino Power section on the http://ArduinoInfo.Info WIKI: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/ArduinoPower

You can use low-cost relays. If there will be thousands of flashes or very fast flashes, think about power FET modules for switching.

Thanks for the response Terry. I will review the pages you sent.

I found this page which is almost exactly what I'm looking for: Adafruit Learning System

My questions regarding the above project is:

1.) Can the Arduino Uno accept input signals from a switch such as this one? RadioShack.com Official Site - America's Technology Store
2.) How long of a 12v LED strip could I power? Should I power the LEDs seperately?

Any input would be great. I feel I'm REALLY close! The programming is the easy part (for me haha)

the arduino can use ANY switch input. A teeeny microswitch or a mansized large circuit breaker.

What matters is what voltage is on the other side of the switch, that reaches the Arduino when it closes. That must be 5v or 0V.