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Emergency Heat

fireplace insert

Some emergencies require warmth, while with others heat is the problem. Hurricanes usually occur in warm areas. Keeping warm is usually not a problem. On the other hand, wind storms and ice storms in the north can leave you exposed to hypothermia. If your home is not warm, you may have to leave it and go to a emergency community shelter.


Fireplaces are the first source of emergency heat for most people. Gas fireplaces will work during a power outage.

If you have a wood fireplace, be sure and keep enough wood stored to last a few weeks and a good supply of matches and kindling. You may also need a hatchet or saw to cut up wood.

Fireplaces without screens are not very efficient. They draw room air up and out of the house through the flu. If you purchase an insert for your fireplace with a flat top you can use it for both emergency cooking and warmth.

Indoor Heaters

Indoor heaters work well in smaller rooms. Buddy Heaters use propane. Those are the type heaters you find on construction sites. Kerosene heaters are popular in Southeast Asia. They smell a bit, but work well.

Indoor propane heater

Propane Heater

Portable propane heaters work well, but you must use them in a small room that is closed off from the rest of your house to warm up the room. Don't try using them in a large room or they won't be effective.

Small portable propane heaters, often called Buddy heaters, use small propane canisters for fuel. With a special hose you can connect them to a large propane tank. Many people use the larger tanks for their barbecue.

You can store propane, but you must exercise caution, as fumes can build up in the garage. Many cities have ordinances regulating the storage of propane.

Keep warm during the day by layering your clothing. Wear socks and keep your head covered. Wool is great for keeping you warm.

Sleeping bags designed for colder temperatures will keep you warm.

Purchase hand warmers. Many people buy them for outdoor sporting events.

You can also purchase emergency reflective blankets that hold in your body heat.

Prepare for the day when your lights go out. See The Day the Lights Went Out in Seattle

Keep your family warm and comfortable at home.

Articles and Links

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