Some emergencies require warmth, while with others, warmth
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 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.
HERE ARE SOME FRUGAL THINGS YOU CAN DO TO KEEP WARM AT HOME
Fireplaces are the first source of emergency heat for most
people. Gas fireplaces will work during a power outage. The gas fireplace fan won't work, but
you should be able to turn them on the fireplace without electricity.
If you have a wood fireplace, be sure and keep enough wood stored
to last a few weeks, and a good supply of matches. 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 the flu. If you can purchase an insert for your fireplace, with a cooktop, you can use it for both emergency cooking and warmth.
Other options are an Indoor-Safe heater that uses propane, or a
Kerosene heater. Kerosene heaters are widely used in the Orient. You
must be careful with them as they build up carbon monoxide gas. It is best
to use them with a chimney.
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 great room or they won't be effective.
Small portable propane heaters, often called Buddy heaters, use
small propane canisters for fuel. However, with a special hose you can
connect them to a large propane tank such as the one that is typically used for
You can store propane, but you must exercise caution, as fumes
can build up in the garage. Many cities have ordinances as to how to store
One thing to remember is that houses were not always so warm. My
husband's mother grew up in Germany. They did not have central heat. She slept
under several quilts, and there was always frost on the top quilt when she woke up
in the morning.
My three sons are all Eagle Scouts. They had a wonderful
scoutmaster, who took them out every month, regardless of the weather. We live
in the Pacific Northwest, which means they were building snow caves, and camping
in the snow in the winter.
They kept warm at night using sleeping bags designed for below
freezing temperatures, and by layering their clothing during the day. It
is also important to keep your head covered, and to wear as much wool as
Finally, you can purchase hand warmers, which temporarily will
keep your hands warm and protect them from frostbite. You can also find
emergency reflective blankets that hold in your body heat.
Prepare for the day when your lights go out. See
Day the Lights Went Out in Seattle, and keep your family warm and
comfortable at home.