Can you keep warm in the winter?
From Ada City–County Emergency Management
The winter nights are long and can be very cold. Are you prepared to face them without your home’s modern amenities? The below zero temperatures experienced late last year serve as a reminder that preparedness is not just for major disasters. What would you have done if your utilities had failed during one of those sub-zero nights?
Here are some options to think about.
Ambiance as preparation
Since houses started using gas and electric power to provide heat and light, wood-burning fireplaces/stoves and candles have been relegated to simple ambiance in many homes. If you already have these items in your house, you are partially prepared. With a supply of dry wood and matches your alternate heat and light sources are complete. Please keep these safety considerations in mind:
Chimney/stovepipes are kept clean and clear of all obstructions on top (tree branches).
Carbon Monoxide alarms have been installed and maintained.
The fireplace/stove flames are shielded by a screen or door.
Candles should be used as a last resort and only if flashlights or lanterns are not available.
Candles are an open flame and it is important to keep them contained and away from flammable objects. Fireplaces, wood-stoves and candles should be extinguished before going to sleep. If the fireplace/stove is the only available heat and nighttime temperatures are extremely low, then household members should sleep in shifts so that someone can tend the fire while the others sleep. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby at all times.
Heat by the cylinder
If you have a barbeque grill or any one of a number of camping stoves or lanterns, you may already have propane in your home as an alternate fuel source. There are a variety of portable home propane heaters available. The important factors to consider are:
Is it a vent-free unit designed for indoor use?
Does the unit have an Oxygen Depletion Sensor? This feature will automatically shut the unit off if oxygen levels fall below the normal range or if there is an interruption to the fuel supply.
The chances of freezing to death inside a house are lower than the chances of dying from carbon monoxide poisoning due to the use of an alternate fuel heat source. For this reason, only use products certified for indoor use and that are well maintained.
Another consideration is the unit’s fuel capabilities. Some heaters only use one-pound propane cylinders. Others have the ability to hook up to 20-pound cylinders like the one’s on barbecue grills. This feature will greatly extend the heater’s running time.
Conserve the heat
Regardless of what alternate heat source is used, it is very important to conserve the heat. Confine the emergency heat to one room. Select the warmest room possible, one that is away from prevailing winds and is well insulated.
Hang drapes, sheets or whatever is available over doors and windows to reduce heat loss. Try to isolate the room from the rest of the house by shutting doors or erecting temporary partitions made of plywood or cardboard. Dress warmly to help conserve the use of the emergency heat source.