How To Stay Warm And Safe This Winter
Despite global warming, it can get pretty cold outside. Sometimes deadly cold especially if you are without power in your house or stuck in your car. You need to ask yourself how you can stay Warm And Safe in these situations?
You should recognize the concerns of the importance of keeping yourself warm in these out-of-left-field climate situations. And you do that by your Emergency Preparedness methods.
Remember what happened in February of 2021? A fast-moving winter storm caught the state of Texas by surprise, with a freeze that knocked the hell out of the state’s power grid, and in turn, 210 people died due to the freeze because of the lack of electricity. The fact that it happened once should convince you that it can and will happen again, especially when you consider that nothing has really changed since then.
It’s all about prepping and not about hysteria thinking which unfortunately is what many people think of the prepping community. It’s about common sense. It’s all about staying comfortable and possibly staying alive in crisis situations.
Common Sense While Staying Warm
Extreme Cold Killed Texans in Their Bedrooms, Vehicles, and Backyards
At least 58 people died in storm-affected areas stretching to Ohio, victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, car crashes, drownings, house fires, and hypothermia. New York Times
One of the most difficult solutions to heating your home is doing it in a safe manner. You are most likely going to be heating your home with fire when the power goes out. Need I say more?
Well if you are going to stay warm and SAFE, I will say more. Plus some.
While it is an easy source of heat it is an easy source to make you homeless in minutes. You should only be considering devices that are made for containing that fire designed to keep you warm. An open fire pit in the garage just won’t do. Neither will be bringing that BBQ grill into the living room.
Proper ventilation is always a must to avoid carbon monoxide issues. Most people who die in a home fire will die from carbon monoxide poisoning. The fire will just cremate you because you will be already dead.
- Have a carbon monoxide detector in place even during the good times.
- Keeping furniture or other combustibles at least 3 feet away from your heat souse is something to be considered.
- Keep the device at least 3 feet from any wall. Walls burn too.
Stay Safe And Warm With Spot On Solutions
Fireplaces and Wood-Burning Stoves
If you are lucky you will have one of these bad boys. Convenient and properly ventilated to avoid that carbon monoxide poisoning, you have a head start on achieving a safe and warm household.
When I lived in New York I installed one of those Franklin Stoves to keep the house warm. It was quite efficient. It had built-in fans which would force the heat out into the room. Much better than the conventional fireplace.
And it was so much cheaper to install than the conventional brick fireplace. It could be a DIY project that will save you quite a bit. Check with local building codes before you start.
Don’t consider those wood pellet burning stoves. For what your purpose is (survival heat) they could be useless when the pellets run out. And they will run out. Fast.
As for the traditional wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, realize that you will need a lot of ‘hardwood’ for them to do their job. The typical household will go through at least 5 cords of wood in the winter. But you are not going to be without electricity the whole winter so consider that when stockpiling the wood.
I had one of these when I lived in New York also. Before the fancy Franklin Stove. They were all the rage. Clean burning, gave off a tremendous amount of heat that could warm up a room in no time. It was very efficient, producing very clean heat with low levels of carbon monoxide. But they do still need ventilation.
The source of this heat is kerosene and it is extremely flammable and you have to consider where to store it. Two gallons will get you 4 to 5 hours at a high setting. Back in my day, the local hardware store carried all I needed. You might have to look for a source to satisfy your needs today.
And here is a tip: These heaters kick out extremely dry air. I used to put a pot of water on top of it to add a little humidity into the room which helps in the warming process. Just make sure that no matter where you place it in your home you give it a wide berth.
Not just from the furniture and walls, but also from people’s traffic.
If you are lucky enough to already have propane at your home, catalytic propane heaters are a good option for your short-term emergency heating. And here is a plus: All catalytic heaters are not dangerous and are completely safe to use indoors. Due to their catalytic burning of fuel, they don’t produce Carbon monoxide.
These heaters don’t burn the propane as a propane barbecue grill would. Rather, they are flameless heaters that rely on a chemical reaction to break down the propane, thereby producing heat. Because of this, they produce no carbon monoxide, making them safe for use indoors, even without ventilation.
The one problem with catalytic heaters is fuel. You are going to need propane.
And in a crisis situation, you’re not the only one looking for fuel. Your neighbors want to stay warm also. By then all fuel supplies will be gone for a while. Including wood, and kerosene.
Staying Warm In An Unheated House
If you have not properly prepped for a cold and off-the-grid winter you will have to think a little outside the box. Start by thinking of a simple warm room or two.
If you have a simple electric-free heat source such as the ones mentioned above you and the family are going to be contained in just one or two rooms for the duration of the crisis. And the reason for this is because those heat sources are not designed to heat your whole house.
So unless you are living in one of those pre-electric colonial houses with a fireplace in every other room, get used to close living conditions.
When you get that warm and safe room decided upon, try to isolate it from the rest of the house as best you can. Close doors, and install some Visqueen with tape on the windows for extra heat retention. But do remember that a window has to be cracked a little for ventilation. Just have that one on the far side of your room.
And have warm clothing. Especially when you need to venture outside the warm room to another part of the house.
Warm And Safe Before The Grid Existed
Let’s go back to colonial times as I mentioned before. They did not have electricity. George Washington had no idea what an electric switch was. Even Ben Franklin did not know what to do with that key on the kite string deal.
Besides the fireplace in every room, how did they stay warm and safe?
You hear about this even today. When going out in the cold weather use clothing ‘layers’ to keep yourself warm and comfortable. Tee shirt, shirt, sweater, coat, scarf. Simple yet effective. If it worked for George and Ben, it will work for me and you.
It also works in the cold house. Not only with the clothing but also with the covers you use on the couch while reading by candlelight or sleeping in that cold bed of yours.
Just be safe with that candle.
Another useful invention for George and Ben of that time period was the tried and true bed warmer. This was a pan with a hinged lid and a long handle. And despite popular thought, they did not use coals from the in the pan. They would use stones that had been heated in the coals instead. If coals were used, they would get soot on the sheets and if not done carefully they would set themselves on fire.
Placing that bed warmer between the sheet and blanket and moving it around, just before hitting the sack, would warm said sack. Then, once the people were in the bed, shared body heat, held in by the mattress and a lot of layered blankets, would continue to keep them warm for most of the night.
There are actually a couple of active ways George and Ben would use for taking That heat from that warm room to other rooms, at least temporarily. One was to use soapstone. Soapstone is a very soft stone but is not porous. The solid nature holds heat and radiates it twice as well as steel or iron. Soapstone can be placed in the coals of the fire to absorb heat and then be removed with tongs and placed in a device such as a sling to carry it elsewhere.
Back in the colonial and pioneering days, before heated automobiles, people would take heated soapstones in their horse-drawn wagon with them, placing them under the seat. A blanket placed over the knees of the riders would help hold that heat in, keeping their legs warm.
If more people were riding than could fit on the seat, others would sit behind the seat, in the bed of the wagon with their backs to the seat where they could receive the benefit of the heat stored in that soapstone as well.
We should all be happy that George and Ben stayed not only warm but safe to carry on their legacies.