With the dire situation in Texas making headlines, I became curious about ways to stay warm in a black out. We rely so heavily on electricity, gas, fresh tap water, and the internet. Without these, things fall apart fast.
What happened in Texas can happen anywhere in the world. Basically, an unexpectedly bad winter storm took out their power grid, leading to the loss of power at half a million homes and businesses. Without a way to heat their these buildings, water pipes are bursting.
Desperate to stay warm, alternative sources of heat were used that are causing carbon-monoxide poisoning. Buy a detector if you don’t already have one! Until the roads are cleared, people are stuck at home without heat, some without water, and no way to get to any. Any links to Amazon products in this article are affiliated.
1. Layer Your Clothing
It seems obvious but so many of us don’t do it. A warm ski jacket worn over a T-shirts will still leave you cold. The more layers you wear, the more insulated you will be. If this means wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt over a short-sleeved t-shirt, do it. Wear multiple pairs of socks and make sure to cover your head.
Even if your head doesn’t necessarily feel cold, keeping it covered is a great way to keep your body heat from escaping. Gloves, scarves and even shoes may also be a great idea, even if indoors. Wool is one of the best materials for staying warm, so use it when possible. Check out this wool glove, hat, and scarf set for just $12.
2. Huddle Up – Stay Warm in a Black Out
Get your partner, children, parents, pets, and sit together. Share a blanket and let your body heat keep each other warm. Again, this seems silly but it really does help. If you get really cold and don’t have a warm body to cuddle up to, stick your head under a blanket. Your breath alone will help warm you up after some time. This isn’t a long-term solution but it may stop you from shivering. Also, you should do this in your smallest room and close the door to keep any heat from escaping.
3. Close Rooms That You Aren’t Using
You should keep as much activity as possible to your smallest room. Make sure to close all the doors in your house to keep it as sealed up as possible. If you leave to use the bathroom, close the door even for the few moments that you will be away. Every little bit of heat counts and it can escape a room fast.
4. Insulate Drafts – Stay Warm in a Black Out
Check for drafts by simply holding your hand near windows and doors. If you feel cold air, roll up some shirts, socks or any other fabric to insulate the gaps as best as possible. You can also consider doing this under the door of the room you are huddled in if necessary. If the drafts are extreme, use a roll of plastic, garbage bags, or bubble wrap to cover all your windows.
If you use tape, be careful to not ruin your paint job. Although staying warm in an emergency is worth needing to do some aesthetic touch-ups later on. Here is a heavy duty window insulation kit that you can buy for emergencies – this is great if you accidentally break a window during winter.
5. Close The Blinds and Curtains
After you cover the windows, consider drawing your curtains and closing your blinds as well. If this is too depressing or if it gets too dark for you to see, then save this for night time. Do it to all the windows, even in rooms you aren’t using. It will make a difference. Depending on the weather, it may be a good idea to keep blinds and curtains open in case the sunlight is helping warm up your home. Just use your common sense.
6. Drink Warm Liquids
Heat your body from the inside out by drinking warm liquids. Use a camp stove or candle to heat your liquids. Just be careful not to hurt yourself in the process. A big issue is understanding carbon monoxide poisoning. A candle can produce levels of carbon monoxide which are measurable. It doesn’t matter if the candle is scented or unscented; the level of carbon monoxide is the same. You should never leave the candle burning in a room that is fully closed off. Even a small tea candle isn’t necessarily safe to use for a long time. A lot of people in Texas are currently in hospitals because of this.
7. Move Your Body – Stay Warm in a Black Out
While it is tempting to lay under a pile of blankets all day, moving your body could help you warm up. If you have the energy, run up and down the stairs a few times. The more you move, the warmer your body will get. If you have a stationary bike or other gym equipment, you can even use it fully clothed any time you get too cold. However, make sure you have the water to stay hydrated if you are exerting a lot of energy.
9. Camping Time!
Do you have a tent and sleeping bags? Set it up inside and sit inside it. This will trap your body heat and will keep you warm. Just make sure to not light candles inside a tent – that is a fire hazard and could give you carbon monoxide poisoning. Here is an affordable tent that you can get as well as some sleeping bags. These are great for non-emergency camping as well!
10. Heated Water Bottles
If you have a safe way to heat up water, use heated water bottles to keep warm. If you can also get your hands on some hand warmers, use them in your gloves, socks, heck even your hat! Hot water bottles are great for heat but also pain relief. Consider getting some for whenever you have a backache that just won’t go away. Hand warmers are also a good idea to have at home. They last years if you don’t use them.
Prepare for Next Time
A situation like this seems unlikely, but it can happen to anyone. Invest in a solar heater or portable generator. During a crisis they will be sold out (been there, done that) but we can always prepare for the future. Keep a closet full of supplies that can keep you warm, cool, well-fed, and sufficiently hydrated in any scenario. You don’t have to go crazy and build a bunker in case of a zombie apocalypse, but it never hurts to be prepared.
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