How to Stay Warm and Safe When the Power Goes Out
Families across the country are bracing for winter storms. Some areas are anticipating power outages, which causes concerns during freezing temperatures. Additionally, fires due to the misuse of different heating sources are a major concern when storms hit. So how can you keep your family warm and SAFE if you experience a power outage?
Keep all flammable materials, to include cloth, bedding, rugs and paper products at least 3 feet away from all heating sources. Children and pets should never be left alone with heating sources. Make sure to follow all manufacturer directions for cleaning and maintenance of any heating source. Never use your stovetop or oven to heat your home. Make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
A fireplace is a great way to heat your home, but it poses dangers, especially if it has not been used for some time. Double check to make sure that your damper or flue is open by shining a flashlight into the chimney. Never burn trash, paper or green wood in your fireplace. These materials cause heavy creosote buildup and are difficult to control. Use a screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks. Don't wear loose-fitting clothes near any open flame. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed. Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Douse and saturate the ashes with water. Additionally, try to keep a window cracked in the room where your fireplace is located.
If you have another option, avoid using space or kerosene heaters. But if you must use them make sure they are on a flat, hard surface (not carpet) and are at least 3 feet away from flammable materials such as walls, bedding or clothing. Look for heaters that will automatically turn off if they fall over. Never leave them on while sleeping or when you leave your house. Heaters should always be plugged directly into an outlet, never use an extension cord or power strip.
Keep the Warm Air In
Make sure to close all blinds and curtains to retain heat. During the daytime, opening the blinds or curtains on the sunny side of your house can help warm your home, but make sure to close them when the sun goes down. You can also tape bubble wrap to your windows, which may help provide extra insulation. Put rolled up towels or blankets at the bottom of doors to avoid heat loss and cold air coming in.
Avoid opening the outside doors as much as possible. Make sure to close all the doors in your home. Another good tip is to have everyone in your household sleep in one room. This is the perfect time to create a tent fort in the living room and have a slumber party! The tenting will provide additional warmth, and sleeping in close quarters will help everyone retain body heat.
Clothing and Bedding
Get creative with clothing. Covering the head, hands and feet is important, but many people in southern states may not own mittens or hats. Socks can be used to keep hands warm, and any cloth wrapped around the head is better than nothing. Think layers, layers, layers! Make sure the fluffiest blankets are closest to your skin, and then layer thinner, more dense blankets on top.
Always use caution when using a generator: never bring a generator inside your home, always follow all manufacturer guidelines, and only plug in the appliances you really need to run. Be careful when exiting your home to operate the generator. Ice on walkways can cause serious injuries, so take your time and make sure to wear shoes that have grip.
We Hate to Be a Buzz Kill
But experts also say that drinking alcohol is not advised when trying to stay warm. It is known to drop your core body temperature.
We hope everyone is able to stay safe and warm through this storm!