This is a continuation of my heat series. Being cold is probably one of the worst things to feel. I guess I want to share this information because I worry about people freezing. There are many people especially in my state that have to be taken to the ER during winter for low body core temperatures because they cannot afford heat or they don’t have the means to heat themselves. Everyone should plan to have some sort of heat. Hope this helps.
Generators for emergency power
An electric generator could power furnace blowers, oil burners and some other appliances in time of emergency. Just how many appliances you could operate depends on the output of the generator. Before buying a generator, the homeowner should add up the wattage required. Motor requirements should be figured at their starting rate (much higher than the running rate) to arrive at the total number of watts required at peak use. Generators are rated according to their kilowatt output (a kilowatt equals 1,000 watts). Additional costs would be necessary to rewire the home service entrance, to install a transfer switch or to add an alarm device or other accessories as desired, and for regular maintenance of the standby system. Home generators are usually driven either by an attached gasoline or gas-powered engine or a portable power source such as a tractor. The best information on a generating system for your home can be obtained from a local supplier, your utility company, or your local Extension Center or civil preparedness representative.
What other materials exist that could be used for conserving body warmth or emergency heat? Winter clothing, especially bulky items and outdoor garments, sleeping bags and small tents, blankets and bedding, drapes, curtains, slipcovers, rugs, large towels, etc., should be considered. Remember, if all else fails (and you can’t get to other shelter), bed is the warmest place to be with other family members and lots of covers. How much of your house should you heat? When the heat goes off and you are going to have to rough it, the smaller the space you heat, the easier the job will be. What you do will be dictated by the amount of emergency heat you have available, the floor plan of your house, and the severity of the cold outside. If you will be utilizing your fireplace or a stove requiring a chimney flue, the choice of rooms has been made for you. If, however, you will be able to obtain some heat from your furnace, select an area near it to cut down on heat loss that occurs in long pipe or duct runs. If you plan to use a portable heating device or have a choice among several heating zones, select an area on the “warm” side of the house away from prevailing cold winds. This area should have good insulation, as few windows as possible to minimize heat loss and should be capable of being isolated from other unheated areas either by closing doors or blocking openings to prevent drafts and heat loss. You may want to hang blankets or heavy drapes over windows to further reduce heat loss. If you will be using your furnace in an emergency, know in advance how to prevent it from sending heat to unnecessary areas. In addition to shutting off the thermostat, this may involve blocking hot air ducts or shutting off certain steam or hot water lines.
Storing emergency fuel
Obtain fuel for your alternate heating system and store enough to last several days. Store it in a safe,convenient place such as a garage, carport, or shed away from the house. Do not use your emergency fuel for any other purpose, and check the supply regularly. What resources are available for emergency assistance in your community? There may be town, school or county plans for coping with emergencies. Your local Red Cross or civil preparedness authorities may have contingency plans and supplies. Find out.Are there stockpiles of fuel available such as coal, oil or firewood? (Some towns keep emergency supplies of firewood on hand at dumps or highway department sheds. If yours doesn’t, perhaps it should.) Are there emergency supplies of foodstuffs and water? If your family were forced to leave its home, where could it go? Under what conditions? Schools and municipal buildings often have emergency lighting equipment and heat. You may want to consider a cooperative emergency plan which combines your resources with those of a neighbor.
Just start now to find the information that will help your family survive.