If you live in the Midwest or Northeast, you have likely experienced a deep freeze with below zero temperatures this winter. For many, the El Niño warming effect from a few months ago feels like a distant memory. Perhaps you’ve even found yourself daydreaming about moving to a tropical paradise! Wishful thinking aside, have you considered what you would do if an emergency or disaster knocked out your heat source on one of these frigid days? There are several things you can do to stay warm, according to survivalist experts, starting with buying an emergency generator.
One of the most important features of an emergency generator is its ability to run on propane or gasoline. These generators have a fuel selector switch which you slide to the type of fuel you wish to use, and then you simply push the electronic start. Propane is very clean, can be stored for long periods, and may be easier to acquire during emergencies than gasoline. Buy one in advance, because when an emergency hits, generators tend to fly off the shelves of home improvement stores. Remember that when in use, generators need to be kept outside with cables leading into the house and to the appliances they are powering up. It is unsafe to operate generators inside the house.
Insulation: By insulating as much as possible, there will be less loss of heat from inside the home and less cold from the outside entering the home. You can buy window and door insulation kits or seal cracks around doors and windows using towels, blankets, or bed sheets.
Winter gear: Keep adequate supplies on hand including warm outdoor garments, sleeping bags, small tents, blankets and bedding, slipcovers, rugs, and large towels. All of these items can be used to help keep you and your family warm for short periods of time.
Portable power systems: These small electrical devices can come in handy to heat small items such as baby formula. They work by converting DC current from a car cigarette lighter or a battery into 110 AC current. They enable you to use any electrical device or appliance in your car or anywhere else that has access to a 12-volt battery.
Fireplaces: Stockpile adequate amounts of wood logs outside. If you run out, you can create homemade logs by rolling up newspapers or magazines tightly into small log-sized bundles. When stacked properly, which allows proper air circulation, paper logs light and burn effectively. In a disaster situation in which your survival is on the line, use any lumber on hand including wood furniture.
Gas or charcoal grills: You should never use an outdoor grill inside due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, you can use them outside to heat up bricks or rocks, both of which retain heat for a good period of time.
An Inexpensive DYI Heater
- 1 new quart size paint can
- 1 bottle of 70% rubbing alcohol
- 1 roll of toilet paper
- 1 box of matches
- A large coin such as a quarter, or other prying tool
- Masking tape
- Hammer or mallet
Remove the cardboard roll from the center of the toilet paper and then squeeze the paper into the can so it completely fills the inside. Slowly pour in about three quarters of a 32-ounce bottle of 70% rubbing alcohol which will be absorbed by the paper. Hammer on the lid, place the quarter inside the match box and attach it to the side of the paint can with the tape. Store the emergency heater somewhere safe, away from any heat sources.
When you are ready to use it, place the can on a non-flammable surface away from anything that could ignite. Make sure you have a way to extinguish the flame. Remove the matchbox from the side, pry open the can, and light the toilet paper. The rubbing alcohol will ignite and the toilet paper will function as the wick. If the toilet paper starts to burn, extinguish the flame, allow the can to cool off, and then add more rubbing alcohol.