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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Skills Saturday: 4 Ways to Stay Warm Without Electricity

Thanks for the image.

Scarves, mittens and hats are a great way to express your personality in the cold weather. 
-Brad Goreski

Are you at risk of losing power due to a natural disaster like a winter storm?  We certainly are here in Indiana.  Do you have a plan to stay warm and avoid a serious condition like hypothermia?  If you do, I'm really proud of you.  :)   If you do not, get prepared today!

I'm reading The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency by Anna Hess and one of the December entries is on how to stay warm without electricity.  Hess points out that a winter power outage can have serious consequences to your health and well-being if you have not laid out a plan before it occurs.  Note that hypothermia can occur even if indoors in lower temperatures. 

Hypothermia is especially risky for young children and the elderly.  According to the symptoms of hypothermia is as follows:  
*Note that I am not a physician and do not give medical advice.  Please seek advice of your own medical professional on this issue.
Hypothermia Signs and Symptoms
  • Shivering - but note that in advanced stages shivering stops
  • Dizziness
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Hunger or nausea
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Fast breathing in early stages; slow and shallow in late stages
  • Fast heart rate in early stages; weak pulse in late stages 
  • Please seek medical attention for anyone with symptoms of hypothermia!  
Make plans now to lessen your risk of this dangerous condition by planning how you will keep your family warm during a power outage.  So much better to be prepared than to risk a medical emergency when emergency rooms and hospitals may be overwhelmed.  

Here are four ways that Anna Hess recommends to have in place before a winter storm knocks out power and your heat supply.  She outlines ways to heat a room but emphasizes more heating your body instead.  

  • Heat only one room
    • The room should be small and if possible, have south facing windows to take advantage of passive solar heating on sunny days 
    • Block off any flow of cold air into the room 
    • If room has a fireplace or woodstove, it is a plus of course
    • Propane or Kerosene heaters are another option but *MUST* be well ventilated to avoid carbon monoxide which will kill you.  I must say that this is not one of my favorite options because the odors do not sit well with me.  
    • Have you seen this from Instructables?  Flower-Pots-Tea-Lights-Heater is another option  
  • Dress for warmth
    • This plan can be used anytime there is cold weather and will allow you to decrease your heating costs even when there is not an outage 
    • Choose winter clothing for warmth and utility - style and cuteness are not the best choices here 
    • Dress in layers
    • Choose a good winter coat, a hat that covers the ears, warm socks, sweaters, long underwear, and gloves are all necessary
    • Aim for loose layers that allow air to make pockets of insulation 
  • Sleeping bags
    • If you do not have sleeping bags that are rated for 0 degrees F, save up to get them.  You do not need the ones that are really expensive for backpacking since you won't be carrying them around - the weight of them will not be an issue  
    • If you will be sleeping alone, opt for the mummy style bags.  If you have a cuddle buddy, zip two regular sleeping bags together for extra warmth.  
    • You don't have to wait for a power outage to use them!  Put them on your bed now and turn down the thermostat to save some money.  
  • Stay active
    • Moving around causes your body temperature to rise, so get up and do things regularly.  If you start to sweat from wearing layers of clothing, remove some layers until you are comfortable.  Do not allow yourself to wear wet clothing.  
    • Warm food and drinks help so have a plan for cooking too.  Do not use alcohol thinking it will warm you up.  Alcohol does not raise the core body temperature and it can dull your senses to knowing when you are getting too cold. 
    • Please use caution when wearing layers of clothing and warming up food and drinks.  Some of the synthetic fibers used in clothing today are quite flammable.  
So that is the skill I've been working on today.  I have a room I can close off and we have the right clothing.  I do need to invest in better sleeping bags though so I'll be looking for some deals on those.  We have an indoor dog so she would be joining us in our makeshift one room cabin.  If you have other animals that may be really cold sensitive, like birds, rabbits or guinea pigs - be sure to include a place for them in your plans too.  

How have your handled Staying Warm during a Power Outage in the past?  I would love to see your comments....

Tomorrow is our Sunday Cooking post and I'll be discussing how to roast a whole chicken.  Really easy to do and will feed your family a meal, plus some leftovers and then a carcass to make soup.  
I hope to see you then.....

Peace be with you, 

Star Schipp    

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1 comment:

  1. This is the weakest link in my prep chain. I will be cruising the goodwill for sweaters for the family. And I am going to test the flower pot heater after the holidays.