blizzard survival warmth

When the ‘Blizzard of the Century’ Comes, Will You Have Emergency Heat?

Photo Credit: LadyDragonflyCC via Flickr

Emergency Heat

The power is out and the ice left behind by the “blizzard of the century” encapsulates every branch of every tree, every power line, every car. The first 24 hours, you hear generators fire up all around the neighborhood. But then, one by one, they stop running: fuel has run out. And the lines at the gas station are startlingly long. You find out, too late, that the gas fireplace in your new home only heats one room of your house, and the storm has knocked out the natural gas lines so you can’t run it anyway. Drat.

Now, I know some of you have wood stoves and cords upon cords of wood stacked and at the ready. :)  But for everyone else, have you assessed your preparations to make sure you’ll be able to stay warm? Do you have sources of emergency heat? Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Hunker Down in a Tent

If you find yourself in a prolonged power outage in the winter, you can pitch your tent indoors to keep warm. Tents – especially tents like these – are made to keep the elements out, so you can camp in your own living room with your indoor-safe emergency propane heater and stay toasty. This is also a great way to make weathering a storm more fun for everyone.

2. A Survival Blanket is For Indoors Too

12 Super-Sneaky Prepper Gifts for Non-Preppers - A Survival Blanket is For Indoors TooFor winter weather emergency heating, a good quality blanket is a true life saver, along with the portable heater and the hand warmers, have kept us from freezing during a big storm. It’s so nice that I keep it at the foot of the bed when the weather turns nippy.

(If you want more info on survival blankets, I’ve discussed types of survival blankets in this post and their other uses in this post.)


3. Use Hand Warmers

Nothing warms my hands like an old-fashioned hand warmer – they’re a great way to stay warm when the weather has went frigid and the power is out. Choose an old-fashioned type over the instant ones, because the old-fashioned ones are refuel-able (and better in my opinion). And the fuel (lighter fluid) is easy to find anywhere — I’ve even seen it at convenience stores.

My favorite hand warmers are the classic American Zippos. I bought a few hand warmers last winter and they got daily use.  Be sure to have wicks, flint and fuel on hand for longer-term survival applications. They come with a special funnel you use to refill them, and a soft pouch that diffuses the heat nicely.

Mine ran much longer than I anticipated — 24 hours once — on one fueling. Very nice. I use two of them – one in each pocket.

They make great bed warmers, too. I find that they were particularly nice on my semi-arthritic hands after a long day of typing away at this here keyboard. :)

4. Seal Your Windows

In the winter, you can seal your windows with plastic film to help insulate your home. You can also use it in case of an emergency to insulate a single room on its own, so you can gather your family all together and stay warm. I ordered this kind of plastic film for just such an emergency, but I’ve also heard of using bubble wrap too.

These are just a few ideas to help you prepare for the “blizzard of the century” – do you have emergency heat? What do you do to prepare for a big winter storm?

[If you have any questions about these winter-storm emergency items, let me know. I’m happy to check out a tag, give you a measurement or anything you need to know. Like I said, I have the heater, the hand warmers, the plastic film, and the blanket all within reach of my keyboard. :)]


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    • Cheryl A
    • December 18, 2013

    The last place we lived had a wood-burning stove and that was wonderful when the power went out. Unfortunately we do not have one now but we are looking to have one fitted into our existing fireplace. I really miss that wood-burner.

    Is it safe to run a heater in a tent? I’m not sure with Carbon Monoxide :-\

    1. Reply

      Hi Cheryl,

      As long as the heater says it is “indoor safe” then it is indoor safe! :)

      The Mr. Heater Heater Buddy is marked as such.

      Great question! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Michelle Willis
    • November 13, 2013

    I have just seen a article where someone is using bubble wrap on their windows, I use the Plastic already every winter, but the bubble wrap sounds kind of interesting? have you heard anything about it? I found it on Facebook somewhere.

    1. Reply

      Hi Michelle!

      I did and I considered adding it. But since I’ve never tried it, I wasn’t 100% sure. If you give it a go, or if anyone else has, feel free to chime in and let everyone know how it went!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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