severe winter storms, your home heating system could be inoperative
for as long as several days. To minimize discomfort and possible
health problems during this time, conserve body heat by dressing
warmly; find or improvise an alternative heat source, such
as a fireplace or electric space heater; confine heating to
a single room; and keep safety a foremost consideration. While
chances of freezing to death in your home are small, there's
a greater danger of death by fire, lack of oxygen or carbon
is of extreme importance in a heating emergency. Follow
not burn anything larger than candles inside your home without
providing adequate ventilation to the outside.
type of heater (except electric) should be vented. Connect
the stove pipe to a chimney flue if at all possible. (Many
older homes have capped pipe thimbles in rooms once heated
by stoves.) Or hook up your stove to the flue entrance of
the non-functioning furnace pipe. If no other alternative
exists, consider extending a stove pipe through a window.
Replace the window glass with a metal sheet and run the
temporary stove pipe through the metal.
you use a catalytic or unvented heater, cross-ventilate
by opening a window an inch on each side of the room. It
is better to let in some cold air than to run the risk of
carbon monoxide poisoning.
not use a gas or electric oven or surface units for heating.
A gas oven may go out or burn inefficiently, leading to
carbon monoxide poisoning. An electric oven was not designed
for space heating.
not burn outdoor barbecue materials such as charcoal briquettes
inside - even in a fireplace.
not try to use bottled gas in natural gas appliances unless
you have converted the appliances for such use. Also, flues
and piping suitable for gas burning appliances may be unsafe
for use with higher-temperature oil, coal or wood smoke.
one person watch for fire whenever alternative heat sources
are used. One person should also stay awake to watch for
fire and to make sure ventilation is adequate. If the designated
person feels drowsy or has a headache, it may be a sign
of inadequate ventilation.
firefighting materials on hand. These may include: dry powder
fire extinguishers, a tarp or heavy blanket, sand, salt,
baking soda and water.
extra clothing. If cold is severe, your bed may be the warmest
place. Use extra blankets and coverings to trap body heat;
this is an especially good way to keep children warm. Farm
families might consider taking refuge in the relative warmth
of the livestock barn.
have alternative heating resources around your home. Possibilities
space heater, catalytic camp stove
gas or oil heater
hot water heater
common materials that could be used for fuel include:
stove fuel, kerosene
chips, straw, corncobs
burn coal in a fireplace or stove if you make a grate to hold
it, allowing air to circulate underneath. "Hardware cloth"
screening placed on a standard wood grate will keep coal from
falling through. Tightly rolled newspapers or magazines can
be used as paper "logs." Stack them as you would
stack firewood to allow for air circulation. If the heating
situation becomes critical, consider burning wood, including
lumber or furniture.
efficiency of available heat, close off all rooms except the
one to be heated. When selecting a room, consider the following:
using a vented stove or space heater, select a room with
a stove or chimney flue.
emergency heat to a small area.
to select a room on the "warm" side of the house,
away from prevailing winds. Avoid rooms with large windows
or uninsulated walls. Interior bathrooms probably have the
lowest air leakage and heat loss. Your basement may be a
warm place in cold weather because the earth acts as insulation
and minimizes heat loss.
the room from the rest of the house by keeping doors closed,
hanging bedding or heavy drapes over entryways, or by erecting
temporary partitions of cardboard or plywood.
drapes, bedding or shower curtains over doors and windows
Your county family living agent, your local power company
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