Power Out? Tips for Staying Warm and Sane

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  2. Speaking of tents, bring in your tent and set it up in the room of your home that you are using as the “warm” room in your home. Play games in the tent during the day and sleep in it at night. Two man tents and play tents that you may have for your children also work for containing heat. If you have a fireplace in a bedroom prepare to sleep in that room and if you want to sleep in your bed place your 2 man tent on the bed, now you have the comfort of the mattress and the warmth of the tent.

  3. Do not drink alcohol or eat salty foods. They dehydrates the body and your water supply will be limited.

  4. Remember canned foods contain water or syrup which can help hydrate and they can be eaten cold if necessary. Do not discard the water or syrup use it to reconstitute dehydrated or freeze dried foods, without reconstituting dehydration can occur and can lead to serious health problems.

  5. Designate a room or two to be used as the room(s) you will gather in during the day and sleep in at night. Close off all other, unneeded rooms. Take personal items from bedrooms and close the doors. What little heat you generate from a fireplace you will want to retain in the rooms where you will live during the outage. The family should gather in one or two rooms and use only one restroom until power is restored.

  6. Close off hallways by hanging blankets or other fabrics across them. Remember the draperies between rooms in the 1800s and even into the 1940s? These were closed to seal off rooms. To seal off a hallway use your shower curtain rod hanging it as close to the ceiling as possible.

  7. Place rolled up towels and rags under and around doors and windows where weather stripping may not completely seal the area.

  8. As soon as the sun goes down cover windows in the rooms in which the family is gathered. You will be amazed how this can make a difference in the temperature in your room. Blinds are not enough. Once again, the mylar blankets from your 72-hour kits work great for this. You can also use blankets, sheets, tarps, plastic sheeting and drapery for this purpose. Newspaper in layers is a great insulator, too. At night, wind chill will become a real factor in keeping your home warm. Do all you can to keep the wind outside by using weather strip and caulking where necessary.

  9. Games: Make sure games, books, and puzzles are easily accessible in the room you have deswignated as the gathering place, and use them to help pass the time. When the sun goes down place a flashlight, battery-powered lantern, or glow stick in the middle of the floor and huddle around it like a campfire. Drink hot cocoa and tell family stories or appropriate spooky tales (like Ichabod Crane and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow). By appropriate, I mean go easy on the scary stuff with young children if you want a full night's sleep.


With a little bit of preparation, a power outage can be a memorable adventure for your family.

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6 Responses to “Power Out? Tips for Staying Warm and Sane”

  1. Carol Ann says:

    I hope I never have to use these ideas, however, they are great to print and file away in my preparedness binders. I have many of these suggested items onhand in my supplies. Thanks for the heads up!
    By the way, I purchased many glow sticks five to six years ago. How long is the shelf life? I have never had to use them. Same with body warmers?

  2. Carolyn says:

    Glow sticks should last several years but if it has been five years I would check them. If they are leaking you should trash them. If they are not crack one and see if it still works. If the little capsule inside is not damaged or leaking they will still be good.

  3. Fred Andrews says:

    A kerosene lantern,or coleman lantern will provide more light than a candle,and will also give more heat.They are at least as safe as a candle.

  4. Carolyn says:

    You’re right and I really don’t like candles, they are just too easily forgotten and too easy to knock over.

  5. Jaylee says:

    These are great ideas, Carolyn!  I live in Texas, so we don't experience a lot of ice storms or power outages, but they have happened.  I'm going to save  these tips with my other preparedness information.  I especially liked the "tent" ideas –  helping to keep warm while  making a miserable situation seem almost  like an adventure for the kids.  Thank you for all you share with us!

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