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Keeping Warm During A Disaster

Disasters can occur at any time of the year.  Once a serious situation has developed, it may become necessary to provide the means to keep your family warm.  And, you should be aware that keeping warm is not necessarily confined to a winter emergency – disasters that take place in the spring or autumn, when the electricity might be out for days will mean that there will be the danger of hypothermia. Is Hypothermia?

Our bodies work constantly to maintain the best temperature for proper functioning.  When the ambient temperature is 65 and above, there will be little or no heat loss, and as the temperature rises, problems with overheating may occur.  However, as the temperature drops, it becomes harder and harder for our bodies to keep the ‘thermostat’ set correctly.  All of our organs require a certain temperature if they are going to work correctly, but as the temperature falls, steps must be taken to keep our bodies heated.  Homes with proper heating and warm clothes will help, but if the means to heat your house has disappeared with the electricity, you will have to take steps to prevent hypothermia.

Hypothermia really begins with the body’s temperature falls below about 95 degrees F.  Shivering is one of the first symptoms of hypothermia and this will progress to confusion, paleness, and stumbling.  At this point, the condition is becoming serious, and if it continues, the blood supply to the extremities will be curtailed in order to keep the vital organs as warm as possible.  As hypothermia worsens, the heart will begin to beat erratically; the victim will become delusional and often remove clothing.  Sadly, if the person is not warmed quickly, death may soon follow.

Keeping Warm Without Electricity

Our electrical grid is probably one of the most vulnerable sectors of our civilization; it is easily disrupted by wind, earthquake, and fire.  This relatively fragile system is one of the ones we depend on most, so making some provisions for keeping your family warm during a disaster is certainly recommended.

There are several models of propane heaters that will certainly be suitable for providing heat during an emergency situation.  These heaters will run off of a tank of propane gas and will provide sufficient BTUs to heart at least a room or two during a disaster when you may not be able to use your furnace.  Remember to always keep the house vented when using one of these heaters.

Kerosene heaters have been around for quite some time and can provide a good heat source when you need one for an emergency.  Depending on the model and the setting you choose, most of these heaters will run for 8 to 12 hours on a tank of kerosene.  As with the propane heater, keep a window cracked to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide.

It would be a good idea to keep some extra fuel on hand in case the emergency extends for several days, but keep the propane or kerosene in a safe spot where children or pets will be unable to reach them.