Keeping Warm When The Power Is Out

One of the critical problems faced during a power outage in winter is keeping warm. Of course, if you have a wood stove or a fireplace, this isn’t as much of an issue, provided you have firewood available.

If you don’t have either of those, there are still several things you can do to keep warm.

First, bundle up. Layers work much better than just wearing one big coat. A knit hat will do wonders for keeping you warm as much of your body heat is lost through your head. Thick socks and mittens or gloves will keep your feet and hands warm.

When feasible, have family members pair up under blankets and comforters. This is when having good quality emergency blankets will be of great benefit. They will reflect back about 90% of your body heat.

Don’t overlook pets either. Keeping dogs and cats on your lap or next to you will give you quite a bit of warmth, as well as sharing your warmth with them.

It is best to keep everyone all in one room. If you cover the windows and doorways with hanging blankets, this will keep the body heat in the room. On average, the human body gives off about the same amount of heat as a 100 watt light bulb. By trapping this heat from a few people all in one room, you’ll go far in alleviating cold conditions.

A few lit candles in the room will also give off a bit of heat, as well as keeping things from getting too dark. Just be very careful where you put the candles so as to avoid accidents.

Do NOT try using any sort of open flame larger than a candle indoors. Do NOT use a propane or other gas heater without proper ventilation. Do NOT use your gas stove for heating the room. Any of these are just asking for bad things to happen.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

One thought on “Keeping Warm When The Power Is Out”

  1. If it is possible to heat water to fill either 2 liter plastic bottles or glass bottles, both with secure lids, you wrap them in a small insulating blanket or cloth, they will keep you warm most of the night assuming that you have shelter. You should have more than one for each person and keep them close to your body. Also, the use of putting tents within tents and insulating between each one will help to keep you warm. Use the smallest size for the inside one. Remember to have a crack left open for ventilation and don’t use anything with a flame!

    We use 2 liter plastic bottles for our handicapped daughter as she has limited circulation to her extremities. They will stay hot/warm for most of the day. Keep those bottles filled with water too. The water can be re-heated (maybe solar during the day?) and they are another source of emergency water.

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