Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sleeping warm in Freezing temperatures

from the Washington Post today
Scenario:  The heat is out because even the gas heater needs an electric starter and you can't find the directions to safely light the heater manually in the dark.  The power has just gone out and the sun has been down for hours.  Not the time to panic.  What to do?  here are some tips.
From EHOW.COM   How to open the flue

     Turn off the gas if you cannot get that furnace started.  Make sure you have opened the flue in any fireplace before starting a fire.  Do not make a brazier out of a wok. Do Not start a fire in a backyard fire pan brought in for the night.  You need ventilation for that and maybe when the sun is up that could happen in a great room where you can let in air if needed but absolutely not in confined quarters.  
     Turn all the faucets to drip.  A steady stream just past the sound of drip drip drip will keep most pipes from freezing.  

     Think now back to all those lists you made either on paper, the computer or in your head.  Where are the things you need?  The basics are food, water warmth. 

     Gather the family in the room that will accommodate the most people for the night with the lowest ceiling.  This is not time to spread out in the great room.  You are not only keeping yourself and the kids warm but you are confining as much body heat as possible.

     The master bedroom or the second bedroom near the hall bathroom might be your choice.  If you have sleepers with bad backs who need firm support and some with good backs, push the mattress off the bed onto the floor for the ones with a good back and place a blanket or comforter on the box spring for the ones that need extra firm.  You just doubled your bedding.  Do not block the door and make a passable walkway from bedding to the bath room.

     For young children who wet their covers a mattress pad is a good insulator as well as an additional absorbing layer.  Do not line the bedding of small children or invalids with plastic.  It can kill them as quickly as carbon monoxide.  Just don't do it.  

     To make the kids calm and have a little fun, set up a tent in the room and make that "their" room for the night.  The tent will keep their heat in if they kick the covers and keep the children in a place where you can better watch over them.

     Dress warmly for bed.  An under layer of socks, loose but natural fiber under garments and t shirt is a good first layer.  Dress in casual comfortable second layers like sweat pants and sweat shirt or a fleece jogging suit or flannel pajamas.  A silk scarf over the head is good or a knit or fleece cap to keep heat from escaping the head is needed.  As much as you may want to sleep the night on a clean sheet under a pile of blankets, resist the urge to weigh down the body and suffocate.  

     Make a bed of padding to insulate you from the floor (mattress or quilts or sleeping bag) a light blanket under you and a blanket on top.  Put a sheet over all layers to keep body heat in.
     Some fleeces have a right side and wrong side.  If you lay under them and feel warm, that's the right side up.  If you can't get warm under a fleece, turn it over, it is not right side up.  Look for the tag if store bought, it is always on the under side.  

     Stay warm, sleep tight.  In the morning you have other work to do.
     As the sun rises, you must inspect your shelter for overload from heavy snows, damage to window glass, or tree debris.  
     Make what adjustments you can leaving as many paths to escape open.  You can shovel snow off the roof, but don't pile it up against the doors and windows.  Snow shoveling is strenuous work and even in the cold you can dehydrate.  Drink water, rest and do not over stress your body.    

     Gather food.  Plan for the day.  Does the weather news tell you rationing is needed or is help on the way?  Will there be another storm close following? What can you do while the sun is up to make the next night easier?  Prepare for tomorrow.  And, God Bless.

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