If you are in the path of the latest winter storm, as I am, here’s a list of tips that may help you out. You’ve undoubtedly seen many of them before, but please read the whole list because there may be something you haven’t thought of.
- PET OWNERS READ SPACE HEATER INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE YOU BUY. We were going to buy a couple of space heaters but the stores have very few left and all the ones in stock have something to the effect of “initial fumes from heater may be harmful to birds and other small household pets.” We have two cats, our dog comes in during bad weather, and I have asthma. We were afraid to buy a new space heater but my very good friend loaned me an industrial heater she’s been using at her salon for some time.
- PREPARE TO WAKE UP WITH NO POWER. Close off all unused/unnecessary rooms (parlors, guest rooms) and even bedrooms and everyone sleep in the same room. Put cribs/sleeping bags/cots into your master bedroom and tell kids to get in bed with you if they wake up cold during the night.
- HANG BLANKETS OVER YOUR FRONT AND BACK DOORS. If you can’t close off hallways, hang blankets over those doorways too. CLOSE ALL HEATING VENTS INTO UNUSED ROOMS. In our house, we’ve chosen to heat only the den and one bedroom and we’ve hung blankets to keep all the heat in those two rooms.
- MAKE SURE THAT CHILDREN CAN’T ACCESS SPACE HEATERS OR BLANKETS HUNG OVER DOORWAYS. You’re not going to get much sleep but that’s what parenting is about. Push your bed against the wall and put the kids on the inside so you’ll wake up if they try to get out of the bed.
- INTRODUCE YOUR PETS TO TEMPORARY CHANGES. Prepare the entire family to move into the heart of the house to stay warm. Carry pets into the room and show them their litter box, food, water, and bed. This calms the pet (somewhat) and helps reduce accidents. If you’re lucky, they may just pile into the family bed with you and the kids. PLEASE BRING YOUR DOG IN. Yes but he might have an accident and yes but he has a great doghouse but would you sleep in that doghouse tonight? No? Bring the damn dog in.
- DON’T USE OUTSIDE GRILLS FOR HEAT/COOKING. I’m not going to say anything further here except only morons use outside grills inside and I know you’re not a moron.
- OIL LAMPS AND CANDLES. Oil lamps stink and both oil lamps and candles can be knocked over and burn your house down and kill your family so don’t use them unless you don’t have flashlights.
- DON’T BE TOO PROUD TO ASK FOR HELP. Yes, shelters and hotels are full . . . but I asked on Facebook if anyone could loan me a space heater until I get my furnace repaired Tuesday or Wednesday. Yes, that’s right, my furnace motor died yesterday and our HVAC guys tried to repair the motor but couldn’t. They had to order one from Georgia and it will be here Monday or Tuesday. So I have power, hot water, TV, phone and Internet, but no damn heat! I asked on Facebook if I could borrow a heater and within an hour the woman who cuts my hair was here with an industrial space heater from her salon. Put your pride aside. If you need help, ask your friends. We’re all in the same boat and one day you’ll pay them back by helping them.
If you have any more cold weather survival tips, leave a comment. Be safe. I care about every person reading this post even if I’ll never know your name.