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Get Through Any Disaster – What You Need To Know: Surviving The Cold II

Updated on February 26, 2009

Some of the most important factors to implement in order to survive extreme cold conditions in your home may stretch your consideration of comfort or practicality, but believe me, anything is better than frostbite.

Do everything possible to conserve your body heat. Put on extra clothes, or better yet, go to your bed and put on every cover you have. Those extra blankets will help to trap the heat of your body. Keep your children in bed with you, as your combined body heat will keep all of you more comfortable. If you have farm animals, you may want to consider spending the nights in the barn in close proximity to the livestock. It might be uncomfortable, but it may well be the warmest place on your property.

Ensure that you have alternate heat sources, such as a fireplace or better yet a wood burning stove; a catalytic camp stove; a gas stove or oven; a portable heater; or a space heater. You must also ensure that you have fuels for these heaters:

  • Alcohol
  • Campstove fuel
  • Corncobs
  • Firewood
  • Heating oil
  • Kerosene (try to avoid gasoline)
  • Lighter fluid
  • Newspapers, magazines, other papers
  • Straw
  • Wood chips

Naturally, don't keep any combustible fuels like kerosene anywhere near your stove as they have a tendency to explode. Then at least you won't have to worry any longer about the disaster as you'll be charbroiled.

If your fuel situation becomes critical, make sure that you have a large, sharp axe, as you can burn the furniture, cabinets, and nearly everything else in your house that is made out of wood. That priceless Chippendale heirloom cabinet won't do you any good if you freeze to death. It's going to be far more valuable giving up its ergs in your woodstove.

Confirm that all equipment that is battery powered, such as flashlights, emergency cooking facilities, etc. have fresh, fully charged power sources available. Rechargeable batteries won't do you any good at all if there is no electric supply to your house, therefore conventional high quality batteries are the best. Stock up on them and keep them in an area which stays cool and dry, preferably high up on a shelf.

Multiple layers of loose fitting, warm, but relatively lightweight clothing are the best for cold weather. Keep in mind that the temperature might be a relatively balmy 40 F in the afternoon and -10 F that night. By adding and removing layers of clothing to suit the temperature, you will keep your body at the proper temperature. Make sure that the outer layers of your clothing are wind and water resistant.

The biggest killer in cold is perspiration. Don't sweat, no matter what the cost. If you even remotely begin perspiring, remove as many layers of clothing as necessary to stop it. If any of your clothing becomes wet from sweat, rain or any other liquid, remove it at once and don't put it back on until it's completely dry. It's hard to believe but it's actually better to be in front of a fire in your skivvies while your wet clothes dry than wearing several layers of soaked cloth.

Stay indoors. You don't need to shovel the snow and make the situation worse by going into cardiac arrest.

Continued In Get Through Any Disaster – What You Need To Know: Surviving The Cold III

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