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Power out? Safe ways to stay warm in the winter

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ST. LOUIS – The colder weather is set to hit the Midwest again this weekend, prompting the need to consider how to stay warm in case of a power outage. Here is a list of 10 options to consider if your power goes out at home.

In some cases, the best option may be to leave. If possible, find shelter at another house or hotel. Before leaving, remember to unplug electronic devices, shut off the main water valve to your house, and drain faucets to prevent freezing and bursting pipes. Ensure your alarm is set before leaving and confirm that all doors and windows are closed. You can find a list of St. Louis area warming centers here.

If your heating system fails, and you have a fireplace that uses gas or wood, it can serve as a reliable source of heat. Another suggestion is to use a gas stove for cooking, which can help keep you warm. Cooking is an effective way to generate heat in a house without power, as the additional warmth is distributed into the kitchen during the cooking process.


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If these options are not possible, consider sheltering in a small room, preferably one with an attached bathroom, and following these tips.

Close all unnecessary doors to prevent cold air from extra bedrooms from seeping into the house. Cover any spaces where cold air can infiltrate, such as windows and door cracks.

Select a room with fewer windows, if possible. If the room has windows, keep the curtains closed at night. During the day, sunlight can warm the room, but after sunset, closing the curtains helps retain heat and keeps the cold out. Window insulation film and weather stripping is also effective in keeping the cold outside.


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Candles can also help to heat a room. They are a cost-effective way to provide extra heat and light in the home. Placing them in corners can be the most effective but make sure they are out of reach of children and animals.

Dress warmly, layering your clothing to retain body heat. Use blankets to create layers, and if you have pets or family members, snuggling together can help maintain warmth. If the chosen room has carpeting, that’s great. If not, place blankets or clothes on the floor to block heat from escaping through wood or other flooring materials. Setting up a tent can also help keep you warm. The smaller the space, the warmer you’ll be.

And last but not least, if you have time to prepare, purchase a generator and a gas heater in case of emergencies.

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