1. Dress in layers. Start with thermal wear, then put on a warm shirt and top it off with a sweater or cardigan. Insulated pants can also help ward off the extra cold. Bonus tip: People lose a lot of heat through their hands and feet, so wearing warm gloves and heavy socks is a good idea.
2. Keep kids and pets cozy. Put warm clothes on your kids and wrap up your furry family members in cozy blankets. Include board games, books and other kid-friendly activities in your storm prep kit to keep young ones calm and entertained.
3. Exercise caution. If you’re relying on an alternate heating source, such as a fireplace or wood-burning stove during a power outage, be careful. Never leave the heating source unattended. If you are using gasoline-, propane- or natural gas-burning devices to stay warm, never use them indoors. Remember that fuel- and wood-burning sources of heat should always be properly ventilated. Always read the manufacturer’s directions before using.
4. Retain heat. You want to retain as much heat as possible while the power is out. Keep warm air in and cool air out by not opening doors to unused rooms. Do not open doors to the outdoors unless necessary. Lock your windows instead of just closing them; pressing the window in the frame prevents cold air from seeping in.
5. Block drafts. Even if you’ve been diligent in caulking and weatherstripping, your house can lose heat through sneaky leaks and gaps in doors and windows. Quick fix: Roll up towels/blankets or opt for draft stoppers and place them at the base of doors and windows to reduce drafts.
6. Protect your pipes. House pipes are especially susceptible to freezing and bursting during a prolonged power outage. If your pipes are insulated, take the extra measure of turning off the main valve because in freezing weather, if any of the pipes burst, the water will flow out from that damaged area, causing a flood situation in your house. Quick fix: Turn on the faucets and let water drip — running water prevents freezing. Do not let dripping water go to waste; collect it in a bucket to use later on.
7. Remember food safety. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors shut. If they stay closed, a fridge will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer should keep its temperature for up to 48 hours. The time is cut in half to 12 hours if the freezer's only half full. Tip: Remove ice from the freezer and place it in a cooler to store perishables and refrigerated medications.
8. Disconnect electronic devices. To protect your home’s electrical equipment during an outage, turn off and unplug all unnecessary electronics or appliances. This will keep equipment such as your HVAC system from being damaged by surges or spikes when the power returns.