Prepare Home for Confinement

Winter weather can isolate, or confine you in your home. If you live in rural area, make sure you could survive at home for a week or 2 in case a storm isolates you and makes it impossible for you to leave.

Steps for Preparing Home
  1. Keep an adequate supply of heating fuel on hand and use it sparingly. If necessary, conserve fuel by keeping the house cooler than usual, or by closing off some rooms temporarily.
  2. Have some type of alternative, emergency heating equipment on hand and fuel so that you could keep at least 1 room of your house warm enough for survival. This could be a camp stove with fuel, or a supply of wood or coal if you have a fireplace.
  3. Plug in a carbon monoxide detector with battery backup.
  4. Stock an emergency supply of non-perishable food and water. Some of this food should be of the type that does not require refrigeration or cooking.
  5. Stock first aid supplies.
  6. Make sure you have battery-powered radio and extra batteries on hand, so that if your electric power is cut off you can still hear weather forecasts, information and advice broadcast by authorities. Flashlights would be needed also.
  7. Keep on hand the simple tools and equipment needed to fight a fire, a fire extinguisher(s) and battery-powered smoke detectors on every level of your home. Be certain that all family members know how to take precautions that would prevent a fire. During a winter storm, help from the fire department may not be immediately available.
  8. Never try to thaw frozen water pipes with a blow torch or other open flame (the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space). Use hot water or a UL labeled device such as a hand-held dryer for thawing.
  9. If you plan to use a back-up generator, read info on Emergency Generators.
Special Note
  • If you use a space heater, make sure you vent your house to avoid the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide gases.
  • Never use a charcoal grill as a supplemental heat source. Burning charcoal gives off deadly carbon monoxide fumes. Even a faulty furnace can produce odorless and tasteless carbon monoxide. Proper ventilation is essential.
  • Caution should be used if a range or oven is utilized as a supplementary heating source. It is a safety hazard that can cause burns, but it can also be a source of toxic fumes.
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry the amperage load.
Avoid using an electric space heater in bathrooms, or other areas where they may come in contact with water.