On Oct. 9 some HSU students spent their time at Samoa Beach, keeping warm by a small bonfire. Fire is just one of the heat source alternatives. | Photo by Chelsea Wood

6 Alternative Heat Sources

Ways to get lit and keep warm with no power.
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Ways to get ‘lit’ and keep warm with no power

Humboldt County residents put their survival skills to the test as Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s primary utility, shut down power across Northern California last week. The outage served as a wake-up call for those ill-prepared for disasters and emergency situations.

Heat is an essential element of our daily lives, something to prioritize. With the approaching winter season it’s important to know alternative options to keep warm. Below are seven ways you can warm up without electricity:

1. Hand warmers. Iron hand warmers are a perfect source of heat for smaller body parts. Hand warmers are great for heating up numb fingers or toes, but even more useful for pets. Small packs of warmth are a good heat source for small critters and reptiles that normally need electric heating mats.

2. Alternative heaters. Heaters are a modern day convenience but are limited due to using electricity. A more affordable, makeshift space heater can be made with a few cheap items that you probably have laying around your home. This heater requires tea light candles, two bricks and a terra-cotta pot. Construction is simple and consists of a few lit candles underneath an upside-down pot, that rests on top of the two bricks. The heat from the candles emanates through the top of the pot and warms up the spaces.

3. Fires. If you have a fireplace or an outdoor fire pit, use it! Making fires during power outages can be entertaining and helpful. Fire is mesmerizing, but dangerous so always be sure chimneys are clean and chutes are functioning before starting a fire in your home. Clean out debris and sweep the surrounding areas of your outdoor fire pit if you plan on using it outside or for light.

4. Hot water. If you’re unable to create fire but have a functioning gas stove, make heat with water. Boil water for a cup of tea or a can of food. Warming yourself up from the inside-out helps ease any muscle tension and stress. Boiling water to fill hot water pouches is another easy way to heat the body.

5. Exercise. Getting your heart rate going works up a sweat and warms the body. A quick sprint or jumping jacks in place flexes the muscles and circulates blood, keeping you warm.

6. Bundle up. Layering clothing or wrapping yourself in a blanket is the easiest way to warm up. Most of your body heat comes from your head, so adding a beanie or a scarf helps installation. Lastly, thick socks helps keep feet from freezing.

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