Our family currently lives in a cold winter area. We typically have four to five months of quite cold temperatures. If there is ever a loss of power, keeping our family warm is a huge concern. Here are a few ideas that you can use to be prepared for winter temperatures:
Have everyone sleep/stay in one room - Choose a small (but big enough) room with the fewest exterior walls and/or a southern/western exposure. Bring mattresses in on the floor. If you have a fireplace or stove, you'll probably want to choose this room for your gathering spot. It's also helpful to have an adjacent bathroom. Drape blankets at the doorways and/or close any doors to contain the heat to one room as much as possible.
Pitch a tent - Yes, inside of your house! A tent can help contain radiating warmth to a smaller area. You don't have to have an actual tent to do this. Use blankets and sheets and improvise. Your kids will love this!
Store blankets - I have many beautiful quilts, hand-made by my mother. Because of this, I've always assumed that all homes had an abundance of quilts and blankets. I was so surprised to hear my neighbor describe the need to buy a blanket for a bed -- explaining that every blanket that they owned was already on a bed. Sleeping bags can be unzipped and used for blankets.
Be safe! - Never burn charcoal, use a camp stove or run a generator in any interior spaces (including your garage). You also shouldn't run a gas powered stove for long amounts of time trying to heat your house. Carbon monoxide is a huge problem in situations like this. Be smart.
Use a fireplace or wood burning stove - Often these work even when the power doesn't. Learn how to light your fireplace manually if it runs on gas.
Use a propane heater - There are several products that are approved for use in enclosed areas. Make sure to vent them appropriately.
Burn a candle - It will give off some heat -- but watch carefully and do not leave any candles burning while you are sleeping.
Bundle up - Wear socks, shoes, coats, snow pants and caps. Layer your clothes. Sleep with caps on.
Use the sun - Open your blinds to allow sun to warm the interior of your room. Close blinds or curtains when the sun is not shining.
Insulate - Use shower curtains or other plastic to insulate your windows with tape. Remember to maintain a source of fresh air and oxygen.
Invite your neighbors over - The more bodies the more heat!
[Sources: Myself, Prepare Today Newsletter]