One winter, James Glanton and his girlfriend, Christina McIntee, along with four children, decided to go for a drive in their 2006 Jeep into the mountains of northwestern Nevada.
While traveling on a backcountry road, their Jeep overturned and slid down an embankment landing on its roof.
Luckily, everyone was safe from the accident but the couple realized they were in a remote area of Nevada with no cell service and roughly 15 miles from the nearest town.
As dawn broke the next day, temperatures were around 20 degrees below zero and the couple decided that trying to walk out to get help would probably be impossible. The group had no blankets but James knew he had to figure out a way to keep them all warm.
The couple was able to make a fire outside their Jeep and then James decided to heat rocks and place them inside the vehicle to keep the kids warm.
Nearly 48 hours after the ordeal began, searchers found the group alive and in good condition. They were down to the last bit of food they had with them but were safe and warm thanks to James heating rocks and placing them inside the Jeep. Searchers were able to pinpoint a search area after they were able to ping one of the cell phones carried by the couple.
Even though this couple didn’t have winter survival gear in their vehicle, they were creative and did what they needed to do to survive. The thing is, during the winter, you never know when you will need a way to provide back-up heat, even in the comfort of your own home.
A winter storm could easily disrupt the utilities coming into your home, which is why I always recommend having some source of back-up heat.
This is why I want to share with you a few different heaters and ways to keep your family warm during an emergency situation. (Remember, any time you use a heater indoors you should ALWAYS have a carbon monoxide detector installed near the heat source.)
Propane heaters. The best thing about indoor propane heaters is that they are typically small and easy to move, meaning you can concentrate the heat exactly where you need it.
In other words, during a storm you could keep your family in the living room and keep the heat source concentrated on that room. One of my favorite propane heaters, one I’ve personally used on many occasions, is the Mr. Heater Big Buddy propane heater.
This unit sells for about $150 and can heat up to 400 square feet. It comes with all the safety features you want such as a low oxygen sensor, and a tip over safety shut off.
The Big Buddy operates off of two 16 oz. propane canisters, which are pretty inexpensive so you can easily stock up on these for an emergency.
Kerosene heater. The biggest advantage to using a kerosene heater instead of propane is that kerosene can typically heat a much larger amount of space. For example, the Dura Heat DH2304 can heat about 1,000 square feet.
This unit has a 9-gallon fuel tank and you can get about 9-12 hours of use from a tank depending on how cold it is. This heater includes a tip over shut off feature as well as a fuel gauge so you know when you’re getting low on kerosene.
In addition, it has an automatic rising wick and an insta-lite ignition so it doesn’t require any electricity. The Dura Heat DH2304 sells for around $150 and is perfect if you’ll need to heat a larger area.
Wood stove. Obviously, a wood stove is something you need to plan ahead for and install prior to needing it. It’s not like the other options that you can simply dig out of the garage when it gets cold.
However, the biggest advantage to a wood stove is that it is one of the most cost-effective ways to provide heat and you don’t have to worry about fuel, since all you need is a hefty wood pile.
Now, the cost of installing a wood stove will vary depending on the set up of your home but you will clearly need a way to vent the stove if you don’t already have one installed.
A new wood stove will cost at least a few hundred dollars however, newer wood stoves are much more efficient than older ones and most come equipped with fans and other modern features.
So, if you currently have a wood stove or are considering adding one to your home this is a great way to provide back up heat during an emergency.