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Disruption of heat supply

Small town lost heating due to several accidents

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How to be prepared for the disruption of heat supply

  • Determine the services on which the heating of your home depends: central heating, electricity, natural gas or liquid fuel supply.
  • If possible, get an additional heater, which can be safely used indoors, such as a gas fire, wood-burning oven or fireplace, electric heater or a blower. You should have at least one heating device at home that is not dependent on electricity.
  • In an apartment building, assess together with the other members of the apartment association the availability of alternative heating installations and the conditions governing their use. For central heating, find out whether the district heating network will continue operating in the event of a power outage and whether the circulation pump inside the building has to be kept running using a power generator.
  • When using an alternative heater (such as an oven, a fireplace), a suitable room should be chosen which can be most easily converted into a room that retains heat and where you can stay for a twenty-four hour period with your family if the heat supply is disrupted.
  • If there is an appropriate and sufficiently large storage area, build up a fuel reserve for your main and alternative heating systems for at least one week.
  • To avoid the freezing of water and heating pipes, insulate the pipes (thermal insulation, electric cable, etc.).
  • Emptying the water pipes and heating pipes and circulation reduce the risk of pipes freezing. If you live in an apartment building, find out who in the apartment association can do it.

How to act in case of disruption to heat supply

  • Switch off the building’s mechanical ventilation system, close the doors, windows and ventilation shafts and thicken the places where heat conduction from the building may be taking place.
  • If the heat supply is disrupted in winter, dress warmly at home. Stay in one room together with your family members, as each person provides heat.
  • Use only one room, isolated from the other rooms, for keeping the heat. It is advisable to use the room with windows facing south. Cover the floor with a carpet, insulate the window and draw the curtains for the night.
  • If you heat the room with a fireplace or oven, do it only when you are awake and put the fire out before falling asleep. Do not use an open fire indoors if the proper conditions do not exist.
  • If you feel that the oxygen is running low in the room, ventilate the room briefly but properly. Air the room more frequently if you use a candle or fireplace for heat or light.
  • If the temperature in the other rooms of the home falls too low, causing the risk of freezing of water and heat pipes, provide additional insulation to the pipes with a cloth. The risk of freezing will decrease if, from time to time, you let the water run from the tap under supervision.
  • If you cannot cope independently and safely at home in case of a heat supply disruption, go to your relatives or contact your local government for help.

Worth knowing


  • Oven, fireplace or gas fire.
  • Electric heater (if not enabled by the power network, you should consider either increasing the capacity or upgrading the power network).
  • Heat pump.
  • One-week reserve of fuel for main as well as alternative heating device.
  • When using any heating system, you must always take into consideration fire safety requirements and the permitted load (how often is it allowed to heat the oven or fireplace, how much load can the building’s power network tolerate, etc.). Using a heating system that does not correspond to the requirements may cause a power outage or fire hazard.
  • How fast the building cools down depends to a significant extent on weather conditions (cold and wind) and the heat retention of the building, as well as to what extent you can avoid the loss of existing heat.

What to do in a crisis

Every state does whatever it can to prevent or respond to crisis situations. Still, help will not always reach all people quickly enough because some crises can affect a large part of the population and last for days or even weeks.

Until help arrives and services are resumed, your welfare and that of your loved ones will largely depend on your own preparedness.

The web page “” contains tips on how to get prepared for various types of crisis situations and what to do if there actually is one.

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