In a tragic story out of America, a family of eight died while trying to heat their home with a gas-powered generator in their kitchen. Although the family at the center of this sad tale had no electricity, you may face a slightly similar situation if your heater stops working. While you wait to get it repaired, here are six tips you should keep in mind if you want to keep your family safe while the heat is off:

1. Understand the Risks of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon-monoxide is an odorless, colourless deadly gas that can kill people easily. It can come from propane leaks or from the exhaust of a car or generator.

If you plan to use an alternative heater or generator, make sure that it is approved for use indoors. As long as you follow the manufacturer's instructions, you can use electric or gas-powered heaters temporarily in your home.

2. Take Advantage of Alternative Heating Sources

If your furnace isn't working but your power is on, there are other ways you can heat up your home and your family. Do some exercises together to get your blood pumping, then take a hot shower and follow that by baking some cookies. All of these activities heat you as well as the house.

3. Stick Together

Instead of sprawling throughout the house as you normally do, move into one room while you wait for the furnace to be repaired. To coral what heat you have, close all the doors to the other rooms, and hang out in the living area near the kitchen during the day. In the evening, move to a bedroom and have a slumber party. Your combined body heat alone will help to heat up the space.

4. Wear Hats and Gloves

It may feel unusual, but if it's cold in your house, you should dress in layers, wear a hat and put on some gloves. So you can all continue to craft or cook or use the controllers on your video game consoles, buy a few pairs of lightweight stretchy gloves and cut the fingertips off.

5. Call for Emergency Service

Instead of waiting for your furnace to get repaired, call a furnace repair specialist who offers emergency services. These professionals can come over within 24 hours, ensuring your furnace gets the attention it needs and your family isn't unnecessarily cold.

6. Investigate Local Programs

If you are worried about paying for a furnace repair, contact the local government in your area to see if there are any assistance programs. In most cases, if you are behind on your heating bill, you can get help with that amount. Additionally, although there are no national programs to help offset the cost of heater repairs, if you opt to get a new furnace—you may be able to offset some of its cost. The government offers rebates ranging from $800 and upward for people who invest in efficient heaters.