My Way News - Families Flee Freezing, Powerless Homes: "More than 70 people have been treated for carbon dioxide poisoning in Oklahoma City and Tulsa."
CO2 poisoning is a major problem when the power is out. A battery powered detector is a good thing to have at such times.
One of the reasons we got the apartment we are in right now is because it has a fireplace. It seems okay and ready to use.
An alternative source of heat is always important in the winter. I've got to make sure to remember that in our next home.
One thing though is that the basement may be nice and cool in the summer but might also be nice and warm in the winter. Or at least warmer then the upper levels of the house. It is linked to ground and will be near 55°F most of the year. That is not terribly warm but way above freezing.