I feel for the people of Texas and other states suffering through power outages and water shortages because of cruel winter weather.

Many Quebecers can relate to it: we had a vicious ice storm that came in waves for a week back in 1998, knocking out power in most of the province for weeks on end.

Power outages are not uncommon where I live in the Laurentian mountains. I’ve had power go out a week at a time here at least three or four times since the big ice storm, both in winter and summer, and for shorter periods of times often.

Losing electricity for just a few hours is a nuisance for anyone; losing it for a week or more in the dead of winter can be deadly.

But I’m prepared — knowing that one big gust of wind can leave us in the dark. I have a wood stove and a fireplace, and I store water in the house — because if the power goes out, the pump in the well doesn’t work.

I live by a lake, so there is no issue with water supply in the spring, summer and fall if the lights go out. There is also a stream flowing out of the lake that doesn’t freeze in the winter, so one could collect water there if they had to.

I could be better prepared if I had a generator installed that would kick in as soon as the power went out. But it is expensive, and I can get by with what I have.

I’m fortunate that I have the means for survival in such situations. But people who live in apartments or homes without woodstoves are in a perilous situation if the power goes out for a long time in the dead of winter.

Still, there are ways they can mitigate the situation. One can purchase an indoor kerosene heater or two, and store enough drinking water to last a couple of weeks. And, of course, there are all kinds of batteries to keep one’s electronics going and going.

Another tip: if the power goes out in frigid weather and it looks like it will be a while before you get it back, it’s a good idea to shut off your water supply and drain your pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting.

— Jillian