A Winter Without Heat – What Would You Do?

Gas

When it comes to emergency preparedness, I had come up with a fairly good game plan last year. And it was good, the only problem being that I didn’t stick to it, and as such am down to the bare minimum (what is in the fridge and the cupboards). I used up (rotated) all my cans and water bottles, but I never replenished them. So that will be one thing that I will work on slowly over the next while (a little a payday will eventually build up).

But my old game plan, being written in the summer, did not factor in another commonality of prairie life, the bitter cold winter. Though electricity loss is not much more then just an inconvenience during the summer months, it can be dangerous in the winter months, especially in the frigid cold.

Take this pipeline explosion, that knocked out the natural gas supply to a few thousand residents in a handful of towns south of Winnipeg. Though in a way they are lucky (the electricity is still on in most areas), those with gas heat are having to now find other sources, or seek warmth at a shelter.

When it comes to outages, natural gas loss is fairly rare, which makes sense being that the infrastructure is buried and not subject to the stresses of the elements. But electrical infrastructure is not so lucky.

Electrical outages are not only more common, but also a bit more dangerous in these situations, being the way many modern appliances are manufactured to behave today. Though its relatively simple to adapt to no gas, its not always that easy with no electricity. Though many appliances may RUN on natural gas, you run into problems when electric ignition enters the picture.

When it comes to this situation, my apartment house is fairly lucky to be protected either way. If the gas goes, then one can make due with the electricity. If the electricity goes, then the furnace kicks in anyway, just not fan forced (I found out when a fire a couple blocks away knocked out the power to my area for 4 hours in the middle of January one year. A hydro pole was on fire).

One consideration that I didn’t really think about though, is the loss of both. But there is not a whole lot that one can do to prep for that.

But for you, I have to ask, do you think that you are prepared for such an event?

If your home loses its gas source, do you have sources of electric heat? And if your hydro goes, will your gas appliances still be operable?

Though you likely will never have to face either situation, its always best to know beforehand.

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