When the Grid Goes Down, You Better Be Ready!
by Tess Pennington
by Tess Pennington: Survival
Food: Fat Sources for a SHTF Diet
It is a fact
that our country is more reliant on electrical power today than
at any time in its history. Our way of life from everyday
conveniences and the security of local emergency services to commerce
and communications is contingent upon an always on, always
available flow of electricity. But an aging infrastructure coupled
with a rise in natural and man-made disasters threatens our entire
modern day digital infrastructure. According to many experts from
the private and public sector, were just one major catastrophic
event away from a complete meltdown of life in America as we know
So, what happens
if and when the grid goes down for an extended period of time? Aside
from the aggravation of not being able to determine what is happening
through traditional media channels, for the Average Joe, his problems
have only just begun. Our dependency to the grid doesnt just
stop at lack of electricity in our homes to power our appliances
or an inability to charge our cell phones; it is much broader and
affects every aspect of our lives.
We are regularly
inundated with news reports covering outages that last several days
or weeks resulting from inclement weather like snow storms or hurricanes,
or heat waves in southern states that threaten to overload the system.
During those times, when entire metropolitan areas or regions experience
black outs, we get a glimpse into what a truly widespread emergency
might look like. It is often the case that the first thing residents
of affected areas do is rush to grocery and hardware stores hoping
to acquire critical supplies like food, water, batteries, flashlights
and generators. And while these supplies acquired at the onset of
crisis may provide short term sustenance, any long-term grid-down
situation that lasts for many weeks or months will prove dangerous,
and perhaps fatal, to the unprepared.
a moment, how drastically your life would change without the continuous
flow of energy the grid delivers. While manageable during a short-term
disaster, losing access to the following critical elements of our
just-in-time society would wreak havoc on the system.
or shut downs of business commerce
of our basic infrastructure: communications, mass transportation,
Inability to access money via atm machines
in public facilities schools, workplaces may close, and
to have access to clean drinking water
in his article What
If The Lights Go Out?, indicates that the grid may be ill-equipped
to meet all the enormous challenges it faces in this day and age.
widespread outage in the Northeast, the great blackout of August
2003, showed how intimately interconnected and alarmingly fragile
our power grid is. How else to explain the way a problem starting
in northeastern Ohio quickly cascaded into a blackout affecting
50 million people across the northeastern United States and parts
of Canada? How quickly? Between the moment a power surge came
rushing out of Ohio and the moment Manhattan began to go dark,
exactly 10 seconds had passed.
If our society
is more reliant on power than at any time in history without
it, weve got no commerce, no communications, no clean water
and if power becomes less reliable in the future, the big
question is: Will we be able to hack it?
with the future of power isnt that there is one big problem
that could croak us. Its that there are a host of them,
any one of which could croak us.
has grouped these potential grid-down antagonizers into three
earthquakes, hurricanes, snow storms, thunderstorms as well as
massive solar storms that have the potential to seriously damage
the electrical grid. You dont think it could happen? In
the article provided above, the author states, It took just
90 seconds for a 1989 solar storm to cause the collapse of the
Hydro-Quebec power grid, leaving 6 million Canadians without power
for up to nine hours. A 2008 NASA-funded report noted the risk
of significant damage to our interconnected grid in light of the
forecast for increased solar activity. The 11-year solar cycle
is expected to peak in 2013, and just two weeks ago we saw one
of the biggest solar-radiation storms in years.
includes, but is not limited to a physical attack on the bulk
power system, either at its source of generation or somewhere
along its transmission route, cyber attack on the computers controlling
our interconnected grid, electro-magnetic pulse, or EMP, weapon.
Have you read One Second After by William R. Forstchen? EMPs
will create long-lasting damage that would incapacitate electronic
systems across the country and forever change our way of life.
Cyber-threats are another concern and someone with serious hacking
skills could easily take out computers, networks or information
stored therein to cause lasting damage to our way of life.
power grid is almost as sick as our failing economy. With one
malicious event, be it man made or by natural means, it is down.
Swidey compares the grid infrastructure to being as old and stooped
as a pensioner. As it is upgraded and its capacity is expanded,
our rapacious need for more electrical power races to max it out
emergency, such as a massive power surge, solar flare or rogue electromagnetic
pulse (EMP) detonation have the capacity to render our entire power
infrastructure useless. Transformers and other key elements on which
the grid depends could be permanently damaged as a result of massive
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joined the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999 Tess
worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and
is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response.
You can follow her regular updates on Preparedness,
and a host of other topics at ReadyNutrition.com.
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