You’ve Been Warned: Why You Need to Be Ready for Total Grid Failure
If you haven’t been in a bubble cut off from all forms of media lately, it would be impossible to have missed all of the warnings being issued about the impending loss of our electrical grid.
This isn’t just coming from so-called “gloom and doom” sites or from alternative media. Major mainstream media sources such as ABC News, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and CBS News have all issued the alerts. Unfortunately, the hordes seem to be brushing these warnings off as something that cannot happen, because the reality is too unpleasant to even contemplate. Many seem to think that they are far better to stick their heads in the sand and be assured it can never happen than to prepare ahead of time.
Who Is Ringing the Warning Bell?
In case you’ve missed it, here are some of the warnings over the past few months that most people are ignoring.
When Janet Napolitano stepped down from her role as head of the DHS she released an open letter to her successor. One chilling tidbit she passed on was this.
The outgoing Homeland Security Secretary has a warning for her successor: A massive and “serious” cyber attack on the U.S. homeland is coming, and a natural disaster — the likes of which the nation has never seen — is also likely on its way. (source)
Read more on Napolitano’s warning HERE.
But there’s more. Big Sis isn’t the only one warning us about the possibility of a grid-down scenario.
Former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan has co-authored a book about the topic with David Hagberg – his novel Gridlock is a fictional account of a very real threat.
“Our power system is very vulnerable. You could see a shutdown by hackers in cyber terror. You could see it shutdown for days, weeks or months, crippling this country and causing enormous havoc.” (source)
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) also actively agrees with the threat assessment. He released a report last May that said our power infrastructure was “highly vulnerable to attacks from Iran and North Korea” and as well as to natural threats such as geomagnetic storms from solar activity.
“With one well-placed keystroke, Americans could be plunged into darkness and chaos through the damage to our electric grid. Foreign enemies are employing Web warriors to attack our way of life, and it’s time that our actions respond to the potential threat.” (source)
Other people in the know have attempted to make the public aware of the potential for apocalyptic disaster, but few seem to be taking them seriously.
We are only one act of madness away from a social cataclysm unlike anything our country has ever known.
-Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), Senior Member House Armed Service Committee
EMP is one of the small number of threats that could hold at risk the continued existence of U.S. civil society.
-Dr. Robert Hermann, Commissioner US Congress EMP Commission
Just one violent active region on the sun can cause continent-wide, perhaps even planetary-scale impacts to our critical infrastructure.
-John Kappenman, Principal Investigator US Congress EMP Commission
The Likelihood of a severe geo-magnetic event capable of crippling our electric grid is 100%.
-Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Senior Member House Homeland Security Committee
Former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has been preaching the dangers of EMP, whether deliberate or natural, for many years:
We could have events in the future where the power grid will go down and it’s not, in any reasonable time, coming back up. For instance, if when the power grid went down some of our large transformers were destroyed, damaged beyond use, we don’t make any of those in this country. They’re made overseas and you order one and 18 months to two years later they will deliver it. Our power grid is very vulnerable. It’s very much on edge. Our military knows that.
There are a number of events that could create a situation in the cities where civil unrest would be a very high probability.
I think that those who can, and those who understand, need to take advantage of the opportunity when these winds of strife are not blowing to move their families out of the city. (source)
Don’t forget the veiled warnings implicit in predictive programming entertainment. One of last year’s biggest television hits was the show “Revolution“, which portrayed life 15 years after a deliberate takedown of the power grid.
GridEx Drill in November
And finally, if all of these warnings aren’t enough to alert your Spidey senses, here is one that is undeniable.
The United States, Mexico, and Canada intend to participate in a drill in November that will simulate the takedown of the grid.
An electrical grid joint drill simulation is being planned in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Thousands of utility workers, FBI agents, anti-terrorism experts, governmental agencies, and more than 150 private businesses are involved in the November power grid drill.
The downed power grid simulation will reportedly focus on both physical and cyber attacks. The antiquated electrical system in the United States has been one of the most neglected pieces of integral infrastructure.
The disaster drill is being described as a crisis practice unlike anything the real power grid has ever experienced. The GridEX II drill Nov. 13-14 will focus primarily on how governments will react if the electrical grid fails and, for instance, the food supply chain collapses.
American utility companies are responsible for running approximately 5,800 power plants and about 450,000 high-voltage transmission lines, controlled by various devices which have been put into place over the past decades. Some of the utility companies which oversee the power grid reportedly use “antique computer protocols” which are “probably” safe from cyber hackers,” The New York Times reported.
“If an adversary lands a knockout blow, [experts] fear, it could black out vast areas of the continent for weeks; interrupt supplies of water, gasoline, diesel fuel and fresh food; shut down communications; and create disruptions of a scale that was only hinted at by Hurricane Sandy and the attacks of Sept. 11,” The Times said.
If the power grid fails, a lack of electricity and food delivery are only the first wave of troubles facing the American people. Police could face major problems with civil unrest. Of course, there also would not be any electric heating or cooling, which easily could lead to many deaths depending on the season. (source)
The most alarming thing about this drill is the trend of suspected false flag events in America that have corresponded with “drills”. Whether or not this will coincide in a real take-down of the grid remains to be seen, but one only needs to think back to events such as the Boston Marathon Bombing, the 9/11 attacks, and the Oklahoma City Bombing to see that there is a possibility that when “drills” occur, often the players are simply being moved into place right under the nose of the public.
What Can You Do to Be Ready?
It doesn’t honestly matter HOW the grid goes down. Whether it is an enemy attack, as in the novel One Second After, a government false flag in order to institute martial law, or a natural act that is the result of a solar flare, a long-term grid collapse will result in an extremely high death toll.
If you are already of the preparedness mindset, you’ll fare better than the average North American. However, many people have never contemplated the following questions:
- How will you get food if the grocery stores are closed?
- How will you cook food if you are able to acquire it?
- What will happen to the perishable food in your refrigerator and freezer?
- How will you heat and cool your home if you are in an area subject to extreme temperatures?
- What will you use for light once the scented candle that sits on your coffee table is gone?
- How will you transport yourself if a) your vehicle doesn’t run because the computers are fried or b) it runs but you can’t get gas because the pumps at the station run on electricity?
- What will you drink and wash with if the municipal water facilities are no longer providing water or if the pump on your well runs on electricity?
Find as many solutions as possible for the issues you would face if going for weeks (or longer) without power. You must stay warm, eat, and drink. Everything else is a bonus. You can live without the television, the video game console, the microwave in the kitchen, and the laptop.
Some people like to give arguments as to why they can’t resolve these issues. They live in an apartment, they rent, they have a limited budget….the list is as long as indefinite detention. The fact is, by realizing these things are necessary and refusing to face them and find solutions for your particular situation, you are setting your family up to suffer, and possibly even die, when it could be avoided.
A recent article encouraged readers who were new to prepping to start out by getting ready for a two week power outage. Apply the following information to create your own preparedness plan for the grid failure that is sure to come. Modify the suggestions to adapt them to your particular home, family, and climate.
Everyone knows that clean drinking water is something you can’t live without. In the event of a disaster, the water may not run from the taps, and if it does, it might not be safe to drink, depending on the situation. If there is a boil order in place, remember that if the power is out, boiling your water may not be as easy as turning on your stove.
Each family should store a two week supply of water. The rule of thumb for drinking water is 1 gallon per day, per person. Don’t forget to stock water for your pets, also.
You can create your water supply very inexpensively. Many people use clean 2 liter soda pop bottles to store tap water. Others purchase the large 5 gallon jugs of filtered water from the grocery store. Consider a gravity fed water filtration device and water purification tablets as well.
Food and a Way to Prepare It
There are two schools of thought regarding food during a power outage. One: you need a cooking method that does not require the grid to be functioning. Two: you can store food that doesn’t require cooking.
If you opt for a secondary cooking method, be sure that you have enough fuel for two weeks. Store foods that do not require long cooking times – for example, dried beans would use a great deal of fuel, but canned beans could be warmed up, or even eaten cold.
Click HERE for a short term food storage list
Click HERE to find a list of foods that require no cooking.
Heat (Depending on Your Climate)
If your power outage takes place in the winter and you live in a colder climate, heat is another necessity. During the first 24 hours after a power outage, you can stay fairly warm if you block off one room of the house for everyone to group together in. Keep the door closed and keep a towel or blanket folded along the bottom of the door to conserve warmth. You can safely burn a couple of candles also, and in the enclosed space, your body heat will keep it relatively warm. As well, dress in layers and keep everything covered – wear a hat, gloves (fingerless ones allow you to still function), and a scarf.
Click HERE to learn how to stay warm with less heat.
However, after about 48 hours, that’s not going to be enough in very cold weather. You will require back-up heat at this point in certain climates. If you are lucky enough to have a source of heat like a fireplace or woodstove, you’ll be just fine as long as you have a supply of wood.
Consider a portable propane heater (and propane) or an oil heater. You have to be very careful what type of backup heat you plan on using, as many of them can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if used in a poorly ventilated area.
Learn more about off-grid heat options HERE.
A common cause of illness, and even death, during a down-grid situation is lack of sanitation. We’ve discussed the importance of clean drinking water, but you won’t want to use your drinking water to keep things clean or to flush the toilet.
For cleaning, reduce your need to wash things. Stock up on paper plates, paper towels, and disposable cups and flatware. Keep some disinfecting cleaning wipes and sprays (I don’t recommend using antibacterial products on a regular basis, however in the event of an emergency they can help to keep you healthy.) Use hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before handing food or beverages – there may be a lot more germs afoot in a disaster.
Look at your options for sanitation. Does your toilet still flush when the electricity is out? Many people discovered the hard way that the toilets didn’t work when the sewage backed up in the highrises in New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. At our cabin, the toilet won’t flush without power because the pump is electric.
If you are on a septic system, with no risk of the toilet backing up into the house, simply store some water for flushing in the bathroom. (At the first sign of a storm, we always fill the bathtub for this purpose.) Add the water to the tank so that you can flush.
If this is not an option, another solution is to stock up on extremely heavy duty garbage bags (like the kind that contractors use at construction sites) and kitty litter. Place a bag either in your drained toilet or in a bucket. Sprinkle some kitty litter in the bottom of the bag. Each time someone uses the bathroom, add another handful of litter. Be very careful that the bag doesn’t get too heavy for you to handle it. Tie it up very securely and store it outside until services are restored.
Lighting is absolutely vital, especially if there are children in the house. Nothing is more frightening than being completely in the dark during a stressful situation. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to plan for, as well as one of the least expensive.
Some lighting solutions are:
- Garden stake solar lights
- Kerosene lamps
- Flashlights (don’t forget batteries)
- Hand crank camping lantern
- Don’t forget matches or lighters
Tools and Supplies
Some basic items will make your life much easier during an emergency. Here are some things that are essential in the event of a power outage:
- Lighter/waterproof matches
- Batteries in various sizes
- Manual can opener
- Basic tools: Pliers, screwdriver, wrench, hammer
- Duct tape
- Crazy glue
- Sewing supplies
- Bungee cords
If you’d like to expand on the basic supplies, a more detailed list of tools and hardware can be found HERE.
First Aid Kit
It’s important to have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times, but particularly in the event of an emergency. Your kit should include basic wound care items like bandages, antibiotic ointments, and sprays. As well, if you use them, keep on hand a supply of basic over-the-counter medications, like pain relief capsules, cold medicine, cough syrup, anti-nausea pills, and allergy medication. Particularly important if sanitation is a problem are anti-diarheal medications.
If you want to put together a more advanced medical kit, you can find a list HERE.
This is something that will be unique to every family. Consider the things that are needed on a daily basis in your household. It might be prescription medications, diapers, or special foods. If you have pets, you’ll need supplies for them too. The best way to figure out what you need is to jot things down as you use them over the course of a week or so.
Get Started Today
You can start right now – this very minute – all you have to do is grab a pad of paper and a pen.
- Begin by personalizing the suggestions above to fit your family’s needs and make a list of your requirements.
- Next, do a quick inventory – as I mentioned above, you may be surprised to see that you already have quite a few of the supplies that are recommended.
- Make a shopping list and acquire the rest of the items you need. If you can’t afford everything right now, prioritize the most important things first.
- Organize your supplies so that they are easily accessible when you need them. It’s hard to find seldom-used items in the dark.
When the lights go out, don’t be left to the not-so-tender mercies of those who would place themselves in charge. Maintain your independence by strengthening the position of your family. Take steps towards preparedness and self-sufficiency so that you won’t need the government’s assistance to weather the storm.
If you must comply to survive, your freedom is just an illusion. You’ve been warned – what you do with the information is up to you.
About the Author
Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, leaving all links intact, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio. Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. Daisy is the publisher of The Cheapskate's Guide to the Galaxy, a monthly frugality newsletter, and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. She is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find Daisy on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.