Recently I’ve been approached by a few folks asking me the same three questions, pertaining to an event that would result in the flow of electricity ending. They are 1. Why would this happen. 2. How is it going to happen and 3. How can I prepare for it.
First off, I am by no means an expert on the subject, because I’ve never “lived” it. Others have to a degree, and can attest to the difficulty of the circumstance. And yet others have researched the topic deeply, written about it, and in most cases planned for it. We have in all cases, myself included, trained for it.
For question #1. Why. I’m not going to bother addressing that question because there are a million possible scenarios that could bring us to that situation. So on to question #2.
How is this going to happen?
There are four likely scenarios which would result in a grid down situation. First, nature. A coronal mass ejection, or CME. To understand that one, Google up “the Carrington event”. Second, a direct cyber attack on the “supervisory control and data acquisition system”, or SCADA. These control systems operate the day to day functions of keeping the power grid flowing smoothly, among other things. The STUXNET virus used by our CIA attacked the similar systems of Iranian centrifuges that produced enriched uranium. The virus took control of the physical machines and caused them to over spin, literally destroying the centrifuges. All while the control room monitors showed “normal” function. To my knowledge, it’s the only time that severe of damage has been caused by a cyberattack. Third, a physical attack on critical substations. This would entail causing physical damage to the cooling systems of the transformers, with the desired outcome being a cascading failure downstream and upstream of the attacks. This particular scenario would require some rather intricate logistics to pull off. But it can, and has already been done successfully. And fourth, an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. I’m sure that most people who read some of my stuff already know about an EMP. While an effective weapon, its deployment would be suicide for whoever deployed it, UNLESS it was done in a manner in which the evidence of its origins would no longer exist, or be otherwise extremely difficult to access. Like a boat. Iran has been practicing this for a very long time. Launching a short or medium range ICBM from a floating platform. For anyone who is short on information about what an EMP is, it’s basically a dialed back hydrogen warhead detonated in space, the higher the altitude the better. One warhead detonated at an altitude of around 450 miles over Kansas would put the lights out coast to coast.
So, question #3. How to prepare for it. For this I will use the EMP as an example as it is the most devastating of the four, it is seriously the worst case scenario. An EMP would not only destroy the power grid, but it would also render useless any item that is computer controlled or functions by use of a microchip. Cars, phones…nearly every device has a microchip in it, even my oven. It’s got circuitry that senses the heat of the igniter for the oven to open the gas valve which would then be inoperable. Even something as simple as an oven would be toast.
On to the preparedness part
In a city or urban environment, municipal water would slowly stop flowing when the towers run low. Clean and fill the bathtub and any container available as soon as possible. A supply of bottled water is good, but eventually it will all run dry. At that point a filtration system like a Sawyer, or Life Straw is needed. For those on a private well, a generator with 240VAC is needed to start the well pump. Or, a 12 or 24VDC pump can be installed. Or, more preferable yet, is a hand pump. A typical pitcher pump will pull water up a maximum of 30 feet. There are deep well hand pumps on the market that can push water up also. Apocalypse well pumps is one company that produces them.
That one is obvious, right? Grocery stores run on a three day inventory. So for this one, I will simply say stock what you can, when you can, at least enough to make it through to the next harvest season. Which leads me to seeds. As important as having boxes of Mac n Cheese, is having a rather large selection of seeds, preferably heirloom seeds, as seeds from heirloom plants can be harvested and saved, and replanted.
Whatever it is, unless it’s a mid 70’s or earlier vehicle without an engine management system on board, and you have a good stash of gasoline or diesel, it will be manually powered. Make sure to have an operational bicycle around. Older ATV’s and motorcycles “should” survive a pulse, but that’s theoretical.
That one is obvious. Training is even more obvious.
Shoes and clothing. You may regret tossing all those old cloths in the goodwill box, because if nothing else, you will be tearing them up and using them for asswipe. Same with shoes (except for the asswipe part). There won’t be any of them available for a long time.
You won’t make it alone. Simple as that. Cultivate relationships with neighbors and get family onboard.
Now this one, this one is the most important. Knowledge. Knowledge and practice. For this one, I will give a personal example. I live in Wisconsin, and the winters can be brutal around here. In my plan, (a written one, full of notes and scribbles) is a list of things I need to do in the event of a winter power outage. Within a few hours, I need to drain the water lines in the house to keep them from freezing and rupturing. Same with the livestock waterer. I practiced this at night, in a snow storm, with a flashlight. Let me tell you, the second time went much smoother than the first. Practice matters.
There are a ton of preparedness groups on the internet. Sadly though, I’ve found out that the most prolific among them are nothing more than keyboard warriors. There are a few that are strait up though. Follow Jim Cobb, Daisy Luther and Shawn Clay on Facebook or other platforms. There are a lot of other individuals who are a wealth of knowledge too, and they can be found on the above mentioned folks pages.
I hope this helps, to those who asked for this. There have been volumes written on the subject, both in fiction and actual research. I could go on and on about the subject and how I see it going down, should it ever happen. But I won’t. It’s dark, and I would instantly be labeled a fearmongering jerk, and that wouldn’t be an incorrect statement.
Be safe, and practice.