As a modern society we rely on electricity, perhaps too much! To get some idea of how much we rely on power try this experiment one weekend – come home on a Friday evening and turn off the main breaker in your house. See how long you can “survive” with no power – consider this:
- How long before your kids are screaming that the internet is down (because your wifi will not work unless you have it on an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
- How long before the kids are screaming because their iPad, tablet or phone has run out of battery and they can no longer message their friends, get on Facebook etc.
- How long before they realize no cable TV either, and no music when the batteries run out?
- How are you going to cook food if you have an electric store? Microwave isn’t going to work!
- Do you have a manual can opener?
- What other ‘gadgets’ do you have in your kitchen that run off of electricity?
- What are you going to do when the hot water in your tank runs out?
- What are you going to do for heat, or A/C? Even if you have a gas furnace without power it won’t ignite and you won’t have power for the fans to move the air.
Now expand your ‘world’ of no power:
- You can’t withdraw money from an ATM and no bank transactions can occur as they are all done by computer and unless every part of the banking system has generators then no transactions will go through
- You can’t buy anything at most stores – all the pricing is done by bar code, no power, no computers, no idea what anything costs, no way to take your credit card or even cash
- Most stores don’t have emergency generators so they won’t have lights anyway
- No way to pump gas even if you could pay for it – which will also bring ground transportation and distribution to a standstill when vehicles run out of gas
- No cell service – most cell towers are not on their own generators
- No landline phones – most are now voice-over-IP so require power
- No traffic lights = jammed intersections and probably accidents
- No local transportation like lite rail
- No elevators
- No news – while some news stations do have emergency power, and all of the stations in the National Warning System do, they will only be on the air for as long as they have fuel, as there will be no way to refuel them
- Limited emergency services, until their generators and/or fuel runs out
- fire stations
- hospice care – most do not have generators (those in hurricane areas were required to after hurricane Katrina)
Take a few minutes to watch this video produced by the Electric Infrastructure Security Council, who also produce an annual global EARTH EX exercise (available throughout September each year for anyone to participate in and I highly recommend you do, to test your plans).
This section will look at options for backup and emergency power to include:
- solar power
- wind power
- power cells
Your preparedness planning should be comprehensive and include options for:
- alternative meals of cooking & heating
- powering & recharging critical systems & devices such as
- radio communications (receivers/scanners and radios)
- cell phones and storage devices where you might have e-books
- lighting – flashlights, lanterns, etc.
- alternate transportation or means to move heavy/bulky items