You’ve Been Warned: Why You Need to Be Ready for Total Grid Failure

Are you 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

(source)

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.

Water

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.

Sanitation Needs

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.

Light

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
  • Candles
  • 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.

Special Needs

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.

  1. Begin by personalizing the suggestions above to fit your family’s needs and make a list of your requirements.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

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24 Comments  to  You’ve Been Warned: Why You Need to Be Ready for Total Grid Failure

  1. Rancherswife says:

    Daisy,
    Hope you and your girls are doing good, and your new home is working out for you.
    Great article, something I have been really thinking about lately, as you say with all the different people warning of such an event you have to take notice. I figure that if you are prepared for a grid down situation then you are ready for most anything. Not where I need to be but getting closer everyday ( If a person can ever really be completely ready ).
    Take Care
    Connie

  2. This is a good article. I did a similar one a couple weeks ago at my blog, about GridEx II and what could happen:

    Grid Down: What if the “Drill” was the “Event”?
    http://www.backwoodsengineer.com/2013/09/grid-down-what-if-drill-was-event.html

  3. Ugly says:

    Good article even if the grid does not go down. There are many other calamities that this list will do well for most folks. Hopefully people will start listening and at least start preparing at a basic minimum.

  4. Rage cat says:

    I have been saying it for the longest time. There is going to be a two pronged attack.
    The Chinese and Iran via jihadi sleeper cells in the US.
    The Chinese will launch a cyber attack.
    That will bring the power down for a few hours. If they just did the cyber attack, then it would only a few hours until the companies can bring everything up manually after they shut down and disconnect the automated control equipment that the Chinese attacked.

    But, while the grid is down for that short period of time, then the jihadis will strike.
    They will sabotage vital infrastructure across many places at the same time which will make it impossible to bring the power back up.
    They will cut light poles. Cut supports to transmission line towers. Destroy insulators in substations.
    They will do it in remote locations so that it will take days searching the lines to find where the faults are.
    When there is only one fault on an isolated line, then power companies can concentrate manpower to find the fault relatively quickly.
    When you have multiple faults that appear all over the system, then it will thin out the manpower, and it will take a lot longer to locate the faults and repair them.

    If they continue to sabotage things as the light companies try to repair the existing damage, then it can drag on for a very long time. Before they get one problem fixed, then the next problem will pop up.

    If you have thousands of jihadis all across the country start cutting things down, then it would be impossible to keep up.

    They found out that it was very effective in Iraq. People went for months without power because they were cutting the poles faster than they could put them up. In Iraq, it was easy to find where the system was sabotaged because of the baron terrain. But in the US, there is a lot more vegetation, and complicated terrain that the power systems go through. Trying to find where someone cut a pole along the back side of a ridge where no one can see it is impossible unless you physically walk the line.

    If that happens, then the local people that are familiar with the local system and terrain will have to help out if you want any hope of getting control of the situation. Keep your eyes out for obvious sabotage. If you see it, report it as fast as possible Keep a watch on the power lines in your area. If you see a stranger that isn’t from the area hanging around the mainline, or doing something out of place, then get a hold of law enforcement as fast as possible. If you see them actively messing with something or obviously getting ready to cut/knock a pole down (bolt cutters and chainsaws) then you will know what to do.
    Pull out the gun and calmly tell them to “Put the equipment down, lay down and wait until the law gets there or you will be shot.”

    Keep in mind, if you see something odd going on. You want to have your weapon with you, because jihadis being jihadis, they will be armed and will try and kill the nosey infidel if they are caught in the act.
    If they put guns on you, then drop them.

    The people that help will be taking a risk, but the population at large will have to confront the people doing it if they are to be stopped. There isn’t enough cops and linemen to keep watch on every foot of mainline in this country, so the population that lives on that mainline will have to help.

    I would say that after a few days of no lights, and after the word gets out about what is happening, then I would say that people will start taking the initiative on their own to guard the network

    The thing I worry about is what will they do once they have the power down? What is stage two of the attack when the population is in an information vacuum? What do they plan when the population is already in a state of distress from several days of no power?

    My thoughts on the possible second wave.

    The main problem jihadis have is the response from the authorities with superior firepower. After a day or two of no lights, then the cell network will not be functioning. That means that when they carry out an act, then no one can call for help on their cell phones. If they sabotage the landline telephone network, then they won’t be able to call for help at all. You will truly be on your own. When the jihadis attack in your area, you won’t be able to call for outside help. It will up to the local people to put down the attack.

    You will have to physically drive to a police station to get the police.

    Remember where someone intentionally cut a fiber into a town a while ago and disabled all the communications to the outside world, including police dispatch. That was a test to see if sabotage would generate the desired result.

    All those reports of dry runs that you have seen people reporting. What if all of them use that time to launch their true attack.

    The people won’t be able to call the police. And the police won’t be able to call for outside help because all communication with the outside world will be lost. They will have to physically drive to the neighboring town to muster outside help at first.

    It will literally be one on one fighting at first.

    After a while, people will fall back to two way radio. Police will start monitoring cb for local calls for help, and they will use vhf and HF to call for outside help, but it will take time for people to get things straightened out. That will be the time they can do the most damage.

  5. European American says:

    Good Stuff, Daisy. Keep the “generator” going.

  6. Markww says:

    One thing we will have is ham radio operators. There are thousands already trained to work with police and fire. Hams would be in police cars fire stations police dispatches and help bring up critical communications. There would be emergency ham radio net works setup and many have batteries generators. These are forgotten hero’s till they are needed to help in a large scale disaster. many are also firefighters,police,emergency people already trained and always ready to help and go to any disaster.

    Markww

  7. Claymation says:

    Great article connecting the personal dots for people. Also, don’t forget distractions for the kids. I am good with a book or listening to my solar radio, but my kids will drive me up the wall. We have crayons, coloring books, simple board games and special toys put up just for such occasions. Having kids you know what I am talking about. Peace Clay

  8. Javron R says:

    I know I am late in the game, I just want to know if you guys and gals have any great advice on where to shop for this gear, food storage, MRE’s and etc…..

  9. canadagal says:

    Last summer when we had a massive plow wind over a large area we had a lot of people out of power for up to a week& a half. People were covering their deep freezers with blankets & friends were lending out their generators. This is in an area where most people have big gardens & full freezers. Happy to say there are a lot more generators in our area now. Some people do learn by experience.

  10. jamie says:

    One other thing I don’t think I saw on your list (unless I missed it) would be weapons. When things like this happen, people get desperate and will do anything to get food or the things they need to survive! You may have to defend the things you have and your family!

  11. Shallel says:

    I might remind you that the 107 or so nuclear plants positioned perilously close to YOU need grid power to cool their reactors and spent fuel pools.

    No amount of preparation will save you from 107 Fukushimas.

    Stop wasting everyone’s time!

    • Kamkelms says:

      “Wasting everyone’s time?” Hardly! Prepping needs to take place, since none of us has a crystal ball to see into the future. She’s doing her best to help others prepare. Try to be a little more polite!

      • Shallel says:

        Sorry, didn’t mean to be rude, this site is a great resource!

        You are right Kamkelms. Absolutely. The fact remains the humanity has created 250,000 tons of long lived, deadly radioisotopes and no one addresses this greatest threat to 9 million species on this planet.

        Thanks for the attitude adjustment, and rather than be a fatalist, my true hope is to inspire someone to come up with a solution to the nuclear waste
        issue. Think about it. Please.

  12. Hillbilly says:

    People are people, there’s gonna be idiots and there’s gonna be smart one’s too. City dwellers are at most risk, but chances are if your neighborhood is a good one, well there’s your sign. Perhaps if you live in a less desirable neck of the woods or hoods as the case may be, you need to look for another sector to relocate if even just temporary by say Nov 10th or the 11th. Just a thought.

  13. xtron says:

    I’m afraid shallel is right…under certain conditions…

    if the grid goes hard down because of a massive E.M.P. carrington type event…and all electrical devices, including power generators are fried…within a couple of weeks the spent fuel storage tanks at those 100+ nuke sites will be dry…on fire…spewing radioactive smoke into the air. the whole northern hemisphere will be a waistland for many years.

    if the reactors power generators survive a terror cyber attack, powerline attack, or distribution transformer site attack, they should be able to keep generating enough power to keep the cooling pumps running….as long as there are operators wiulling to stay on the job and not go home to protect their families….

    best case would be the local or state government will take control of the nukes and all the necessary support supplies and equiptment and provide security till things get sorted out.

    NOW how wise was obama’s decision to close yucca mountain waist site seem to you???

    call your congress critters and demand they get yucca mountain reopened.

    • Joe84 says:

      http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1549/2

      “Specifically regarding nuclear power plants, in the early 1980s a Sandia Laboratories analyzed the “worst case” scenario and concluded that EMP poses no substantial threat to such plants based upon both analysis and simulated EMP tests. [18] ”

      Yes, Yucca Mountain needs to be reopened.

  14. Stardust says:

    So we are hearing about a grid takedown “drill” in November and now we are hearing about Tepco’s workers attempting to remove 400 tons of spent fuel rods which could “set off a catastrophe greater than any we have ever seen” also due to happen in November. Terminal madness of the end times…..

    http://rt.com/news/fukushima-fuel-cleanup-operation-522/

  15. Hunter says:

    Awesome article Miss Daisy!!!!

  16. John says:

    You’re wrong about water intake of one gallon a day. No mammals apart from some humans drink a lot of water. They drink when they are thirsty. Even the British Medical Association has now recognised that drinking lots of water has no health benefits.

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