ARE YOU PREPARED FOR A COLLAPSE OF OUR POWER GRID?
I've always figured I'd be prepared for just about any type of disaster, but I realize now I've been foolishly deceiving myself. I guess that's just been the bulletproof over-confidence of youth. In reality, it would be catastrophically devastating.
There are very few people in this country that would be properly prepared and provisioned. Just think about it. Our society has become so dependent upon electricity in nearly every aspect of our lives, and we take it for granted it will always be there. In reality, a power outage of more than a week or two would bring us to our knees as a nation.
I recently read an archived National Geographic article released October 25, 2013: . It is quite scary how easily this disaster could become reality.
The four major potential causes of a power grid failure are:
EMP (electromagnetic impulse) Attack
Here are a couple excerpts from this informative read:
"As a May 2013 Congressional report noted, sophisticated cyber saboteurs may already be probing our vulnerability to a massive blackout. U.S. utility companies already come under frequent attack from Internet hackers who continually try to infect utilities’ computer networks with malware and search for security flaws. One company alone told congressional investigators that it was hit with an astonishing 10,000 attacks in a typical month."
terrorists or an enemy nation would detonate a nuclear weapon at a high altitude above the U.S., releasing a burst of radiation that would interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere—including the ionosphere, the thin upper layer filled with free electrons, which facilitates radio communications. As a result, a powerful electrical current would radiate down to the Earth and create additional currents that would course through manmade electrical circuits as well. Electrical infrastructure and electronic devices would receive severe shocks, causing severe, widespread damage. A 2004 Congressional Commission report warned that such an attack could cause “unprecedented cascading failures.”
Yousef Butt, a scientist at Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University, argued in a 2010 article in the online journal Space Review that the likelihood of a devastating EMP from a solar storm is greater than that from an intentional EMP attack.
There is a good possibility that the electric grid could break down on its own.
That’s because of a crucial design flaw: when one part of the grid breaks down, it can cause a phenomenon called “cascading failure,” in which the whole grid progressively collapses like a stack of dominoes. “What happens is, a failure occurs somewhere and weakens the system a bit,” Iowa State University engineering professor Ian Dobson explained in a 2010 article. “On a bad day, something else happens. Usually, it doesn’t, but on that day, let’s say it does. If it’s a really bad day, then a third thing happens and the system becomes degraded. You’re in a situation where it’s more likely that the next failure is going to happen because the last failure already happened. That’s the idea of cascading failure…Everything in the power system is protected so it doesn’t fry when something goes wrong. Things can disconnect to protect the equipment, but if you disconnect enough things, you get a blackout.
In an article published in Nature Physics in August 2013, U.S. and Israeli physicists concluded that for a system dependent upon a number of critical nodes, such as the U.S. electrical grid, such cascading failures are pretty much inevitable.
This is scary stuff, folks; especially for anyone living in a metropolitan area, but those of us in rural areas will take a hit too. While many of us rural folks will be able to harvest, gather, or grow food, we will be forced to revert back to horses for transportation, because nobody will have propane, gasoline or diesel fuel, and very, very few people will have the resources to store fuel for any length of time. We would have none of the resources we take for granted today. Nearly every single aspect of our lives is dependent upon electricity. We would have no fuel to run a generator. Solar or hydropower could be used to operate a freezer or refrigerator, water well pumps, and lights for quite some time, but eventually, the batteries used in these systems will need to be replaced. Even those of us that heat our homes with wood will have a tough go of it. I have a hard enough time keeping up with our firewood consumption using a pickup and a chainsaw. If I had to rely on a crosscut saw and a pull cart or a horse I would never keep up. I would have to close off most of my house and live in one room.
In my opinion, the best I can do to prepare for such a disaster is to stockpile at least a years worth of rice and freeze-dried vegetables, and put together a "seed bank" so I can grow vegetables and fruit, which is not an easy task in the high country of Montana I call home. About the only resource that will be easily available in my neck of the woods is meat. Even in the unlikely event I should run out of ammunition for my firearms I will be able to harvest game with a bow, snares, or traps.
Life out here in the boondocks will be tough enough, but I can't even fathom the devastation that will occur in the cities. Literately millions of people will most likely perish from such a catastrophe no matter how well they try to be prepared. I believe the best thing city dwellers can do is educate yourselves in outdoor survival skills and practices, and when the time comes, get the heck outa town. Without a doubt, it will be difficult to survive for very long, but your chances will be better than if you decide to dig in in the city.
If anyone has any thoughts on this you would like to share, I'd like to hear them.