Prepping For a Power
Grid Outage

Prepping for a Power Grid OutagePrepping for a Power Grid Outage: What to do if/when the power grid goes down.

Could you survive 10 days without electricity? A month? Six months?

Did you watch the movie "American Blackout"? I did! Was it ever an eye-opener! Yes, it's just a movie (though portrayed as "reality" rather than Hollywood-ized), but we are all aware of times when the power has been out for an extended period of time.

Remember Harvey? Irma? Maria? Katrina? Sandy? The big blackout along the East Coast extending into Canada several years ago? Extreme weather-caused outage in the Midwest (for two weeks!) in 2008.

Without power:

  • Water stops coming out of your faucet and toilets won't have water to flush.
  • Your furnace won't work (even if it's gas).
  • The pumps will stop working at the gas station (better keep that gas tank at least 1/2 full).
  • Traffic lights won't work snarling traffic everywhere (unless it's an EMP, vehicles may not work at all).
  • Your security is compromised. (How are police and medical vehicles supposed to make it through snarled traffic?)
  • ATMs will not work.

Whether the power is out because of a cyber attack, an EMP, or a huge weather event, your way of living will be completely altered. It will be almost totally about survival.

Comfort or chaos - you choose.

  • How much food storage do you have? A pantry full? Six months? A year?
  • How is your water supply? There is nothing more important than water in a blackout - just ask any hurricane survivor.
  • Got plenty of flashlights or other means to light up the dark?
  • If it's winter, do you have a way to keep warm? Or keep cool if it's summer?

Terrorist Attacks, Cyber Attacks, Wars

The Terrorist Attack You Never Heard About

EMP attack

It happened in California several years ago.

An unknown group – well coordinated, well armed, and well informed – launched a major attack on the power grid.

Here’s what happened. It started when one of the attackers infiltrated a “secure” underground room. Once inside, the attacker cut telephone cables. The group wanted to keep the power station from calling for help.

Once the telephone cables were cut, the shooting started...

The attackers then fired more than 100 rounds into the power station, putting 17 transformers out of commission.

Cyber attacks are happening ALL. THE. TIME. The one below is from an article on updated on June 30, 2014, but has been going on since at least 2011 and targets the energy industry in several countries!

Cyber-Espionage Attacks

An ongoing cyber-espionage campaign against a range of targets, mainly in the energy sector, gave attackers the ability to mount sabotage operations against their victims. The attackers, known to Symantec as Dragonfly, managed to compromise a number of strategically important organizations for spying purposes and, if they had used the sabotage capabilities open to them, could have caused damage or disruption to energy supplies in affected countries.

Among the targets of Dragonfly were energy grid operators, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipeline operators, and energy industry industrial equipment providers. The majority of the victims were located in the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Poland.


Solar Flares (CMEs)

Solar Flare

CMEs or solar flares are not uncommon and usually occur during years of high sun-spot activity. Mostly they just glance off the earth or don't come too close nor affect us much. But we don't really know when or if they will be strong enough to cause disruptions in our communications.

It happened in 1859 and took 18 hours to reach earth (it usually takes 3 or 4 days). Back then we had no electrical grid. Then it happened again in 1989. The entire province of Quebec, Ontario went dark in an elapsed time of 90 seconds. The storm lasted for about 26 hours and the blackout came very close to extending into the United States.

Our electrical power grid is very complex, intricately connected, and fragile. A large CME could literally melt the transformer hubs and the damage could take 4 to 10 years to fix because these units are huge, complex to make, difficult to transport—and made in China.

Grid Failure

Grid Failure

A lightning storm, an earthquake, tornado, hurricane or other natural disaster can put the whole neighborhood or an entire city or country in the dark.

Our power grid is made up of just three systems. A significant weather event could cause the "web" of our grid to fail, taking out the electricity of 1/3 of the country. This actually happened in 2003 when 50 million people were left without power.

Our government knows that the power grid is dangerously fragile with few transformers (made in China) for replacements.

What happens when the grid goes down?

There is a difference between a power outage and a grid down situation.

A power outage is usually for a short time — several hours or maybe a day. It's usually local — a neighborhood, part of a city, or maybe even a whole city.

If the grid goes down, it may affect the entire country. Preparing for a long-term grid down scenario is the most difficult challenge we can undertake. It could, if it was an EMP, take us back to almost the stone age, or at least back to the time before electricity.

4 Critical Areas of Preparation for a Power Outage

1. Having Enough Food and Keeping It Safe to Eat

If the power is out for less than two hours, the food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to consume.

If the power is out for longer than two hours, follow these guidelines:

  • For the Freezer section: A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
  • For the Refrigerated section: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. Throw away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Freezer foods may be refrozen if ice crystals are present. Exceptions include ice cream, pizza, and casseroles. If the frozen food has completely thawed but is cold, it must be cooked within a 24-hour period; or foods may be refrozen within 24 hours after thawing. However, quality may be diminished. If in doubt about when the food actually thawed in the freezer, discard the thawed food.

Dry ice may be used to keep frozen foods frozen and cold foods cold. Be careful not to handle dry ice with bare hands or breathe the vapors.

It's always a good idea to have some canned or freeze dried food on hand during a power outage, in case you have spoiled food or to keep from opening the refrigerator or freezer too often.

2. Emergency Heating — Staying Warm

Mr. Heater

It's only logical to consider emergency heating in your survival plan as many disasters involve weather that may knock out your electricity and that means, your furnace.

It could be a real challenge to stay warm when the furnace hasn't worked for days due to winter storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, etc.

In planning for emergencies for your family, remember to put some of the items suggested . . .

Continue Reading

3. Emergency Lights


Have you ever spent a night in your city when ALL the lights were out? It's kind of eerie, isn't it?

One night in the dark can be kind of fun - an adventure, but several nights, or longer, can be very difficult unless you are prepared.

There are many types of lighting that can be used when the power is out.

Continue Reading

4. Cooking Without Electricity

Sun Oven Solar Cooker

How have you prepared for survival cooking so that your family will have a hot meal if there is no electricity?

During World War II, the army discovered that men fighting in the bitter cold would do well if they had one hot meal a day. Without it, they would die from living out in the cold.

There are many ways you can provide your family with hot meals . . .

Continue Reading

Related Content:

Share Your Comments:

Have your say about what you just read! Leave a comment in the box below.

Top of Page ^