Surviving a Grid-down Disaster – Part 1

Surviving a Grid-down Disaster – Part 1A grid-down disaster can happen at any time. It is probably the most serious threat to our existence right now. When the power goes out, people will panic, and things will never be the same. Can you survive a grid-down disaster?

It sure does become easy to take this life we’re each living for granted. This is a  miraculous age we are existing in. This age in which heat, air conditioning and lighting all come on at our beckoning calls. A time in which food is readily available at the nearest supermarket and in which we can make fairly quick trips to nearly anywhere we’d like in four-wheeled death traps. (Though the wheel really isn’t a fraction as amazing in function as the legs of a human being…).

It is, in fact, so easy to take all that for granted that we rarely ever stop to pontificate on how we would react if it were to ever stop.

Believe it or not, and especially so in this technologically advanced world, we are pretty damn vulnerable to many, many sorts of threats.

One of our chief vulnerabilities is predicated on our dependency (or, rather, addiction) to the power grids. They run everything that we use in this modern world. Period. Here in the United States, there is an Eastern grid, a Western grid, and a Texas grid.

It is absolutely appalling how incredibly vulnerable to as well as supremely reliable we are on those grids. Basically, if those bad boys go down, the dice have been cast. Believe it or not, a grid-down disaster is not a far-fatched sceario.

We totally take these systems for granted. People are not aware that a grid-down disaster is a matter of when not if.

What Could Potentially Cause A Grid-down disaster?

There are so many things that could go wrong, that we will only have the room to cover a few here in this article. They are all worth looking into and thinking about. These threats will cause a grid-down disaster at some point in the near future.

The foremost obvious threat is terrorism. We live a modern age where terrorism can come in many forms, such as cyber attacks on the software that runs the entire power grid.

The potential of damage done by solar storms is also higher than one may imagine. NASA keeps “crying” about it constantly, but nobody seems to be listening.

There is also the impending peril of an EMP attack. Remember those high-altitude rockets the North Koreans were testing last year. I wonder what purpose they have for those…

People play an important role

Another, very interesting, potential of grid failure is staffing. Say there is an economic collapse, and shit finally hits that metaphorical fan. If things begin to go haywire (and chances are, they will quickly), then where do you think the employees (as well as every other “worker” upon which we rely nearly all the time) of power plants are going to be?

When the looting and widespread rioting and general lawlessness is occurring, do you really believe power plant operators are going to be clocking in, business as usual? Yeah right, get real. They are going to want to be at home to protect their families. It is the law that if a nuclear power plant doesn’t have a specific level of staffing, they must shut down.

If any of the above events happens, a grid-down disaster will shortly occur. You can immediately expect the lights to go out. There will be no power being produced.

Once a grid-down disaster occurs, bringing the grid back up can prove to be damn near impossible. What has to occur when a grid goes down is what is known as a dark start: and this is an extremely hard thing to perform.

Recommended reading: How To Deal with Panic When SHTF

There is a complexity to the power grid system that has increased insanely year by year since its semi-recent beginnings. Not to mention, the level of interconnectivity and the level of dependency is only greater than it was, say, in the 1970s (blackouts were a major thing back then, and their effects were devastating and wide-ranged).

We rely on the grid for so much now, that life as we know it simply wouldn’t be happening if it were to go down. I believe that a grid-down disaster is long overdue.

To make things worse, not only are dependent upon the power grids for our cell phones, cars and heating, and lighting, but for pumping water (which makes up about 98% of civic water supplies).

The old method of gravity fed water systems have become nearly extinct, a thing of the past. Most water is now pumped electrically through filters.

A grid-down disaster is in effect, New Problems Quickly Arise

The grid goes down- power goes out- two to three days, no water.

This goes a smidgeon deeper than “oh no, no drinking water” (thought that is obviously crucial). First, let’s think about sewage. Ah, yes, another one of those “taken for granted” things. Problems with sewage are likely to occur practically immediately.

As unfortunate as this is, our society (for the most part) is not at all used to the cleanliness standards of third world countries.

At least in the third world, people are taught the necessary skill needed in order not to ruin what little water supply they have: skills such as knowing not to foul the water supply upstream. We exist in a highly urbanized society with people who simply don’t have a clue.

Related article: How to Handle Every Day Tasks When There Is No Electricity

There will be a public health nightmare if we have a grid-down disaster. Because people (out of pure ignorance) will wind up fouling the creeks and rivers, and eventually fouling all the water supply that others could be drawing from.

A crucial thing is to not only have a way to transport water from open sources but also to have the proper ways to filter water. There are specific skills that every family should have, and there are equally important tools that go along with those skills.

Skills such as water filters or, at the very least, a good supply of plain, hypochlorite bleach. Some way of transporting water (even if gasoline gets short).

Without these bare, basic skills, you will quickly become a domestic refugee of very short order. If the Twentieth century taught us anything, it’s that the life of a refugee is nasty, brutish, and short…

So, since we take most everything for granted this day in age, let’s break this down: power grid goes down; water depleted in two/three days; sewage gone as well; no natural gas; no readily available food; etc.

The aftermath of a grid-down disaster

There will be a massive cascade of events that most people simply don’t recognize due to their taking most things for granted. We always expect tomorrow to be just like yesterday. Unfortunately, that line of thinking can easily blow up in your face.

Our potential for risk grows and grows more and more. This is all due to our technologically advanced and technologically dependent society. We have totally taken this grid system for granted and have not put forth much thought into the consequences of that system failing us.

Another issue that is soon to rise will be that homes that use natural gas for heating/cooling, cooking, etc. will suffer near immediate loss.

Natural gas is electrically pumped. Very few people yet have natural gas fed into their homes that is sent there by natural pressure. Most homes depend on specific pressure stations that electrically pump it.

If the grid is offline for an extended period of time, the pressure on the natural gas line will drop. By the time you get out to tap on someone’s domestic residency, they will be out of natural gas relatively quickly. This may mean that you want to stock up on propane as well (given your precise situation).

The food is gone

A major factor to take into consideration in a grid-down disaster how quickly logistics systems will begin to fail. This will affect the next most important thing to our bodies next to water: food. Readily available food could be gone from your area within two weeks or less (more than likely less…).

Most modern grocery stores are not stocked very well at all. They may look big, and warehouse-like, but they are not. In these supermarkets of today, what you see on the shelf is, for the most part, all that the store has. And that is not a very deep supply whatsoever.

Obviously, our modern, “just-in-time” inventory control system is a miracle in technological advances. However, throw a big grid failure into the picture, and you begin to have major problems with the stocking of shelves. Once telecommunications are offline, these supermarkets auto-reordering system are going to fall to pieces. Orders will no longer be coming in, and the stock will deplete at a very fast pace.

Suggested article: Best Foods To Hoard When The Power Is Out

If any orders will be delivered at all, they would certainly be spasmodic at best. And if it is bad enough that the nuclear power plant employees are not going into work, do you really believe there will be 18-wheelers rolling up the freeway, business as usual? Get real.

There is such a huge cascade of certain events that are practically unavoidable when a nation such as ours sees a major disruption in the power supply.

It is quite ironic that the world we exist in is so hyper-optimized and such a miracle, while simultaneously being so fragile and weak. As individuals and preppers and family members, we really need to recognize this fragility. We need to be at least minimally prepared just for humanity’s sake. Understanding how to care for water supplies is a top priority as well as storing foods and prep supplies properly.

Do not trust FEMA or the likes.

A Warning: To a certain extent, you will want to heed this advice.

This may sound like a dangerous charge, and if it is, maybe only to the sheep. As many have pointed out, including factual history, our government’s lack of ability to appropriately respond in the event of a disaster is detrimental to human lives. FEMA has time and time again radically failed to handle the response to even localized disasters. God only knows how they may respond to a nationwide commotion.

The best thing you can force into your mindset is that you are on your own. This does not mean that you banish all people after a collapse, and hole up in your concrete bunker and exile from the planet.

That is death… It simply means preparing yourself and your family with the appropriate knowledge and equipment needed to survive certain scenarios, while maintaining a positive view of humanity as a whole. Step number one is recognizing that it is all on you to prepare you and yours.

Related reading: Can I Depend On The Government During Disasters?

Automatically assume that the government will not be there to help you. They will not be there to hold your hand while you attempt to find fresh water for your children. The goverment will not assist you in getting food into your families mouth and they will not come running to your SOS call.

They would surely love you to think that, but the truth is that when a terrible event strikes the entire nation (or a rather large portion of it), it is on you, the individual to ensure your family’s safety, not the government.

Also, take into consideration that attempting to rush around for groceries is not very productive for anyone after the grid-down disaster has happened. Each person that did their part in stockpiling is one less that will be bombarding the grocery stores at the eleventh hour. This will help to keep down the problems that arise from too many folks rushing around for survival necessities.

Be a Part of the Solution:

If you have obtained and kept up the mind of a well-prepared person who decided early on to look out for the interest of his family and neighbors. Someone that has stocked up on supplies accordingly, armed and prepared yourself, has worked out communications equipment, first aid, and the whole shebang, you are going to be a part of the solution (not the problem). And that is a major deal in not only helping your family and others in need but for humanity as a whole.

Part Two will discuss further causes and how to dive into the prepping world without losing your mind in the process.

This article has been written by Jonathan Blaylock for Prepper’s Will.

Useful resources to check out:

Learn how to Safeguard your Home against Looters

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

A Green Beret’s guide to combat and shooting

Survival Lessons from the 1880s Everyone Should Know

3 thoughts on “Surviving a Grid-down Disaster – Part 1”

  1. Jonathan,
    I think you’re quite right that a grid collapse would cause just about every other part of our modern ‘just-in-time’ system to collapse too. The fuel industry also relies on electric power too (pumping, refining, distribution, etc.). Imagine that fuel production stops too. No trucks carrying anything. No new fuel for your generator.

    Anything big enough to cause a large scale grid collapse would not be quickly fixed. If the system goes down for long enough (a few months?) it may not come back quickly. Stored water and food will only last so long. The challenge would then be finding/making renewable sources of resupply.

    Renewable food becomes a “long game.” There would not be a quick fix. Crops take a full season to mature.

    A large-scale grid collapse would mean a life of manual labor and very local in scope. I put a lot of thought into what such a world would be like as I wrote my grid-down fiction series. Being able to adapt to the new conditions would be the key to surviving. Waiting for the old system to come back would not last long.

    take care,
    — Mic

  2. In a true grid down situation, who is going to have any money anyway? So many transactions are by Debt Card and Credit Card today. The stores won’t be able to process those payments. Are stores going to take checks if they have no way to tell when or if the banks will ever open? So desperate people will resort to looting. Dangerous times because Government, Military and police forces will lack resources and the man power to be effective. Certainly, within a couple of weeks those still living will become well acquainted with death, starvation, desperation, fear, and lawlessness.

  3. Well done article Jonathan – Inevitably this will happen in my opinion, which is why I’m a huge fan of Earthship houses. They aren’t the perfect solution (nothing is) because the solar systems wouldn’t work, but at least they have cisterns that catch water from the roof, and use the shower water for flushing toilets, and they treat their own sewage. I’m writing an ongoing comic series about this, which is how I got into the topic and found Earthship houses. It would be nice if most people could transition off the grid so that we aren’t SO fucked when this eventually does happen. The internet has basically been “on” for 30 years. But if it was off for even a week, our economy would nosedive.


Leave a Comment

book cover e1586100880799

Subscribe To Our Newsletter and Get your FREE BOOK!

Join our ranks to receive the latest news, offers and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!