Alternative Energy

Power Grid Failure: Will You Survive?



power grid, power grid failure, power failure, off the grid, EMP

One of the most common survival problems we all potentially face is a power grid failure. In just about any disaster, we can count on the power going out, at least on a local basis. For that matter, it doesn't even take a disaster; a sizeable storm can take down the power grid and leave people without power.

One of the most serious disasters we face today is an EMP attack. Should an enemy decide to attack us via an EMP, most of our country's power grid would go down. The same thing could happen from a carefully planned and executed terrorist attack. Should either of these happen, government estimates say that it would take years to repair the damage to the power grid and other infrastructure, and that about 90 percent of the population would die in the first year.


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We depend upon the electrical power grid for so much that most of our modern society would come to a grinding halt without it. Companies couldn't sell their products without electricity to run their computers. Manufacturers couldn't make products to sell without electricity to run the assembly lines. Trucks couldn't deliver those products without electricity to run the fuel pumps and fill their rigs. For that matter, in the case of an EMP, the rigs probably wouldn't run anyway.

While the country came to grips with the power grid failure and loss of electricity, you and I would have to figure out how to take care of our families without electrical power.

We use electrical power for many things on a day-to-day basis. None of those things would work in a power grid failure. To start with, we'd lose heating and cooling for our homes. We'd also lose refrigeration to keep our food from spoiling. At the same time, all of the electronic devices that help us get the news, do our work and entertain us would stop working as well.

Preparing for a Grid-Down Situation

If there is any one disaster situation for which we should be preparing, it's the power grid going down. Of all possible disasters, this is the one that could truly end life as we know it. I'm not saying that we would all die (although many who are unprepared would), but that life as we know it would end. We'd have to come up with a new plan for survival.

The most important thing we need to do in preparing for a grid-down situation is to stockpile the necessities of life. This means food and water, as they would no longer be available to us. It also means fuel, medical supplies, candles, and any of 100 different things that we need to survive. One of the most important things to stockpile would be heirloom seeds, so that we could grow food to eat, once food stopped showing up on the grocery store shelves.

In addition to stockpiling, we need alternative ways of doing the things which we depend on the power grid for. That especially means heating our homes, providing light at night, cooking food, preserving food and getting clean water to drink. None of those essential things will be available to us in a grid-down situation.

In most cases, we will be forced to go back to the ways our ancestors did things before the power grid. We'd have to heat our homes with a fire, carry water from the creek, use candles for light and forget about refrigeration to keep our food fresh. Refrigeration would mean digging a root cellar in the backyard.

When the Power Grid Fails, Make Your Own Electricity

Another thing to consider in your preparations for surviving a grid-down situation is to develop the means to make your own electricity. This usually means either solar power or wind power. Creating enough electrical generation capability to run your home would be very expensive, but you could create enough to run a few small devices fairly easily.

Of course, that's assuming that the electrical grid didn't g down from an EMP. The same EMP attack that takes down the grid will also destroy all of our solid-state electronics. You will no longer be able to use your computer or cell phone, even if you do have electricity. The only electronics that will survive, will be those that are protected by a Faraday Cage.

What to do when the Lights Go Out

What to do when the lights go out | Power Grid Failure: Will You Survive?

Power outages aren't all that uncommon, so it may be difficult to tell the difference between a short-term outage and one that is going to be out for months or years. So, the first thing to do when the power goes out is to gather information, so that you can determine what happened and have an idea if the power will be back on soon.

Assuming that the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time, you'll need to put your survival plans into effect. Start by gathering all the last-minute supplies you can, before the looters hit the stores. Even if you have a healthy stockpile of food in your home, it won't hurt to gather up a bit more while money is still being accepted.

Upon returning from the store, it will be time to change over to a power-free lifestyle. You'll need to start heating your home with a wood fire. Any food that you have in the refrigerator and freezer will either need to be eaten or preserved by other means immediately. The fridge will only keep that food fresh for about two days, without electricity. Dehydrating your meat in the sun will be much better than losing it to spoilage.

Cooking can be done over a fire as well. Lighting will mean using candles or oil-burning lamps, once your battery supply runs out. You'd be better off starting out with the candles and lamps from the start, and leaving your flashlights for when you really need them.

Gathering and purifying water will become one of your most important daily tasks, as you will need enough water for your family to drink, to wash with and to keep your vegetable garden growing. The only water which will have to be purified will be the water you drink and the water you wash your dishes with. Everything else can be done with water that hasn't been purified.

You will need to get seeds in the ground as soon as possible, after the power goes out. No matter how big a food stockpile you have, it will eventually run out. Growing your own food will be an important part of keeping your family eating.

Whatever you do in such a time, don't let others know that you are better off than they are. People will be literally starving to death, so you don't want them to know that you have food. If they find out, there's a good chance that they will gather together to attack your home. That's something that you can't afford.

Want to know more? Check out these related articles:

Power Grid Attack: Not Just Possible, But Likely

Why Is Our Power Grid Failing?

What Can Be Done to Protect the Power Grid?

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  1. Keith

    February 6, 2015 at 9:28 AM

    These are good points to start with. I would add hygiene to the list. Learn natural antibiotics as, antibiotics are one prep item with a short shelf life. Hand soap and keeping clean will be essential. We have a solar hot water heater (plywood box, 100 ft hose, covered by plexiglass) attached to a rain barrel for showering. Tea light candles and a clay pot make great (and cheap) radiator heaters. Look into solar cookers for when you don’t want smoke from a fire giving away location. You can make a solar oven from your vehicle (since it may otherwise be useless from an EMP). A cheap one can be made from aluminum foil and a pizza box. Learn to can. Buy tattler lids (reusable) for canning because, you’ll eventually run out of canning lids otherwise. But, above all: if you have kids prep for 18th century living and sacrifice your comforts and generator operated things. Your kids will be living in this longer than the adults. Start them off right, raise them with an improv mindset and all things natural that can be produced by their hands. Your preps will run out eventually. They will need to know how to renew things from nature. Lastly, if you’re buying all these ebooks, make sure you print copies. You can only hold so much info in your head. Don’t try to memorize everything. It gets overwhelming and effects psyche. Stockpile how to manuals for everything and make sure it’s hard copy. Unless you’re putting your tablet/phone/computer with all your downloads in the microwave 24hrs a day, all those downloads and ebooks will be useless.

  2. tom joy

    February 6, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    I used to enjoy reading the articles on this website and others. But lately all these websites only concern is to sell someone else writing a book based on his/her personal opinions.

    I can remember my grandmother buying numerous monthly magazines laying all over the house. Now the websites are selling ELECTRONIC MAGAZINES.

    • Spence

      February 6, 2015 at 2:53 PM

      AMEN TOM JOY!!! Geez everyone of them just about is that way! And when ever you do open one its a 10 minute rambling just trying to sell you something.. I think this one is gonna have to go!

      • Spence

        February 6, 2015 at 2:54 PM

        Unless it changes its format in some way!

  3. Lisa Davis

    February 6, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    I really liked this article. I felt it is one of the most possible events we could face in the near future. It was very informative and more importantly ” motivating ” ! Thank you 🙂

  4. charles

    February 6, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    Brillian article,many as you suspect will be unprepared, even the water well pump’s go down without power, so TY for all the thoughts and encouragement…”C”

    • David

      February 6, 2015 at 11:37 AM

      good ideal is to check with people in your area, people who drill wells, and find out how close to the surface is your local water table. then buy a hand pump plus about and extra 30 to 50′ of pipe. this should ensure that you can at least have drinking water. plus have some large containers to store the h20 in. good exercise also.

  5. sharon

    February 6, 2015 at 12:01 PM

    always a good idea to have some over-sized clothes so you look like you’re starving like everyone else is.

  6. Robert Brenner

    February 6, 2015 at 5:53 PM

    Thanks Dave. This is why I’m working hard to complete Power Out: How to Prepare for and Survive a Grid Collapse. I think it’s only a matter of time until our national grid shudders and collapses. Yet we can ALL survive if we listen up, learn, and apply those gems of survival. This is why I’m currently writing “How to Relax and Enjoy the Next Power Outage.” There’s a lot of comfort being ready and being survival savvy.

    • Bridget

      February 6, 2015 at 8:52 PM

      I’m new to all this. so much to do.any tips on how to start.what would be my first step?maybe bottling water in clean container,i do agree the economy will crash. any tips thank you Joe i love your info.

  7. Bridget

    February 6, 2015 at 10:06 PM

    Hello,no one is taking me serious I’m frustrated not even husband who is far from lazy. I very concern add i should be. I love your info but know one to share with. Help

  8. di

    February 7, 2015 at 12:36 AM

    “The government estimates 90% of people would die in the first year of power down” reference requested please….this is a huge statement to make with no reference point. Governments rarely make claims that would cause alarm…. Where does it give this statement please? In which document….? For an article to be credible any claims to facts must be supportable…

  9. Robert Brenner

    May 7, 2015 at 5:00 AM

    Until stationary battery technology is fully implemented, our power grid is at risk from EMP. As I mentioned in my articles on EMP, there are a number of things that you can do to protect your electrical and electronic devices. Prudent preparation and then isolation and shielding should get you through an EMP event. Many vehicles won’t be affected but your solar panels could be at risk. Nice article, Dave.

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