The National Preparedness Community
The power grid consists of a set of large power plants connected together by wires. It works well as a power-distribution system because it allows for energy sharing. Interestingly, there is no storage in the system. As power is demanded by consumers, that same amount is generated and distributed. This works great until there is a failure in part of the system that other parts can’t fill in. Then they fail and a domino effect leaves a large area in the dark.
Follow these tips to be prepared for a blackout:
- Practice energy conservation measures to reduce electricity usage, acquire flashlights and batteries, solar lights, candles or oil lamps for lighting & alternative cooking devices (like a Sun Oven®.)
- Always have a large cooler and a supply of ice on hand. Fill plastic containers with water and store them frozen. Leave space for expansion. These can be used to keep food chilled and then as drinking water when they have thawed.
- Store additional containers of water for long term use. One gallon per person per day is recommended.
- Create a general emergency preparedness kit with a first-aid kit, personal hygiene items, flashlights, copies of important documents, emergency contact telephone numbers, etc. Include extra medicines.
- Keep your car gas tank at least half full at all times.
- Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly enter from your garage, because the electric door opener will not work.
- Keep any generator activity well ventilated to avoid CO poisoning.
Billie Nicholson, editor
- “Blackouts.” Ready America.http://www.ready.gov/america/beinformed/blackout.html
- Brain, Marshall. “How Power Grids Work.” HowStuffWorks.http://www.howstuffworks.com/power.htm
- “Power Outage Checklist.” American Red Cross.http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.86f46a12f382290517a8f210b80f78a0/?vgnextoid=4b0d6b9128c2b110VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default
This article was contributed by Robert Nicholson of Rusty Buggy Enterprises, Inc.
We are slaves of electricity.
It might appear that Edison wrangled electricity into submission —giving us usable power. Almost every facet of contemporary society is dictated by the properties of electricity. Ever since the first commercial light bulb and the telegraph, electricity has ruled the lives of men.
The reach of electric-powered devices and machines is unbelievably vast. With modern robots, there is almost nothing that electricity can’t do. The amount of work performed by electricity is beyond belief. From growing crops to preparing food, from making computer chips to manufacturing cars, electrical powered machines do much work that would otherwise have to be done by humans.
What is an Electromagnetic Pulse?
Just for a moment, suspend your scientific beliefs and imagine that electricity suddenly ceased to exist. Waking up, your alarm wouldn’t work. Unless you have a gas grill, you can say goodbye to your morning toast. Your car wouldn’t start. Trains and busses would useless. Automatic doors at the entrance to your office, school, or favorite coffee shop would remain shut. Prison cells would spring open. Elevators would not operate. Your PC, your wireless router, your digital camera, your smartphone — all computers everywhere would be dead. No telephone, radio or TV. Forget cable. No batteries either. The list is endless.
Enter the “Electromagnetic Pulse” or EMP. An EMP event can be either natural, such as solar flares and lightning strikes, or an EMP can be man-made by the detonation of a bomb. Whatever the cause of an EMP, it can disrupt electrical communications and electric power. Also all people wearing pacemakers will be affected. Modern vehicles, full of electronics, will stop working. In the past, EMP events have ruined telegraph equipment, disrupted radio signals, and taken down the internet for short periods of time. Military EMP events can be used to disable enemy electronics causing power outages, water systems to fail, and communications to fail. An EMP may well be the method employed as a future attack on America.
How would you prepare to overcome an EMP?
There is a simple way to do this. Buy or build a Faraday box, named after Michael Faraday, who discovered electromagnetic induction in 1831. The Faraday box is a metal enclosure, like a galvanized trash can, with a tight fitting lid. This shields the contents from an EMP event. You need to line the interior of the enclosure with insulation, such as styrofoam, cardboard, or the like. You can also wrap each piece inside your Faraday box with bubble wrap. During an EMP the electromagnetic waves are absorbed by the metal case and not transmitted to the interior because of the installed insulation.
We have a surplus metal cabinet with tight fitting doors. We store a set of two-way radios, with batteries, a few solar battery chargers, a world band radio, a solar radio, radiation monitor and the like in our Faraday box. If I had a motor scooter, or old car, I would also store an extra condenser for the motor in my Faraday box. We also have outfitted a 15 gallon galvanized feed can as a Faraday box. You can get one at the local hardware store for around $20.00. Follow the same procedure, wrapping and insulating each piece of electronics you store. Be ready.