For the past few years, Survival Life has shared valuable information with readers on how to prepare for and survive a major grid collapse. The number of power outages continues to grow and people shake their fingers at the government and say, “Shame, shame”—blaming elected or appointed government officials—for not fixing the shaky electrical grid. And those experiencing loss of electrical power are quick to condemn utility companies for not preventing these outages. But this may not be warranted. The federal and state governments have known about these risks for decades, but they are slow to act. Utility companies can’t afford to rip out and replace expensive power lines, substations, and power generation plants. They’d like the consumers of electricity to pay for upgrades, but consumers are strapped for money and also cannot afford to pay for improving the grid.
So we’re taught how to prepare for and survive grid failures. The mainstream media and government bureaucrats told people we need to accept grid failure as a natural occurrence and learn to live with it. But homeowners consider uncertainty and propaganda an enemy to their desire for a comfortable sustainable lifestyle. As a result a massive prepper survivalist movement has developed and grown exponentially. I, and others like me, have written dozens of articles explaining how to survive power outages—how to stay warm in the winter, stay cool in the summer, create light without electricity, and how to generate your own electricity.
I’ve been tracking power outages for several years and studying how others have survived during catastrophic weather events—when power was lost. As an engineer, I read with interest the lessons learned by survivors of these events. And I’ve read how people survived off-the-grid during wars, city siege, and cyberattacks. I’ve learned that power loss may not be as bad as sensational headlines suggest. Here’s why.
We are indeed “all in this together.” Electric power company workers from top management down are just as concerned as the rest of us about grid collapse. They live among us. Their kids go to the same schools as ours. And they want the same safe and secure lifestyle as the rest of us. The difference is they are doing something about it. They’re quietly working—usually in the background—to harden the grid. As I mentioned in the last article on grid attacks, there was no case where electrical power was not available to the public. Alert and fast-acting grid operators are keeping our neighborhoods energized.
When I first started looking at home solar power, I found the local utility company quite helpful in showing me how to do an energy audit, and how to determine how much solar power I needed. And when the installation was done, they were there to inspect the job and approve my going live producing my own solar power. I never had antagonistic dialogue with any of them. They understood what I was doing, and the workers in the field actively supported me—even gave me valuable suggestions.
I spoke with hundreds of survivalists with similar plans for themselves and their families. And taking “baby steps” I created an environment for living off the grid. You can, too.
Then when the lights go out, you can smile and enjoy the moment. Statistically power will be restored within a few hours because the utility company has people out there working on the problem. So you walk around and turn off power switches for the television, computers, entertainment center, heater, air conditioner, refrigerator, and freezer. You isolate all your high current loads, knowing that a large surge will occur when power is restored. It’s better to re-energize everything selectively once the street lights come back on.
Several years ago, my family and I were evacuated from our homes due to a raging wildfire that was sweeping our way. We spent two days 15 miles away in a church meeting hall. We treated the experience like an adventure—like going on a camping trip. We brought our camping gear, water, food, cards, a DVD player for the kids to watch movies, and a portable TV for the grownups to monitor the fire. I’ll never forget my granddaughter, upon hearing that we could return to our homes, saying, “Oh, Grandpa, can’t we stay just one more day?” I knew she was not traumatized by the fire.
Over the years, we organized backup for everything—food, water, fuel, lighting, environmental comfort, and even generator backup. I prided myself that we were steadily getting prepared.
A few years ago, electrical power went out for about nine hours. When everything shut down, my 11-year old granddaughter calmly got out TV trays and set them up on our patio. Then she pulled out board games and puzzles. She took cold bottled water out from our patio refrigerator and handed a bottle to each person. And she handed each person an LED flashlight for when it got dark. Then she asked her grandmother, my wife, to set up the camp stove so we could make hot chocolate and later a dinner for all of us. Without TV and other electronic distractions, people began talking more with each other—actual dialog! The open, jovial atmosphere was refreshing. And throughout the evening my granddaughter remained calm, cool, and collected. I could only smile. She’ll endure future disruptions like this just fine—she’s a survivor now.
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