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How to Fillet Fish – Freshwater
Three Outages in Three Metropolitan Areas Within 24 Hours: Signs of Things to Come?
New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles all suffered major disruptions as key parts of the power grid failed within the span of about 24 hours. The outages in New York and San Francisco almost occurred simultaneously, and they caused the normally organized and bustling cities to devolve into utter chaos. While the disruption to service was relatively-brief, it took days for people to deal with the aftermath and get back on track.
Conspiracy or Coincidence?
Many people have brought up the idea that this outage was part of a larger conspiracy, hacking or attack on our grid. Others have maintained that it was a freak coincidence, and anyone who reads more into the events that transpired are little more than conspiracy theorists. No matter what the cause really was, or what you may think it was, doesn’t change the fact that this illustrates how vulnerable we continue to be.
Over the past few years, we’ve highlighted how our grid is in serious need of an overhaul. This not only applies to outdated or worn hardware and equipment that simply fails, but we still lack suitable security. We’ve been the target of innumerable hacking attempts, and our hardware is still vulnerable to the effects of an EMP or direct attack on key infrastructure components. Consequently, whether or not the failures that struck these cities was the product of an attack, hacking, conspiracy or random and coincidental outages isn’t as important as the fact that they are preventable if we were to invest in making appropriate upgrades.
Upgrades are not Important
However, it is also clear that the priorities of our government, the greed of the companies that refuse to invest in upgrades, and a general apathy on the part of the public still remain core reasons as to why we are so vulnerable. When outages like this happen, it serves as a stark reminder that our modern life hangs by a tenuous thread and susceptible to disruptions without warning. However, once service is restored, people quickly forget, move on, and it’s not until the next problem comes along that we start thinking about it again.
These outages were particularly disruptive because they impacted so many different key things. Traffic lights went down and created gridlock on city streets. Water treatment facilities went offline. People were stuck in elevators. Subway systems went down and people were trapped on trains for hours. Business computer networks went down, and logistics went out the window. It was a mess, and it impacted millions of people directly and indirectly.
During the outages, emergency responders and law enforcement personnel were stretched to the limit. People had to fend for themselves for hours before help arrived. These are just a few examples of how the impact is the same, no matter the cause.
This brings us to the point of mentioning this again: We need to be prepared for the eventuality that we’ll get caught up in the mayhem and confusion following a similar problem sooner or later. It’s also important to prepare for the possibility that it can take days or weeks before the impact of such disruptions subside. Spend more time focusing on the outcome of such possibilities as opposed to the causes, because it’s the outcome that will dictate how well we can weather the situation as best as possible.
One thing is for certain, these incidents will become more commonplace in the not-too-distant future. How prepared are you for when that time comes?