Between the age of the existing power grid, the increased demands upon it and the number of coal-fired power plants that are scheduled to be shut down due to new EPA regulations, we can expect this to get worse.
Not only do we have the risk of the grid itself failing, but test attacks have already been made against it, with the idea of shutting America down.
One of the problems which we face is that when we have a temporary power outage, we don’t know if it is truly temporary or not. It could be a momentary glitch in the system or the first sign of the grid going down for a prolonged period of time.
Prudence dictates that we must treat each and every power outage as if it is a major problem, at least until the time that we have some indication that it isn’t. While there may be a little bit of the boy crying “Wolf!” in this, if we don’t react as if it is a problem, then when a true problem comes, we won’t be ready for it. Our lack of attention to the problem will make it that much worse for us.
So, what should you do if the grid goes down? These items will help protect your family, and your stuff from any problems caused by that loss of power.
- The first thing you should do is disconnect any electronic equipment from your home’s power. Sound systems, televisions, computers and other equipment all contain computer chips these days. If there is a power surge when the power comes back on, it could damage those electronics.
- Put everything in the refrigerator that should be in it and close the door. Pass the word to your family to only open the refrigerator and freezer doors briefly and when they already know what they are going to get. Closed, a refrigerator will keep food cold for quite a while.
- Start filling water containers. If you don’t already have several hundred gallons of water stored as part of your emergency supplies, get all the water you can. The pumps used by the city’s water department rely on electricity too. If they go out, there won’t be any water.
- Dig out the candles and oil lamps before it gets dark. Make sure you’re ready with alternative lighting before you need it. It can be really hard to find those candles and matches once it gets dark.
- Close the doors and windows so that you can keep the heat inside your home. It will cool off at night and you want to be sure that your home will be comfortable. A closed home will hold in the heat for quite a while.
While all of this is going on, one designate family member should be checking to see how extensive the power outage is. Start by checking your own neighborhood, to see if it is something that only covers a few blocks. If the power is out for a few blocks, start checking on the radio for emergency bulletins. If you can, call friends who are farther away, to see if their power is out as well.
Based upon the information that this person finds you can decide if you need to continue your preparations for being without power or you can stop. A localized problem will most likely be solved within a few hours, but a wider ranging one may continue for days. If it is wide ranging, you’ll want to put your entire survival plan into effect.