Although we think of the internet as the most indispensable part of our interconnected society today, the fact is that the electrical grid is far more important. After all, the internet needs electricity. However, without electricity we would be back in the 19th century without lights, but only worse. The people in the 19th century knew how to live without electricity: we don’t.
The nation’s electrical power grid relies on the internet for its command and control. The good news is that this interconnectivity allows us to function with less infrastructure since it can be coordinated so well. The bad news is that the extreme amount of interconnectivity leaves the power grid increasingly vulnerable to attack by hackers.
Just about every prepper or survivalist can tell you how an EMP attack with a nuclear bomb would take out the power grid without the blast killing anyone. The “Electro-Magnetic Pulse” would cripple the country by leaving us without electricity and kill many more people than a nuclear blast would.
However, if hackers could accomplish the same thing without a nuclear bomb, they would have far more power. The greatest threat to our country, in terms of the largest amount of deaths, is certainly from an attack that takes out our power grid.
There have been many times in history when the “unthinkable” happened, but how could we possibly prepare for the power grid going down? The answer is counterintuitive. The answer is not stockpiling fuel for diesel generators to be able to make your own electricity. Rather, the answer is learning how to without electricity, for the most part, for an extended period of time.
There is a saying among backpackers that the more knowledge and skills you have in your head, the less gear you have to carry on your back. This is the best advice for preparing for a major power outage. Instead of trying to figure out how you will replace your source of electricity, it is much better to figure out how you can get by without it.
If you have an emergency power generator, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to store enough fuel for more than a few days, unless you have a lot of property and can store some 50 gallon drums of gas. If the power grid goes down, then gas stations won’t be able to pump gas, so you won’t be able to replace what you use.
The best way to prepare for an extended power outage is by practicing living without electricity. Although camping is perhaps the best way to practice, you can also simulate a power grid failure by turning off the electricity in your house for a weekend.
Without electricity, you’ll soon learn how much light you need for the nights, how you’ll cook without an electric stove (or a gas stove with electric ignition) and how to stay warm if it’s winter without your furnace.
You’ll be surprised how quickly you can come up with great solutions and how little money you’ll need to spend if you can undertake this exercise when the pressure isn’t on. However, if you wait until the power goes out for real, then it will be too late.
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