6 Totally Insane Things That Will Happen If Our Power Grid Goes Down

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Top Tier Gear USA


by Joshua Krause

Imagine if you will, what would happen if you pulled an American family from the 19th century, and plopped them in the middle of downtown Los Angeles during rush hour. They’re not given a warning, they’re not given any kind of primer on what they’re about to experience, and the occurrence is completely inexplicable. How long do you suppose they would last before they cried uncle? Would they even survive? The odds probably aren’t so good.

Of course, the reverse is probably also true. If you and your family were wrenched from the comforts of the present and hurled back into a previous era, you might not fare so well either. Your survival odds would probably be a little better since you have hindsight and an understanding of germ theory. However, it would still be a pretty alien world for you. It would be littered with pitfalls that most modern people can’t even imagine. 

6 Totally Insane Things That Will Happen If Our Power Grid Goes Down

And that’s why it’s so important for everyone to prepare for the possibility that one day our grid could go down in a big way, whether it be from a terrorist attack, cyber attack, nuclear war, or solar flare. If our society suffered a widespread power failure that lasted for weeks or months, it would be no different for us than if we were suddenly sent back to the 1800’s. It would be a strange and dangerous world, and for the average person, it would catch them off guard in the following ways:

1. All commerce will cease. The ATMs won’t work, the banks won’t open, and the cash registers won’t…well, register. For a while cash will be king, but if the crisis goes on for more than a few weeks, then people will view it as worthless. We’d be back to a barter economy in short order.

2. Communications will shut down. If you think you can rely on your cell phone to work in a disaster, think again. In a crisis, when everyone instinctively reaches for their phone, that limit is quickly surpassed and the radios on the tower get sluggish, thus causing the fast-busy signal. Mobile analysts estimates that a cell site can handle 150 to 200 calls per second per sector. When a large group are making calls at the same time, the network can’t handle the amount of calls. More importantly, communications with police, firefighters, and ambulance services will cease. Many of the workers in these positions will try to soldier on, and keep doing the best job that they can for as long as they can. However, without ordinary citizens calling them to report crimes and emergencies, they’ll be helplessly watching their communities burn down around them. It won’t be long before they give up, ditch their posts, and return to their families.

3. Without electricity, all forms of fuel that our society relies on will stop flowing. All of our vehicles will be dead in the water, and more importantly, the trucks will stop delivering food. The grocery stores will be stripped bare in hours, and will not be replenished for a long time. Even if you live in an area that is rich in agricultural resources, there may be no food to be had, since those farms rely on fertilizers and farming equipment that must be delivered by trucks.

4. And of course many of those farms will lack water, as will your plumbing. For a couple of days after the power goes out, you’ll still have running water since water towers rely on gravity to feed the water to your home. However, electricity is required to clean that water and pump it into the tower. Once it’s out, that means that you won’t be able to flush your toilet. So not only dehydration be a major threat, but without the ability to remove human waste or wash your hands, every community will face daunting sanitation problems.

5. When the grocery stores are stripped bare, the pharmacies won’t be far behind. Millions of people who rely on life saving medications could die in the weeks and months that follow. But perhaps more shocking is what would happen to the people who aren’t using drugs that are immediately life saving. 13% of Americans are using opioid drugs, which are highly addictive and cause horrendous withdrawal symptoms. Another 13% of Americans are on antidepressants, and likewise, the withdrawal symptoms are pretty problematic. In other words, within a few weeks after the grid collapses, about 25% of your neighbors are going to be in an awful mental state that is not conducive for survival.

6. And finally, one of the most shocking things that people will have to deal with, is the lack of GPS. The GPS satellites will probably keep running, but eventually the devices that read those signals will give up the ghost. These days people are pretty reliant on GPS for directions, and there aren’t as many paper maps lying around. The average person is going to be utterly lost if the grid goes down.

In summary, law and order will break down at every level, and death will be around every corner. It’s one thing to grow up and live in an era that lacks electricity, but to be sent back to such a time on a moments notice would be one of the most challenging things that a person accustomed to modern amenities would ever face.

Further Resources

The Anatomy of a Breakdown

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary

Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse

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Contributed by Ready Nutrition of www.ReadyNutrition.com.

Every day, somewhere around the world, there is a major disaster.  Whether it be natural, man made, or felt on a personal level with family disasters, many people are caught off guard and are ill-equipped to handle the unexpected. Ready Nutrition encourages peace through self-reliance and preparedness in every facet of your life. The website was founded by Tess Pennington, the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster.

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  • Clementine

    This is just another reason why one of my hobbies is learning how people lived 200 years ago, and practicing what I learned. I’m gaining valuable life skills while so much of the population waste their minds spending hours a day on facebook!

    • BW83

      Exactly. The way people lived before modern “conveniences” works as well today as it worked in their time. It just takes a bit longer. We’re not here because our ancestors were failures.

      I find a pleasing enjoyment in connecting with my roots and understanding where I came from as well.

      • Clementine

        Aaahhhhh… your statement is music to my ears! 😉

    • G’ma G

      Good on you! I am “specializing” in ethno–botany–native use of plants.

      • Mysterious Man

        Me too. I have read up on ways to survive out in the forest and plan on going out to the wilderness soon. I also plan to enroll in vocational school and pick up some trade skills in order to do some more preparation.

        • Clementine

          Camping season is nearing and I go into the woods as much as possible, not only is it enjoyable but I have a chance to test my skills.

          • Mysterious Man

            Unfortunately, my parents are busy, and I do not have my driver’s license (although I could theoretically travel without one). I have been reading up on the essentials of survival, and do plan to get some practice once I travel the world.

          • Dr Truth

            Mysterious Man you are way ahead of your time and wise beyond your years… Damn I wish I had independent media and the internet at your age!!!

          • Thank you very much. I try to learn from as many people I can and learn from others around me. I don’t know everything, but that gives me a reason to keep learning.

      • Clementine

        Nice!! Good on you also! 😉

  • Frank

    Although not a comprehensive list or discussion by far, these points are great starters for folks to consider and to either begin to or review developed courses of action to mitigate and work-around such losses of modern conveniences. Simple actions that will put a person far ahead of the average Sheeple in a grid collapse situation.
    Make a plan on how you are going to cope with such a situation.
    Keep CASH on-hand and have goods/commodities or a skill that can be used for barter/trade.
    Before the cell towers die, send Text messages to family and other key persons and establish one or more alternate methods of communicating.
    Be in the habit of refueling your vehicle when the fuel level drops to 1/2 and, if possible, keep extra fuel stored – and cycle it to keep it fresh.
    Water and food stores – along with a pantry stocked with canned and long-term shelf-stable foods for a few weeks, have water stored and a plan for replenishment. Eat frozen and refrigerated foods first or plan to preserve them with canning or dehydration methods.
    If you are dependent on medication for daily quality of life, the pharmacy should be a first stop when the electricity will be off for an indefinite length of time. Have enough cash to pay for what you need. Establish a reasonable on-hand supply of over-the-counter (OTC) medications that you do or may use. Learn about Herbal remedies, too.
    If you are dependent upon GPS and using electronic devices for basic navigation, you are already lost. Develop the ability to find places without electronic aids. Buy an atlas and guides that include paper maps of areas where you typically travel and areas where you may travel if you have to evacuate or “bug out” of your home area.
    The bottom line is to become Self-Reliant. Most of your neighbors will not be prepared and any government resources will be quickly overwhelmed, leaving you on your own. Be ready for that time.

    • Mysterious Man

      Great list, Frank. I’ll make sure to save it and actively read up on it in these coming months.

  • Osamao

    And yet congress has done absolutely nothing to protect the grid. And they wonder why there is so much hate for the establishment lately?……………Maybe because they deserve it. Yeah………Maybe that.

  • SP_88

    Though these six items were not meant to be all inclusive, there is one other thing that should have been on this list. And that is the numerous nuclear power plants and the storage facilities for used fuel rods, and what will happen to them without power to pump the water that keeps them cool.
    Within a week or so, the water that keeps them cool will evaporate and they will begin to overheat. Eventually they will melt down and spread radioactive material over a large area. There will be many places where the radiation levels are too high for anything to survive.
    And for people who are traveling to find a better place to bug out to, this may not be plainly evident just by looking. People might arrive somewhere and not realize that they are in an area where the radiation levels are dangerously high, and if they decide to hang out for a while to search for food and supplies, they could end up being found dead by the next group of people who stop there to search for food and supplies, and on and on until the radiation goes away.
    There are hundreds of nuclear power plants spread out over the whole country. And there are also many, many storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel rods. Some of them may have a way to keep themselves cool without needing power from the grid. Others will not be able to maintain a safe temperature and they will melt down and spread radioactive waste over a large area.
    After a power grid failure, America will be a very toxic place to live. I would suggest making a map of all the nuclear power plants and storage facilities, and marking the ones that will be a danger to us to distinguish them from the ones that won’t. And plan to navigate around the dangerous places.
    Once the grid is down, you won’t be able to make a map or figure out which power plants will be dangerous. It’s better to plan ahead.

  • Jas

    Don’t even show them a compass on a map, their heads explode!

    • Mysterious Man

      Maybe they’ll lay down in the dirt and cry…

  • Rhona_Redtail

    Huh. Well yea solar won’t work because. Oh I dunno. And sails won’t work because the wind is powered by electricity. And people will die of thirst because well solar distillation units made from window glass won’t work because there was a mongoose in the area last week.