One day something huge is going to happen, something that alters our lives, all of our lives, for at least a generation and possibly longer. Most people consider that losing all access to electrical power will be the one thing that wipes tens of millions of people from the face of the planet.
Opinions vary as to what will cause that catastrophic failure. An electromagnetic pulse, either natural or manufactured, a massive coronal mass ejection from a solar flare, a terrorist attack on the computer control systems or just a lightening strike causing a cascading failure of an outdated power grid by blowing a transformer or six that blacks out a chunk of the country.
The question is if it is something that is country wide, or even bigger and maybe affecting a whole hemisphere of the planet, will we ever really know what caused it? Will knowing what caused it actually matter at that point? More importantly, are you ready for such an event?
The fact that power failure could happen in an instant, possibly without warning is an alarming thought.
The day could start normally, the alarm goes off, you get up and drag yourself to the bathroom for a shower, everything is just as it should be. You dress and go downstairs to have your first cup of coffee of the day.
The kettle does not boil, you flick the light switch to see if that’s working, it’s not. The fuse box is okay, nothing blown.
Obviously there’s a power outage, but at this point there is no way of knowing how widespread it is.
Your mobile phone has no signal, your land line is most likely one of those on an electric base unit, a cordless. If it is, it won’t work. If your blessed with an old fashioned wired phone you may be able to raise someone at the electricity company, but that depends on the phone system they have.
That could be it, that fast. One minute you are getting ready to face the day, the next you are wondering if you will be able to get a coffee on the way to work.
There’s a distinct possibility that coffee may prove a little elusive. A large CME or EMP has the ability to knock out the electrical systems on your car, you may be okay with an older vehicle but nobody knows for sure because we haven’t experienced it yet.
Even if your vehicle does work the pumps at the petrol station won’t so make sure you have enough fuel to get back from where you are going.
The idea here is not to give suggestions, not to tell you a load of things many of you will already know, it’s to make you think, as it made me think when I was writing it, about just how prepared I really am for such an event.
Normalcy bias dictates that the majority of the population would assume that it is a local outage and that the power will be back on within hours. This is especially true if it is summer, people expect some weather related blackouts in the winter.
How those people will feel a few days, or weeks after is any ones guess. Some will attempt to take from others, some will get stuck in and do what they can to keep themselves and their families going, some will sit there waiting for help to come, and will very likely die before it does.
For those of us that choose to prep as a lifestyle choice there are still improvements that we can make. there is always something we can do to make our life easier should disaster strike. If however, we are fortunate enough that nothing major happens on our watch prepping still makes sense.
- Even if we never use the skills we have learnt in an a crash situation most of them have value in our everyday lives and will have enormous value when taught to the next generation who may not be so lucky in dodging the bullet as we have.
- The food we store, even if not used in a life or death situation, is a good hedge against job loss or income restriction due to illness, not to mention food price inflation.
- The manual equipment we have accumulated will one day be of use even if it is to our descendants and not ourselves.
- The precious metals we have struggled to accumulate may not be used for trade, but they form a nice little inheritance pot for the kids when we are gone.
Prepping really does make sense on so many levels.
I would be too scared to sleep if I knew that I was existing on food brought daily, if I didn’t have seeds and a little bit of shiny metal tucked away. I couldn’t rest if I didn’t have the ability to mend clothes or knit a sweater or blanket. I like the security that preparedness gives me.
If a countrywide or even global disaster befalls our generation I want to know that I have done everything I can to get me and mine through it. By accepting the fact that we are not the blessed generation, that a major catastrophe has as much chance of happening to us as to previous generations or coming generations I feel I am taking charge of my own life, and the lives of my family.
By doing so I am hoping that should such a disaster strike, we will have the opportunity to not just survive, but thrive. Compared to the lifestyle we have now it will be hard work, but state of mind plays a big part in surviving any life threatening and life changing event.
So, if you get up one morning and all of a sudden everything is not as it should be…are you ready?
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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.
Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.