Protecting yourself from Attacks on our Power Grid: Urban Centers will become Deathtraps

For years we have been talking about how vulnerable our nation’s power grid is to attack. Whether it is from natural causes like extreme natural disasters or geo-magnetic events, or from man-made attacks like low-level terror attacks or an electro-magnetic pulse (EMPs) attack, one thing is for certain, it’s only a matter of time before something cripples our nation’s electric grid.

Our nation’s power grid is a hodgepodge of antiquated equipment and technology, with a large portion of it still relying on 1960’s and 70’s technology. With administration after administration failing to do anything to properly secure our country’s power systems, our grid has become a patchwork of interconnected power generation plants, transmission facilities, distribution facilities and over 400,000 miles of electric transmission lines, some of which actually dates back to the 1880s.

While a complete shutdown of this nation’s power grid may sound unbelievable, the fact is, the likelihood of it happening is actually pretty high. In fact, during a congressional hearing on national security last year, Congresswomen Yvette Clark (D-NY) testified that “The likelihood of a severe geo-magnetic event capable of crippling our electric grid is 100%.”

Last year while speaking at the annual International Electric Infrastructure Security Summit, Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) said, “We are only one act of madness away from a social cataclysm unlike anything our country has ever known.” If this country is ever hit by an EMP attack, or even something that we know will eventually happen like a severe space weather catastrophe, this nation’s water supplies, delivery distributions systems, financial services, power grids, and vital services will come to a complete standstill.

How likely is an EMP attack or Severe Space Weather Catastrophe

X-Class Solar Flare

The likelihood of us being attacked by an EMP really depends on who you talk to. While a number of nations possess the technology that’s required to launch an attack, how likely they are to do it is really up for debate. What isn’t up for debate is the likelihood of being hit by a catastrophic coronal mass ejection (CME) or solar flare; it’s happened in the past and will happen again.

Back in 1859, just as the world started to rely on electricity, the earth was hit by a massive solar flare. What came to be known as the Carrington event, gave us a taste of what could happen should we be hit by one of these massive solar flares today.

The CME that hit back in 1859 was so powerful that it could actually be observed with the naked-eye.  It caused widespread damage to telegraph systems throughout the world. Telegraph operators received shocks, telegraph papers burst into flames, and aurora-induced electric currents sent power through telegraph machines allowing messages to be transmitted even after being disconnected.

If a Carrington size event where to hit the earth today, the consequences would be devastating.

NASA scientists say that a direct hit to Earth from one of these solar events would have a catastrophic impact on the nation’s critical infrastructures, costing upwards of $2 trillion dollars in damage during the first year alone. According to their best estimates, it would take at least four years to recover, with urban areas being hit especially hard.

Because of their total dependency on critical infrastructures for electricity, communications, food and water delivery, banking and financial services, and even emergency services, highly populated urban centers would experience the brunt of the catastrophe and would likely see large amounts of death and chaos.

According to Frank Gaffney, a spokesman for the Center for Security Policy, within a year of an attack “nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can’t support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity.” If that sounds a little high, consider Former CIA Bureau Chief Claire Lopez is also warning that “Within one year, it is estimated that 9 out of 10 of all Americans would be dead.”

What can you do to protect yourself from Attacks on our Power Grid?

The first step is to realize the severity of the problem, and understand that the government will not be able to help during this type of disaster. The simple fact is emergency management personnel have no contingency plans to deal with this type of event and would be overwhelmed in a matter of hours. If you need proof of this, just look at how they respond to routine events like hurricanes; now imagine an event that would make those hurricanes look like an innocent summer’s breeze.

The second step is all about preparedness. You need to be prepared to survive an extended period of time without power and essential services. This means stockpiling food and water, learning the skills you need to protect yourself and your family from the chaos that will ensue, and in my opinion, getting as far away from highly populated urban centers as you can.

If at all possible, you should look into purchasing some type of rural bug out property, where you can head should you face a catastrophic collapse scenario. In my opinion, urban survival during this type of disaster will be almost impossible.

Shielding your Electronics from EMPs, CMEs and Solar Flares.

There are a number of things that you can do to protect your electronics from EMPs and Solar Flares. From installing surge protectors and shielding equipment on our everyday devices, to storing backup electronics like ham radios and essential gear in EMP shielding bags or faraday cages, there are options out there for protecting your electronics.

12 Comments

  1. Kevin Duncan
    June 25, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    wonderfully written article! I am so glad I live in a small, tight-knit community deep in the rockies!

  2. Rocky Night
    June 25, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I appreciate your views and opinions. To be honest I am doing well to pay for one house. A very modest house at that.

    Best of luck to you all during these sad economic times.

    • Tank
      June 25, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      You might look into staying with friends and family that live out in the country. I have a friend from work that will be bugging out to my place if problems arise.

  3. windmillwilly
    June 26, 2014 at 7:15 am

    this is one emergency that is easy to do a limited test of.pull the breakers to the house for 3 or 4 days and see what needs come up that you did not think of just on your own trip back to the stone age,something will come up that will suprise you

  4. keebler
    June 26, 2014 at 7:27 am

    If your a Camper type person, you will NO problem existing,
    the people who rely on everything electronic will have a very hard time at life.

    • Echo
      July 2, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      even being an experienced camper isn’t going to help if you don’t have reliable water or food stockpiled.
      and you will have to be well armed, extra vigilant about laying low, avoiding detection and self protection.

  5. Dave
    June 27, 2014 at 9:10 am

    If you haven’t read the book, “One Second After” you should. It’s written by a history professor who studied seige situations. It’s not the best writing, but gives ideas of what is likely to happen after an EMP. A lot of libraries have it surprisingly.

    • Mark
      June 29, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Great book. Although I have no idea why food was so scarce when they lived next to a major reservoir. Fish, amphibians and birds would be abundant..

      • Echo
        July 2, 2014 at 2:00 pm

        possibly knowledge and/or experience?

    • Tank
      July 8, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Great Book!

  6. prep4stuff
    January 18, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    To vulnerable.

  7. Caribbean.beachestate@gmail.com
    June 5, 2015 at 11:25 am

    We have property in The Bahamas for sale and might have what you are looking for.

    We have an affordable, very safe, and resourceful location on what is called a Family Island. It is a fairly remote location with only a few other neighbors that share miles of beach and rolling hills. The property has spectacular views of ocean and the beach is just steps away.

    The Island consists of mostly fisherman and farmers: Locally grown food (with a 12 month growing season), wild game, and world-class fishing are the way of life. We have all modern amenities with out all of the modern problems.

    The property is ready to build with roads and utilities, also perfect for off-the-grid. We can help you with building approvals and other needs to help your transition to the Island and getting your new home built.

    We are willing to work something out for you to secure this property (if it is what you’re looking for) while in transition. We also provide two weeks free at our Vacation Rental Beach House for property buyers.

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