The United States’ power grid has flaws. In fact, we’re definitely not the leader when it comes to protecting our grid. According to Glenn Reynolds, author of many books and the widely popular political blog Instapundit, the Ukraine has better gird security than we do here, and yet they were still hacked in a grand, elaborate manner. So what does that mean for us?
Well, it means we still have a lot of work to do as a country. Even President Obama admits we’re lagging behind in grid security. So they’re working on it. But, as Reynolds pointed out, the way the government reacted to expected disasters, such as hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, we might be left in the dark for a very long time if our power grid gets compromised. An attack to our grid is something that has never happened before, and if we struggle to recover after expected disasters like hurricanes, then we may very well be left tin the dark for a very long time if our grid goes down.
Ted Koppel, author of the bestselling book Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath, calls us a “reactive society,” meaning we don’t tend to be preventive in our actions, but rather decide what to do after an event. When the grid goes down, the time to prepare will be far gone.
And with the help we can expect from the government (think back to Sandy and Katrina), relying on them might take quite a while. So while you wait for the country’s grid to come back online, how will you be living? Hopefully not in the dark. While it’s not entirely feasible for everybody to set up to go off the grid, it most certainly wouldn’t hurt to do what you can. While this article isn’t about the various methods of going completely off-grid, you can find one of our posts describing off-grid power solutions by clicking here.
We plan for all sorts of natural disasters because we’ve seen then; they’re common. But we haven’t been the victim of a power grid attack. We haven’t seen how dark it really can be if our power is taken away from us. And so, since we haven’t seen it first-hand, many people just aren’t preparing. This is a complacency problem, and one we need to fix.
As was mentioned, going off-grid might be all but impossible for most of us. That being said, we can still collect power on a smaller scale from the sun. Solar panels have become much more portable and cost-efficient. By having a few of these in your emergency prep, you can power your devices and even charge larger power packs. So, if the grid were to go down, you wouldn’t be completely powerless (so to speak).
But it’s not just extra power you’ll be worried about. You’ll need a way too cook, and most likely you’ll need actual food to cook, too. Then there’s the issue of water. These two necessities of life might be very difficult to come by in a grid-down situation. That’s one reason why prepping for other disasters is so important – if you’re prepared for one, you’re well on your way to being prepared for more.
But think about what would happen if the grid went down during the winter. In the case of the cyber-attack in the Ukraine, the hackers cause widespread power outages on December 23. If you’re not familiar with Ukrainian weather, it can get pretty cold that time of year. Bringing this back a little closer to home, what would you do if the power went out for a long time during the winter? Would you have enough blankets? Warm clothing? A way to power a heater? Just some things to think about.
As a nation, we have grown mighty accustomed to the conveniences of power whenever we want it. That could all be gone in a moment. Are you prepared for something of that magnitude? We don’t think about it often because it hasn’t happened to us yet. But it can. And if it does – I ask again – will you be prepared?
How are you prepared for widespread power outages?