So how would a grid down scenario affect you personally?
How long do you suppose the food in your pantry will last? Most Americans go to the grocery store every three days. Let’s assume you eventually eat the boxes of food that needed cooked raw (you will once you’re hungry enough). Most households might have enough food for one to two weeks. A tiny minority may have canned food to last them longer or looted their local grocery store before the masses arrived (48-72 hours) to clean it out. Only ma and pa stores may open their doors and then they will only take cash (for a few days until they discover the power isn’t coming back on). Supermarkets will not be open for business. The managers have no vested interest in the stores, which are owned by some rich corporation in another state. Employees won’t show up for work. Once the food is looted, there is no resupply coming.
Most people don’t realize how the food supply in this country has radically changed over the last 100 years(especially the last 10 years). A hundred years ago, most people (even city people) grew and preserved a good portion of their daily food. Today, very few people garden and the ones who do consume it as it grows. Very few Americans know how to can or preserve fruits and vegetables to last through a winter. With the introduction of electricity and food on demand (at your supermarket), the skills needed to live without electricity have been completely lost to 99.9% of Americans. Even most of today’s older generations grew up with electricity. Today, with the help of computers, we have a “just on time” delivery system. In other words, food is grown, canned, and resupplied to the grocery shelves as fast as it is taken off. There are no great towers of grain like in the Egyptian days. If you stop the growth, canning, and resupply, it won’t be long till ALL the food in this country is completely gone.
Most supermarkets don’t operate storerooms anymore or stock very much in the back room like they did 20 years ago. Have you ever asked your local supermarket employee to check the backroom for something they are out of? They look at you like you’re stupid and then pretend to go in the back only to return a minute later and tell you “we’re out”. Most supermarkets get one to two truck deliveries a day to keep their shelves stocked. In the modern world (with electricity and computers), when you buy a can of beans at your local store, the checkout computer tells the warehouse to put another can of beans on the next truck. The warehouse’s computer then tells the distribution center that they need another can of beans on the next truck. The distribution center’s computer tells the canning factory they need another can of beans to be sent on the next truck delivery. The canning facility computer then tells the farm in Mexico that it needs more raw beans on the next available truck. What are the two common denominators in all those steps? The computers can’t communicate with each other and the trucks can’t drive across the country because the gas stations don’t have power. This is true with almost every item you buy at nearly every store you visit. Interstate commerce completely shuts down and you will not be able to buy ANYTHING you need to survive once the store’s current supply runs out.
You would have no money outside of what is in your wallet or safe. Our entire finance industry is run by electricity. Most people have no clue that the average bank branch has less than $10,000 on hand at a given time. Seriously, I wanted to pay cash for a used car ($9,000) a while back and my bank told me I would have to schedule that size withdrawal in advance and it would take the bank three days to get it. My bet is that the banks aren’t even going to open their doors once the grid goes down. They know people are panicking and they don’t have the cash on hand to give to people (most of whom will want to drain their accounts). Besides, every bank I know uses computers and electricity to perform bank transactions. There is no electricity, remember? You were a millionaire before the crash? Not anymore. Don’t bet on a single bank opening its doors for business. Also, don’t rely on storing up large amounts of gold and silver for a grid down scenario. No one is going to trade you precious food for your gold or silver coins. It will be years before there is any semblance of normal commerce where you can use precious metals to barter for tools or food.
I would recommend spending whatever cash on hand you have in the first few days getting as much food as possible. Within a week, once store owners (the very few with heavy security that haven’t been looted already) figure out that the power isn’t coming back on, your money is worthless. A hungry person isn’t going to trade you a can of beans for a thousand dollars.
There would be no communication with those who live farther away from you than earshot. In other words: no phones, no emails, no mail delivery, no Facebook, and no Twitter. Are you getting the picture? Think about all the family and loved ones that have moved away. Do you have a sibling in California? Do you have a son or daughter at college in Texas? You’ll probably never see them or speak to them again. If someone breaks into your house looking for food, how are you going to call for help (not that the police would be able respond anyway)?
There will be no emergency services. Police, firefighters, and the National Guard will all be in the same scenario as you are. There will be no way to contact them, their vehicles will quickly run out of fuel and the traffic jams will pen them in just like you. They are just people like you and me. Once the looting begins, most will rush home to be with their families to protect them from the rioters and home invasions. Very few will show up to work on day three. Some of the more honorable, single men may stay at their post for a while and try to help out, but within days of the grid going down, don’t expect to see any emergency services. You will likely see the same result with National Guardsmen who are typically activated via a phone roster. Most will not be reached and most will not report for duty once things go south. Again, in a crisis situation, they will put the safety of their family before orders from their superiors. Even active duty military will experience a huge amount of AWOL soldiers. However, a good portion of their families live on base and they will be available for duty. Even so, as I explained earlier, the military bases WILL NOT be able to perform disaster relief because the military is dependent on the civilian electric grid.
There are no hospitals or medicine. Most hospitals are required to have a one or two day supply of backup electricity. Once they run out, loved ones on life support will die. Hospitals will be flooded with emergencies and injuries related to people doing stupid things out of their normal routine. How many nurses and doctors will stay more than a few days without going home to check on their family and protect them from the rioters and looters? Without the ability to get resupplied, the hospitals will soon run out of bandages and the like. How long before the doctors and nurses throw up their hands in despair with their inability to help people and head home?
You need a prescription to survive? Guess what, almost twenty percent of the population do as well. This includes everyone who suffers from asthma to diabetes. The drug stores will be closed because they have no way to verify prescriptions or check you out. How long before the tweekers and heroin addicts raid your local pharmacy because there are no security cameras and no way for the police to respond? How long will the vials of medicine you need survive without refrigeration once the electric grid goes down? If your child requires medication and you haven’t stockpiled or are unwilling to risk looting your local pharmacy, then you will know exactly when that child or loved one will die…. shortly after their current supply of medicine runs out.
Your house will not protect you like it has in the past. There will be no A/C or heat in your home. If you live in an area of the country that has cold winters or hot summers, life will become very uncomfortable and deadly in a lot of areas. A lot of malnutritioned people, not thinking clearly, will resort to doing incredibly stupid things to get warm, like start a fire in their house, or burn a charcoal grill indoors, etc… In urban areas with row houses and large apartment buildings, you will likely see large out-of-control fires burning whole city blocks because one person does something dumb and there are no fire trucks (out of gas) to come and put the fires out. You could actually see whole sections of large cities burn to the ground with no way to stop the flames. Do you know how to stay warm in your home once the thermostat drops below freezing? In a lot of cases, extra blankets won’t be enough. Many people will go to bed and not wake up the next morning. Also, a lot of people watch action movies and think they can hide behind a door or wall to be protected from someone who is shooting at them. This is not accurate. Most bullets will travel through multiple walls until they hit a stud. Your home is NOT bulletproof! Ducking down below your window in a firefight with your starving neighbors will not protect you from their bullets.
If you rely on city sewage, your house will likely back up over time. Raw sewage could start bubbling out of your sinks and tubs as people continue to use toilets and sinks even though the sewage facility isn’t operating. This will create dangerously high levels of methane in your home that could make you very sick. Because of poor sanitary conditions around the country and most people not cleaning their hands properly before cooking due to lack of water, Dysentery and Cholera will become major pandemics in this country with a lot of people getting sick and dying. Regular baths will become a thing of the past, and many people will start bathing in their local creek or water source, causing dangerous bacteria to float downstream where other families rely on the same water source for their water needs.
Don’t depend on your vehicle getting you out of dodge. In the event of a Super EMP, a lot of cars will come to a stop in the middle of the street. Even if they don’t, a lot of people will try to flee the cities on empty gas tanks causing massive traffic jams. It only takes a handful of cars to run out of gas on the roadways to completely block traffic. If you do not flee town within 24 hours of the grid going down, you are likely to find yourself penned in. If you do have a vehicle that is running, it will only run if you can get fuel for it. Most gas stations don’t have back-up generators. The ones that do will be quickly overrun and emptied. There is no way to re-supply them because the trucks rely on the gas stations to get the fuel to other gas stations. Even if they could be rigged to resupply from their own tanks, don’t forget that there are massive traffic jams all over the country. Even if they could get through, how would the trucks get re-filled? Even if they could iron out the details, very few truckers are going to leave their families behind unprotected while they travel across the country with rioters and looters everywhere. Oil refineries take massive amounts of electricity to operate and will not be operational any time soon. What about the nation’s precious fuel reserves? If you don’t think the government is going to confiscate that for military and government use, I have ocean front property in Arizona I’d like to sell you. There will be no refueling shortly after the grid goes down. If you were a forward thinker and have a large supply of fuel for your vehicle, I would only recommend using it the first few days. After a week, most cars will be out of gas and people will be desperate for a running vehicle to get them where they need to go. If you are driving one of the few cars on the roadways, YOU ARE A TARGET. I wouldn’t start using the vehicle again for a full year (until most of the starving masses are dead).
You will not have lights once it grows dark outside. I understand that you may have a flashlight and some candles at your house, but honestly, how long will your batteries and candles last? I would use them very sparingly for a couple reasons. Without electricity, the world is going to become a very dark place. With no streetlights or ambient light in the cities, nighttime will become a very dangerous place to find yourself outdoors and light attracts attention. If you do have a large supply of batteries or candles, I would use them very carefully. Two weeks in, once people start getting hungry and desperate, lights coming from a house will be a huge beacon for looters and home invaders. Most people have never been to the mountains on a backpacking trip. On a cloudy dark night, you can see someone smoking a cigarette on the next mountain over. In a perfectly dark city, light escaping from around the edge of your blinds or curtains will be seen from a long way off. In a grid down situation, you want to rise with the sun and go to bed once it gets dark, utilizing natural light and conserving flashlights and candles for emergencies. These are just a FEW of the ways your life would be impacted by the electric grid going dark.