The fact that you’re reading this article means you’re hooked into the grid. The grid refers to the power grid. It’s the massive interconnected system that keeps everyone powered and communicating 24/7. This is a far-reaching, complex system kept running by hundreds of thousands of people. What if it all suddenly stopped? Is this even possible?
Yes, and it’s terrifying.
What Can Cause It?
I’ll start with how this could happen. The flashiest options are also the least likely. One method of taking down power grids would be with EMP attacks. These electromagnetic pulse weapons are just missiles with a heck of a payload. There’s a chance that another world power could use one of these, but it’s not likely. This would be a massive act of war that would lead to the destruction of society as we know it.
Unfortunately, there’s a natural phenomenon that’s unpredictable and just as dangerous. That’s solar flares. There are solar flares all the time, most of the time we don’t notice. About 150 years ago, just such a solar flare hit us. Some scientists believe we’ll see another one within the coming decades. It knocked down telegrams and some operators even reported getting shocked. Since the technology was new and not big, damage was small. If a solar flare of that size happened today, the damage would be trillions of dollars.
Not only would the damage be expensive, it would be disruptive. This is much scarier for the average person. Governments and big companies will get supply chains back on track, but how long will it take. You can bet anything that the gap is going to be chaos.
But even though some scientists believe a solar flare is coming, it’s still not likely. What is likely, are cyber attacks. USA Today states that a cyber attack hits the grid about every 4 days. All it would take is for one of these attacks to be more successful than they are. Power outages already cost us $33 billion a year to fix, and that’s with them being as small as they are.
So if the big one hits, what happens?
What’ll It Look Like If The Grid Goes Down
First off, it’s going to get quiet. Most people aren’t used to the silence that would follow a grid down event like these. Fortunately and unfortunately, it wouldn’t stay quiet for long. Some businesses might have generators but stores would close fast. At this point, the panic would start. You’d see a drastic spike in “survivor crimes”. These are things like looting and self defense around the looting, the things you might see around other disasters, but worse. This makes stores and major streets dangerous places to be.
If the grid was knocked down by a cyber attack, it should be back up soon. This is why preparation is important. If you’ve got even a week up supplies at home, you don’t have to go out and try to get it. You can hunker down with your family and wait for things to get back under control.
If it was an EMP, this may be a different story. EMPs damage circuitry. This damage can’t be reversed from a distance. Electronics would need replacing. The time to get the world back up and running gets a lot longer. There’s a chance that the world may never fully recover from the chaos that follows this. This is the kind of situation that bugging out can help. Once stores are picked clean, looters will turn to residences. Your supplies are only good if you can hold onto them. Getting out of dodge, especially in urban areas, will put space between you and unrest.
We live our lives completely intertwined with the grid. In a way, the fates of the grid and society are intertwined. By preparing for major disruptions, you detach yourself from this reliance. By having plans to follow, you keep yourself from falling into the chaos.
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