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10 Terrifying Realities Of Long-Term Blackouts (That Americans Never Consider)

Image source: huffington post

Image source: huffington post

In any natural disaster or man-made crisis, only one thing is truly certain: Survival will not only be a challenge, but it will become each individual’s personal primary goal.

Perhaps today, all that we’re worried about is a check engine light in our car or what to have for dinner, but that will all change in any true situation that takes down the power grid.

But what will happen to Americans in a grid-down situation who have not prepared? The truth is that everyone will be caught off-guard when disaster strikes, but it’s non-preppers who will lack the knowledge or preparation to survive.

Here are 10 realities of a grid-down scenario most Americans never consider:

1. Gas pumps won’t work. Why? Because they run on electricity. This alone is why a grid-down scenario will be so catastrophic. Without gas, trucks can’t run – and America’s supply chain will be severed.

2. Police won’t be available. They will more concerned for the survival of their own families in a grid-down situation, and without electricity to allow gas pumps to work, they won’t be able to get around, anyway.

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3. There will be no food. Grocery stores will be stripped clean and the only food that you’ll have is what’s in your pantry. And without gasoline to allow trucks to operate, the shelves won’t be restocked. If you think you can just hunt for food on your own, understand that millions of people will be thinking the same way. The forests will be crawling with experienced and inexperienced hunters, which will strip the forests of wildlife clean over time.

4. There will be no clean water. And you can’t drink tap water. You better have a means to purify water, and you better stockpile water.

5. Money may be worthless. You figure that you can buy supplies from other people? The value of the dollar will fall dramatically.

blackout6. The military will confiscate guns. This happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, where law enforcement units and National Guard troops confiscated thousands of guns from citizens.

7. You can’t travel. Sorry, but “bugging out” is a bad idea 90 percent of the time – especially without gasoline. The roads, forests and parks will be filled with travelers trying to find a way out or to safety, leaving them extremely vulnerable.

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8. Cell phones won’t work. Well, they may for a few hours or days, but once the generators run out of gas, they won’t. And without electricity, your Internet connection will be down, too.

9. Defending yourself is the priority. There will be raiders who work together to loot other people’s supplies. No one is going to protect you, and you need to have an adequate means to defend yourself.

10. Sanitation will take a backseat. Things such as soap, shampoo and hand sanitizer will become valuable trading commodities. Garbage will also be prevalent everywhere.

The truth is that in a grid-down situation, you will be truly and utterly alone. You’ll be separated from those you know, and often no one else will care about you. People will only be thinking about what they can do to survive.

Unfortunately, most Americans believe that emergencies will last 72 hours at most (hence the government recommending three day emergency kits). Hopefully, that’s all that a grid-down scenario will last for … but there’s still a high chance it will last longer than that. You won’t just be able to wait out a grid-down scenario. You have to survive in one.

Does this mean that you must now dedicate the rest of your life to survival? No. But it does mean that you need to have an idea of what could be coming, and if you want to be ready for it, you should have at least some preparations and plans set aside to get you past those first three days.

What are other “unknown” realities of a grid-down scenario? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Be Prepared When There’s A Blackout. Read More Here.

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  1. Good information…. we just got our power back on 10 minutes ago from a 2 hour power outage… an unexpected one… sure is helpful in reminding us to be ready for a longer outage.

  2. You will also need to know basic first aid at the very least, knowing CPR (whatever technique is the latest). There will be no ambulances running because of the gas shortage. Having a means to extinguish small to medium fires will have to be a top priority as well. If not, then a small fire will become a large and out-of-control fire very fast. You will have to be your own “first responder” in order to survive.

    • A very good investment is making your own equivalent of a “Combat Lifesaver Bag”, used by the military. We have 3 of them, staged and ready. Best to build your own and rotate the supplies as needed. Keep a basic and advanced first aid manual in your BoB, vehicle and home as well. The supplies are useless unless you know how to use them properly.

    • CPR is useless with out a defibrillator.

  3. The scenario above is highly compressed leaving out several stages of reaction and many other conditions across the strata of public income class. Of course, how things play out will depend on where one is: in the country? in the city? The Suburbs? It also depends on whether you are within the 1% of income earners or perhaps living in a wealthy area, as these areas, for sure, will get first dibs on the workforce restoring power.
    The wealthy will first try to use their influence to get what they want, leaving the poor the very last to be assisted. They will also be the first in-line for hand-outs, etc., pushing the poor aside. The middle class earners will have more options than the poor or working class of course: back-up power, the “cabin-at-the-lake” and better travel options initially. The working class will probably be the most successful, mixed with the middle-incomes, will adapt and make the best happen for themselves and others.
    If in the city and poor, deaths will result, leaving some children parent-less, it’s the same with the working class, but they will adjust faster, finding ways to make-do. If suburbs, better chances for all except the poor who will be stuck in the city. If the country, then everyone has a better chance of survival for several reasons.
    The moral would be to have an escape-from-the-city plan, backup food & power and live at least in the suburbs, not in the city. The poor of course, do not have that choice, and neither does the working-class because they “live off” the middle class, as it were with their restaurant, delivery, fabricating and social jobs.
    Of course, this is just a scenario of about 1 to 3 months, after that, well it’s a very different story.

    • Escape from the city to where? To the suburbs, you think the people living there will want them?
      To the country perhaps – you think they will want the city folks as well as the escaping suburb population?

      I’m sorry – but any plan that includes “escape” requires a sound and stable place to escape to, not just head for the hills.

      Escaping your hell to get to my refuge will result in you being shot. Never forget this.

      • That pretty much covers it.
        If you don’t have a place prepared in advance, you’re SOL.

      • Rural communities are more likely to take actions that will protect their families from the hordes of refugees seeking food and fuel as they pass through. My town has only two grocery stores and a half dozen gas stations. Why should we strip our limited reserves of fuel merely to enable an outsider to drive another 350 miles? There are only three ways in or out of our community. Expect all of them to be roadblocked by armed residents.

  4. a great many of our nation is one pay check from disaster. they wont be able to prepare much in advance, they are trying to survive this week. no pay comes in they are the first to need aid. the extremely poor have been learning to survive. the wealthy have no clue, they will wait for assistance, till it doesnt come, and the few who actually did plan ahead will be very busy trying to protect their own. what a sad world we will have. even minor preps could give you more time to learn and teach you what you need to survive. it amazes me how many people believe this cant happen. look at the world, people live like this now. why are we so ignorant that we think this cant happen to us.

  5. As to point number 6, “…the military will confiscate firearms…”, Yes they MIGHT, but they have to be transported TO your area first, and that might take them a very long time to do that, assuming their vehicles are ALL EMP proof or otherwise able to work. Very BIG assumptions.

  6. The most terrifying thing about a long term blackout is that most nuclear reactor cores are cooled by electric powered water pumps. In the event of a blackout there are petroleum powered generators used as a back up. From what my small amount of research revealed, the nearest plant to my area would be able to avoid melt own for as long as the fuel lasted, which would be about 20 days. 20 days until the water that cools the spent rods begins to evaporate.

    It would take years to get the grid back up.

    From what I understand, not many of the 103 plants across the U.S. would fare much better. That’s an awful lot of Fukushima-Chernobyl style catastrophes across the country taking place in a frighteningly short amount of time with no response teams there to do a thing about it.

    Seems to me the best way to survive the grid going down is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

    • Why would a nuclear power plant NOT easily supply electricity to run its own water pumps?

      • Good point Geof. Because they already do. Trash to energy plants do the same thing. I have visited one in where 10% of the juice they provide is used by themselves.

  7. I think there will be not so much plenty, but gravity fed options for gasoline distribution, which can power pumps for out of the ground retrieval. Although there will be without comm in areas, whole hearted citizens will form together to protect they’re communities. I just saying, there are options, and we will have to be positive and not panic, haha.

  8. Just imagine a longterm power failure in a city like Chicago, which has over a million households. With a million households trying to cook, heat and light their homes; without the right equipment, knowledge or experience. If each week just one hundredth of one % of them accidentally start a fire – that 100 fires a week. Without functioning utilities and fire department, how long would it be before major parts of the Chicago and every other city were destroyed. The problem would be repeated many times over in every town, suburb and many country homes. — I also read one man’s comment that if airplanes fail their crashes would cause many fires.

  9. Toilet paper! In a grid down event it will run out VERY quickly. A perineal irrigation bottle and washcloths does the job just fine. Before there were pampers and wipes, mothers coped quite well with baby poop. The same system works for adults.

    • If you run out of toilet paper, family cloths are a good alternative. Even if you are one of the people who feels freaked out about wiping your butt with cloth and then washing it, you can always just cut up cheap tshirts from like the Salvation army you’ve got laying around, and discard the “used” cloths without washing them if you don’t want reusable ones.

      Better than running out of TP and having no sanitation. Plus, it’s sometimes cheaper than toilet paper. The only thing to be careful about is that, just like with cloth baby diapers, you just don’t flush them down the toilet. Just wash in hot water to sanitize, or simply discard them. Septic systems and pipes aren’t designed for cloth-based wipes.

      The nice thing about family cloths too, is they don’t disintegrate while you’re using them and leave your hand gross, like some of the soft toilet tissue brands do. /shudder :c

  10. In a grid-down situation gas pumps can actually run if someone, like me, has an extra generator to power the pumps. Those pumps don’t require a lot of juice to run if they have not been damaged. My personal generator runs on gasoline and propane. Propane is much easier to store and stores much longer than gasoline. My backup runs on gasoline only. I have stores for both.
    Fortunately I have never experienced a catastrophic regional outage. Hurricane Sandy is the longest outage we’ve had in my adult life. We were out for 10 hours.

  11. I think it’d be excellent if more people actually did believe that emergencies will last 3 days. More realistically, the first hour or two after a normal blackout, imagination goes wild, people internally begin to panic, and start thinking about, “what if it never comes back on?”

    If more people actually believed, and prepared for, 3 days without power, then when it happened, instead of freaking out about making emergency french toast using the clothes’ iron to cook it, and consuming everything in the refrigerator in case the power doesn’t come back on quickly enough, they’d be able to pull out their batteries, flashlights, and three days of food that doesn’t need heat to cook to eat…

    They pull that out, look at it, know they’re good for today, tomorrow, and the next day, stop panicking, and be able to just go on with their day while everyone else is in hysterics or crammed into the grocery store, buying stuff they don’t need, when everyone else is in a likewise crisis. Gives you enough time to think about things rationally and ACT, rather than freak and REACT.

    It gives a sense of, “Oh yeah. So, this will end; until then, how can I make things work for me?”

  12. 105 days w/no power. Thanks to hurricane Maria. 3 weeks before had 8 days w/no electricity, thanks to hurricane Irma. Experienced extreme wind and water damaged to our home. My advice for long-term power outage; better have a big dog and extra dog food, razor wire,, inverter generator (low noise) and @ least 30 gal. Of stored gasoline w/stabilizer, small chest frezzer (can be powered every two days and still keep items cold), propane stove and a 100pd propane tank, two way radios is a must, lots of batteries (alkaline, lithium), battery operated fan, flashlights (my Coast was very dependable) working lights (energizer light fusion was very good), insect repellent and bug barrier, a good first aid kit (include some antibiotics, extra strength orajel, tea tree and neem oil, Listerine), lots of bleach, canned and dry food (must be food that you like, that’s very important, grocery stores were closed for a long time, and once they reopened the lines were unbearable), lots of drinking water, a good quality water jug, washboard and laundry detergent, battery operated sensor flood light, solar radio, hand warmers, a good hammock. Hope this helps. At least as a eye opener. God bless

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