We all have dealt with power outages. Usually, it is very short-lived, and in fact, the first hour or so is kind of nice. It is romantic, mysterious and fun to just chill without the hum of it. You don’t even realize how loud everything is until the appliances in your home are quieted. But a long-term blackout is completely different. Many Americans fail to realize just how dependent this world is on electricity. Here are eight things that won’t work in a long-term blackout that go beyond the lights and refrigeration we often think about:
1. Water will stop flowing
In short power outages, you generally still get water from the tap, because either the wastewater plant is on another grid, on a generator, or you are getting the water from the storage tank. In a long-term blackout, the pumps will not push water and it will all run dry. If you are on your own well, your well pump will not work at all unless you have some form of backup.
2. Credit cards won’t work
You won’t be able to buy your favorite morning beverage – or anything else — without scraping together the cash. Our entire financial system is electronic and relies on the power grid. The banks will be closed, with no functioning ATMs. All of your money will be inaccessible.
3. Gas pumps won’t work
Even if you have cash. That’s because the pumps require electricity. This means you can’t drive to the next city or to your cabin in the woods if you weren’t prepared.
4. Street lights in your neighborhood will be out
You don’t know dark until it is a cloudy night and you don’t have the glow of porch lights or street lights to guide you. Note: There are some street lights that are solar, but most are not.
5. You won’t be able to flush the toilet
In the short-term, yes, toilets still work. But in the long-term, when pumps aren’t working? They simply back up. Those on septic systems will be more fortunate, but even those eventually won’t work.
6. The garbage man won’t be coming
Why? There is no gas to run the trucks. The garbage you are creating from your canned goods and packages of freeze-dried meals is going to start to accumulate.
7. You won’t be able to call 911 for help
Those systems run on electricity, and when generators stop working, 911 will be down.
8. The Internet will be down
It will work for a little while, but eventually the servers will lose power. In a minor blackout, you usually still have Internet because of battery backups and what not, but in a major blackout, it will be gone.