By Chris Ruiz – The Bug Out Bag Guide
Imagine yourself and your family, forced from your home in the dead of winter, with nothing more than the few supplies you were able to carry amongst yourselves. Then imagine being shuttered into a community center with thousands of other families, displaced from their homes as well, relying on what few supplies the government could provide.
If you live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle in a first world country, this situation sounds preposterous, doesn’t it? It is not. Families, just like yours, faced this exact plight on December 20, 2013, when a massive ice storm hit parts of central Canada and the U.S., crippling many cities and leaving tens of thousands without power for days, sometimes weeks. Those who were prepared for such an event, having items such as blankets and medications to bring with them, fared much better than their ill-prepared counterparts.
In today’s modern society, we’ve come to rely almost implicitly on having a dependable source of power. When power fails, it causes utter and complete chaos for those not fortunate enough to have had the foresight to prepare.
What Is Power Grid Failure and Why Should I Care?
Of all the threats your disaster plan should consider, power grid failure is one of the more realistic and among the most likely to occur. When a power grid fails, a substantial geographic area can be without power for hours, days, or sometimes even weeks.
In addition to the 2013 ice storm that decimated power sources to many areas of central Canada and the U.S., there have been several other power grid failures in the last decade that brought panic and chaos to areas all over the world:
- In 2007, Indonesia suffered major grid failure due to a drop in demand that affected nearly 100 million people for over 7 hours
- India faces ongoing grid issues due to sporadic increases in demand
- In 2003, the Northeast Blackout at Con Edison left 55 million people in Canada and the U.S. without power; in some cases, this lasted for more than 2 days
- In 2005, Louisiana and surrounding areas dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that left 2.6 million people without power; some for extended periods of time due to the extensive flooding that structurally damaged buildings and blocked access to power sources
What Causes Power Grid Failure?
The two most common causes of power grid failure are system failure and equipment failure, but other events can also wreak havoc.