Here’s what will happen if the power grid goes down (plus tips on how to survive)

grid down

When winter storm Uri devastated Texas four months ago, millions of residents were left without power, water and food for days. State power grid operators themselves admitted that the power grid was only minutes and seconds away from completely failing. If that had happened, residents would’ve had blackouts for months.

The winter storm in Texas exposed the weaknesses in the state’s power grid. But those weaknesses are far from unique to the state. Other southeastern states, like Oklahoma and Louisiana, also saw blackouts at the time.

This just goes to show that the odds of the country’s power grid collapsing when disaster strikes or when SHTF are actually very high. But it’s not just a lack of power you need to brace for in case the grid goes down. Here are six more things that are very likely to happen if the power grid collapses:

  1. Commerce would cease – Banks would close and automated teller machines (ATMs) wouldn’t work if the power grid goes down. For a while, people with cash to spend may fare well. But as that cash runs out, they would likely begin trading with others for resources.
  2. Communications would shut down – Cell phones, tablets and other gadgets that need to be charged would be rendered useless just hours after the power grid goes down, greatly limiting communication. That includes communication with police, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS).
  3. Transport networks would grind to a halt – Fuel pumps at gas stations would stop working if there is no power. Road signs, traffic lights and train systems would all go dead as well. And without a way to procure gasoline, car owners would have zero use for their vehicles. Establishments that heavily rely on deliveries, such as grocery stores, would be unable to restock.
  4. There would be no running water – Critical infrastructures like water treatment facilities use power to run their pumps and equipment. Without power, water services would stop and there would be no running water. You won’t be able to flush the toilet or run the shower.
  5. Grocery stores and pharmacies would be stripped bare – People who didn’t prepare for a power grid failure would rush to their local grocery stores and pharmacies to buy large quantities of food, water, medicine and toiletries. There would be millions of people like this, so it’s highly likely that these establishments would be stripped bare within the first few days of a power grid collapse.
  6. Satellite navigation devices would be useless – These days, many people rely on their cell phones, tablets and other gadgets for directions. If the grid goes down, people would be unable to charge their gadgets, which would eventually die. The average person will likely get lost if the grid goes down.

How to prepare for a power grid failure

Preparing for a power grid failure increases your chances of surviving such a disaster scenario. Below are a few tips on how to prepare for a power grid failure:

  • Stock up on food, water and other essentials – The biggest thing you need to worry about if power goes out is your water supply. You won’t have clean, running water to drink or clean yourself with. Forget about last-minute grocery runs, too. Create an emergency stockpile of bottled water, food and other essential resources like matches and rubbing alcohol.
  • Prepare alternative heat sources – You wouldn’t want to be without heating when it’s cold out. Prepare alternative heat sources, such as an alcohol heater and a portable propane heater.
  • Prepare flashlights, lanterns and other light sources – Prepare a kit with several flashlights, batteries, lanterns and other light sources you may need.
  • Learn basic survival skills – Even if worse doesn’t come to worst, it helps to know basic survival skills, such as building a fire, filtering water, building a shelter and fishing. (Related: How to make your own homemade water filter.) has more articles with tips on how to prepare for various disaster scenarios.

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  1. Not being able to flush your toilet sounds like a very, very unpleasant hardship.

    So, this would mean that people would have to have a backup method – such as one of those 5 gallon buckets
    with a supply of plastic bags and tie-wraps, plus a toilet seat to snap on top of the bucket. These can be purchased for a fairly reasonable price – search for ‘portable Loo’.

    But, then there is the question of what to do with the plastic bags full of human waste? Very deadly and serious diseases – such as cholera and many others, can result from a failure to dispose of human waste in a safe and proper manner. I’ve seen movies about the Vietnam war and some showed the US Army assigning soldiers
    latrine duties that included them using burn pits to dispose of human waste, but I do not know if those scenes were factual or realistic or just more of the same Hollywood baloney.

    Perhaps the author of this article could write a future article that discusses this very important topic?

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