Dec. 2018 NIAC report: 'Surviving A Catastrophic Power Outage.'

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by agtman, Dec 31, 2018.

  1. agtman

    agtman 10mm Philosopher

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    Posting the link to this report below for folks here who haven't seen it.

    Written by the President's Nat'l Infastructure Advisory Council, the report's purpose is to summarize the risks and provided a series of recommendations for action in order to prepare for and recover from a 'catastrophic power outage' - whether caused by a natural disaster, cyber/physical attack, EM event, or combination of any of those.

    Although the PDF file linked below shows 94-pgs, the report itself is only 23-pgs, the remainder being an appendices of materials. There is one page containing the executive summary and an overview of the NIAC's recommendations, of which there are 7.

    Let's just say there are several interesting findings and recommendations that are clearly based on the recent experiences of emergency-management agencies generally, and FEMA in particular, with such events as post-hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico and elsewhere (Texas, Fla., Katrina/NOLA), not to mention the effect that a no-notice cyber/physical attack shutting down the nation's power grid (or large sections of it) would have on a little-prepared/unprepared U.S. civilian population.

    Here's a hint: read carefully and between the lines. Be alert to the use of bureaucratic 'buzz-words,' like 'shelter in place,' creating 'local resilience shelters,' and 'cascading effects' on the distribution of electrical power that create areas of 'haves' and 'have-nots' which could 'impact national security,' not to mention safety issues at the local level.

    Think about what the reality 'on the ground' will be like in Chicago, L.A., NYC, et al, after any sort of extended 'black sky' event. :whistling:

    Note also the report suggests the 'new emerging preparedness standard' for individuals and families is no longer 72-hrs, but 14-days, during which you're expected to be on your own resource-wise. That appears to mean water, food, heat, and shelter.

    Personally, I think 14-days is understating it, if Puerto Rico is any sort of lesson. Considering a 'catastrophic' power grid loss where the anticipated re-boot/restoration time is only estimated and theoretical, the minimum prep goal should be 4-weeks and, ideally, longer.

    Anyway, here's the link to the PDF file, FYI:

    https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/NIAC Catastrophic Power Outage Study_508 FINAL.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
  2. nerr

    nerr

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    Interesting and thanks. I'm not (yet) into total survivalist mode. I have some freeze-dried food and some bottled water I use and rotate fresh into the small stockpile. I even built a small 'luggable' solar setup (2 batteries and 2 100watt panels). So I'd probably be ok for a week or so.

    But I've not convinced myself to go much beyond that, though I'm glad there are those that do, if for no other reason than I sponge off their ideas for short-term emergency relief. When you think about long-term messes like Puerto Rico, I'm not sure I want to be the one with the resources to be plundered. Even my very good, generous neighbors could get nasty if it came to feeding themselves and their families (including their dogs). For that matter, I'm not sure how I would react if things got really desparate: would I share anything? would I be willing to defend the things I had with deadly force? I would like to think I'd share if I figured it was short-term (like tornadoes around here, or power outages). I would also like to think I would defend my immediate neighbors especially short term, but I'm not sure.
     
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  3. agtman

    agtman 10mm Philosopher

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    Thanks.

    Yeah, among other take-aways from this report, Recommendation 3 deserves close scrutiny for preppers. It calls for 'guidance and resources' to states, cities, and "localities" (suburbs? unincorporated townships?) to 'design community enclaves' which are areas that 'co-locate critical services and resources to sustain populaces ... and allow residents to shelter in place.'

    The report specifically states that community enclaves are NOT 'mass shelters or camps,' but are 'existing facilities and supporting infrastructure' whose purpose is 'to prevent mass migration or support survival when migration in not possible or residents must return as the outage persists.'

    Think that through for a bit ...

    'Bugging-in' is encouraged as national disaster policy, or at least for this type of disaster. They don't want groups of folks bugging-out to wherever and clogging the roads since, under the catastrophic-failure premise here, any grid-powered traffic lights, signals, lighted warning signage, and other highways lights generally, WON'T be working.

    That last part about 'residents returning' home during a long-term outage appears to refer to those who were caught up while traveling, or away on business, or otherwise not at home when the lights went out.

    Subsection D under R-3 urges 'outreach and training for businesses and individuals to build a culture of preparedness at the individual and household level.' It then states: 'Community enclaves are predicated on the idea that the majority of U.S. citizens are prepared and able to safely shelter in place for extended time periods.'

    Okay, even if the 'prepared and able' assumption is true (which I seriously doubt), what constitutes 'an extended time period'?

    Well, back up under subsection A of R-3, the report lists 'critical lifeline functions that communities need even in a limited capacity or degraded state' during an outage, such as 'communications, electricity [presumably generator-produced?], fuel, limited financial services, food, water, wastewater treatment, and medical facilities,' citing 'e.g., 30-45 days.'

    That appears to be a reference to the minimum time-frame such 'critical lifeline functions' would need to last a local community until they're exhausted .... or until federal resources come riding in, like the cavalry in old Hollywood westerns. :upeyes:

    Another take-away from the Report is the premise of 'top-down' federal (or 'federalized') management and authority. The Report talks a good game about 'coordination' and 'cooperation' with private sector entities and 'industry partners,' as well as with state and local governments.

    But starting with the National Security Council as the initial recipient of the Report, it identifies a 'Lead Agency' after each Recommendation to direct implementation and follow-up, along with one or more 'Supporting' entities, those being (mostly) other federal agencies, commissions, and boards that operate lower down on the federal food-chain.

    For 'Lead' agency status, the Report repeatedly cites DHS, DOD, DOE, and FEMA (no surprise).
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
  4. bdcochran

    bdcochran

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    Los Angeles is a desert. There is less than a two day supply of food in town. Having been a volunteer, I am aware that there are no stockpiled food stuffs/blankets/medical supplies sitting in the governmental warehouses for the next emergency.

    The largest danger is fire. Without water pressure, the town is cooked.

    Based upon incidents like the Spanish flu of 1918 which killed my grandfather and 2000 people a day in Philadelphia, you will be on your own for a period of time.

    The grand plans of Los Angeles County is for top political officials to go to the above ground bomb shelter and to order that electricity go to the bakeries first. That is all.

    Pick your poison - three days without water; 7 days without dialysis, no hospital/surgical services, a couple of weeks of no food or uncontrolled fires. All that you can do is plan to go under the radar for 30 days - and that might not happen. After 30 days, the main die off would have happened.
     
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  5. WT

    WT Millennium Member

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    We did 2 weeks without power. Interesting experience. Fortunately, we were prepared.

    What we did not have was local news sources. We got our news information at night from radio stations 1,000 miles away. (We had a good supply of radio batteries.)
     
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  6. agtman

    agtman 10mm Philosopher

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    I've been researching a bit more on what it takes to get into a HAM radio set up, which could be powered by either batteries or a generator if the grid went down. Seems you can get a lot of real-time info on what's going on thru this medium of communication.
     
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  7. Glockworks

    Glockworks Thank God for Prez Trump and VP Pence!

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    When and what area were you in, and what time of the year was this?
     
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  8. G29guy06

    G29guy06

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    Good thread/ good OP.

    Anything can happen as we’ve seen in the last 20yrs that can cause a society to fail. I use that term instead of the prepper buzz terms in regular conversation. And that’s what these “Grid down” scenarios end up creating. People refuse to believe the “grid” will go down. But when you walk them through some of the news headlines over the last 30yrs they can see how society can fail.

    Puerto Rico, Katrina, etc. all created scenarios where society broke down. Now the catch is the govt was able to get resources and aid in to these places before it totally melted down...but if that aid is delayed beyond what it had been the possibility for massive unrest is very real.
     
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  9. BillKilgore

    BillKilgore

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    We recently went 10 days without electricity after Florence. Many roads were underwater, small creeks turned into huge rivers and many areas (including us) were cut off for a few days. My family and I were pretty well prepared, but we still learned from the experience and will do better next time.
    DB3ED3F2-D20B-4091-8149-214F852A9BC4.jpeg
    I’m looking forward to reading the report later.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
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  10. LASTRESORT20

    LASTRESORT20 L T G

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    Close to 3 weeks without power HUGO..back in 1989....had to improvise (it wasn't easy)...but no problems...was prepared.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Blackshirt

    Blackshirt

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    During Katrina, we had no power for over four weeks. We were able to save our refrigerated food by running the freezers four hours a day using our diesel generator and fuel that was on hand for the tractors. That same generator was wired up to our well pump also to provide fresh water. Fresh fish from the pond and eggs from the chickens were available. We brought relatives from down in New Orleans over and we were able to carry on pretty well on our little farm.
     
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  12. agtman

    agtman 10mm Philosopher

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    Still going over it again, but to me this Report is clearly meant to be a 'wake-up' conversation to the multiple levels of EMAs, federal, state, & local, for realizing the catastrophic impact on systems-dependent, heavily-populated urban areas of an extended 'grid-down' event whose duration, at least before partial restoration or recovery can occur, lasts into the months - say, 3-to-6 months.

    No doubt those in less populated rural/farming areas - for whom at least some amount of preparation and self-reliance is a traditional way of life - will fare better.
     
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  13. G29guy06

    G29guy06

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    Yup...and in the rural areas we have good fields of fire and observation points
     
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  14. WT

    WT Millennium Member

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    Northeast, early winter.

    Hams might want to brush up on CW transmissions using Morse code. In a real emergency that might be the only thing that gets through, aside from bicycle messengers. Some military journals have been talking about this lately.
     
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  15. Glockworks

    Glockworks Thank God for Prez Trump and VP Pence!

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    I hope the best for you and yours, but do remember, that in a scenario like that, the masses coming, might return fire. I do not have a good answer to that except, realize that and prepare. And yes, I do have keen sense of the obvious.:dancing:
     
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  16. G29guy06

    G29guy06

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    Well that’s where I like NH’s state motto...

    Weapons and tactics matter to a point...but heart always wins...
     
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  17. Slackinoff

    Slackinoff Bathed in lavender and gasoline

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    As a Ham I fully support this idea. Start out with a Technicians license and join your regular local club nets. Most areas have a couple a week around 7-8pm. You can progress to the long range stuff (HF) later. You wouldn't think regularly calling in to a "local net" would be worthwhile, but there is a lot to it. You will learn a ton just doing this. It's fun too! I eventually joined our club here and befriended some of the best folks you could imagine in our area. (friendship can be a huge ally in the worst of times.....)


    To get started I purchased a cheap "baofeng" radio on amazon, learned to program it on youtube, and took the practice exams until I knew all the answers.

    https://hamexam.org/

    The thing about ham radio is, you can keep it simple, or you can go hog wild and literally spend a lifetime learning. It's an amazing hobby.
     
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  18. Blackshirt

    Blackshirt

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    The government has been hardening military and critical government equipment against EMP since the eighties. It is possible to do so, but a difficult proposition for mere citizens. A well-grounded metal roof will help...as will a whole-house surge protector. However, it's our infrastructure that really needs protecting...which will be tough even for a nation as wealthy as ours. I think that the government is counting on the threat of retribution by our military to discourage such attacks. Their logic tells them that any nation that could mount an attack will have plenty to lose. Still, some common sense preparations like planning with friends and family to share resources, keep fuel, food, and medical supplies in reserve, and have a strong point for shelter, safety, and security is a good idea.
     
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  19. agtman

    agtman 10mm Philosopher

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    That's interesting, thanks.

    Are Mil-folks thinking/anticipating that a cyber/EM attack on our national power grid is a likely near-future event?
     
  20. WT

    WT Millennium Member

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    Certainly a cyber attack. Questions have been raised on how we would communicate with our naval and bomber fleets if the satellites go down. Apparently most of our military communications and navigation aids go thru satellites which could be 'taken out' in 1 day.

    The Russians are using very effective jamming devices in their ground fights with the Ukrainians. Our military advisors (who aren't there in case anybody asks) have serious concerns. Future battlefield communications could be limited to messengers, blinker lights (one if by land, two if by sea), skivvie wavers, etc.

    I gather the Navy has asked the Coast Guard for some instructors in celestial navigation. Morse code is also being practiced. We're going 'Old School'.
     
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