Our Fragile Electical System


I have been growing ever more concerned over our fragile electrical system, and its’ vulnerability to solar flare and EMP blast.  A very short search will inevitably leave you with the same conclusion: why are we not hearing about efforts to protect it?  Maine just passed legislation on EMP preparation.  Scientists have known about this problem for decades.

This post will discuss the problem with solar flare, EMP blast and a list of preparation ideas.

What is the problem with solar flares?


An easy place to start for the basics is this article about the general problem:


In 1859 a massive solar storm, called the Carrington Event, fried telegraph machines all over Europe and North America.  This is an excerpt from National Geographic:

The biggest solar storm on record happened in 1859, during a solar maximum about the same size as the one we’re entering, according to  NASA.

That storm has been dubbed the Carrington Event, after British astronomer Richard Carrington, who witnessed the megaflare and was the first to realize the link between activity on the sun and  geomagnetic disturbances on Earth.

During the Carrington Event, northern lights were reported as far south as Cuba and Honolulu, while southern lights were seen as far north as Santiago, Chile.  The flares were so powerful that “people in the northeastern U.S. could  read newspaper print just from the light of the aurora,” Daniel Baker, of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, said at a recent geophysics meeting.

In addition, the geomagnetic disturbances were strong enough that U.S.  telegraph operators reported sparks leaping from their equipment—some  bad enough to set fires, said Ed Cliver, a space physicist at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Bedford, Massachusetts.  In 1859, such reports were mostly curiosities.  But if something similar happened today, the world’s high-tech infrastructure could grind to a  halt.

“What’s at stake,” the Space Weather Prediction Center’s Bogdan said, “are the advanced technologies that underlie virtually every aspect of our lives.”

To  begin with, the University of Colorado’s Baker said, electrical  disturbances as strong as those that took down telegraph machines—”the  Internet of the era”—would be far more disruptive.   “We live in a cyber cocoon enveloping the Earth,” Baker said. “Imagine what the consequences might be.”

Of particular concern are disruptions to global positioning systems (GPS),  which have become ubiquitous in cell phones, airplanes, and automobiles, Baker said.  A $13 billion business in 2003, the GPS industry is predicted to grow to nearly $1 trillion by 2017.

In addition, Baker said, satellite communications—also essential to many daily activities—would be at risk from solar storms.  “Every time you purchase a gallon of gas with your credit card, that’s a satellite transaction,” he said.

But the big fear is what might happen to the electrical grid, since power surges caused by solar particles could blow out giant transformers. Such transformers can take a long time to replace, especially if hundreds are destroyed at once, said Baker, who is a co-author of a National  Research Council report on solar-storm risks.  The U.S. Air Force  Research Laboratory’s Cliver agrees: “They don’t have a lot of these on  the shelf,” he said.

It takes up to a year to build one of these. 


The eastern half of the U.S. is particularly vulnerable, because the power infrastructure is highly interconnected, so failures could easily cascade like chains of dominoes.  “Imagine large cities without power for a week, a  month, or a year,” Baker said. “The losses could be $1 to $2 trillion, and the effects could be felt for years.”


What is the hype about EMP attacks?


Speaking before the Bipartisan Policy Center on threats to the US electrical grid, former CIA chief Michael Hayden says the Obama administration has to plan to defend against an EMP.  “I don’t mean to be so flippant, but there really aren’t any solutions to this, so I would just leave it at that,” Hayden said.

Former CIA director Hayden’s comments are contrary to concerns from another former CIA director, James Woolsey, who is co-chairman of the EMP Coalition  recently formed to pursue legislation to protect the grid.  That legislation is the Shield Act, recently introduced in the U.S. House of  Representatives by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz.  The bill would give the federal government authority over the utilities to  harden the grid and the electric utilities against an EMP.  As of now, the federal government lacks that authority.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/10/ex-cia-chief-no-solution-to-emp-attack/#mmK0T37KiOOkGcPt.99

So what can you do?


  • Email your state representative and Senators!  I did, and I will continue to keep them aware that there are voters concerned about the lack of planning.
  • Read up on what you need and start collecting it.  LOL–go to the conspiracy sites!  They are an EXCELLENT source for what to buy!  Remember we will be immediately transported back to the late 1800’s technology.  Of course, whatever you do will probably be stolen by persons who did not prepare, so first on the list is how you will protect your stuff, and what lengths you will go to keep it.  That is a serious, moral question that each person needs to ask themselves.
  • Fire extinguishers!  EMP and solar flares will cause your electronics to catch on fire and you wont have water to put it out.
  • A long-term generator with fuel source is the best, but very pricy.  And tough to protect from the blast, as you will need to keep it off-line and the components protected from the flare/blast to work.  There are now some solar generators available but very expensive.  A kerosene heater with kerosene oil is inexpensive and can heat up a room very effectively.  A hobo stove is good, but a cast-iron wood stove is better, and you can use the chimney conducts to heat ALL of your home with these hot pipes. And you know the best? It’s less expensive than your brand new, flat-screen TV!  Of course, one needs a wood source…I would love to see each neighborhood have its’ own large windmill (for areas with steady wind), and the solar soaking paint/tiles implemented all over.  Of course, they also need to be shielded.  And if you live in a neighborhood like mine, ideas like this are immediately shot down as Non Aesthetic.
  • Bring up preparation as a group in your meetings.  They may throw stuff at you, but at least you suggested it.  You can either plan to help each other, or eat each other.  For me, I like to work as a team.
  • Get a non-electric water filter.  A ceramic water filter is great.  You can put dirty sludge in it and come out with decent water.
  • Invest in water holders and fill them up.  Re-fill every 6 months.
  • Get mylar blankets for warmth.  They are light, easy to store and very warm.
  • Invest in some kerosene lamps and oil and keep enough in stock for several months of use.
  • Learn how to set up a portable toilet.
  • Get a sewing kit and learn how to darn holes etc.
  •  A Faraday cage may help protect your stuff, but it is not guaranteed.  There are plans online to build one, and at the very least you should have batteries, hand-held two-way radios (one for each member) and a good short wave radio (solar-powered preferred), plus extra components from your generator et all, as they will be blown if the generator is plugged in.  An old microwave may also protect stuff, so some sites suggest.

Large Faraday cages can get extremely complicated. For small portable electronics, though, completely covering the electronic equipment in aluminum foil makes an adequate Faraday cage around the equipment. So does an aluminum trash can.  There is also a solid metal aluminum briefcase available,  but it needs to be solid aluminum.  You can read more on this at: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/scalar_tech/esp_scalartech39.htmThe author has specific items that he suggests to buy for electronics, batteries (who knew Duracell was better?) etc.

  • Back up all of your important computer items on a CD or DVD, as they can be re-loaded at some point.
  • Consider getting or befriending a person with a car before 1990.  They “should” run with some advanced protection.  Keep it in good condition.  Extra gas too as gas stations will not be operable. Never let your tanks go below half full.  Note to self: fill up my empty tanks……
  • Invest in freeze-dried long-term food storage system.  You can buy food already prepared with a 25 year shelf life on the internet.  A good place is eFoodsDirect.com–but they are running short because FEMA is buying up the supply.  A longer term option is looking into hydroponics if you have some space in your home/apartment, as your food supply will run out over months.  If you have land, buy seeds NOW–this will go first.
  •  A medical kit.  I can’t say enough about studying essential oils.  A good site is www.naturalnews.com, although they are a little nutty at times.  Just take them with a grain of salt, they do know what they are talking about when it comes to uses of essential oils for self-care.
  • Water free products.  You don’t want to use your precious water for hair washing, dishwashing etc.  Don’t forget those, um, personal needs that strike at the worst times.  Although an IUD would solve that for everyone.  Yes, I am an advocate of this wonderous device.  Think of the mounds of trash I have saved my local landfill.  Just saying.
  • Ditch the pet stuff.  Just eat them. It is kinder.  I know this comment, if you get this far, will cause howls of anger, but do you want to see your beloved pets suffer?  I don’t.  In Biblical times, it got so bad that they ate their children.  Now I am not advocating that…..

I challenge you to simulate a completely electric free weekend.  Figure out how you will feed yourself, light your rooms, warm yourself, go to the bathroom, have clean water and entertain yourself etc.  And no cheating.  No TV, computer, showers etc.  I would love to hear your stories. I am thinking of trying this to see how I fare.  But first I have to get a portable toilet…..

So what have you done to prepare?  Do you have any ideas? I would love to read what you have done to prepare!  Comments about shooting neighbors and taking their stuff will be deleted.  LOL


3 comments on “Our Fragile Electical System

  1. A great wellspring of wisdom and information about how to live in post-apocalyptic times is the Mormon people. I lived in Utah for two years and learned an immense amount about long-term survival post-apocalypse, which is what we are really talking about here. Remember, the Mormons are all directed to have a three-year supply of everything necessary. That’s gone down to six months in the last ten years or so. I trust their leadership: they know. There is a standard inventory list for the storeroom that is mandatory for each Mormon household. It includes a 55 gallon drum full of hard Durum wheat, to be hand-ground with a hand-grinder (um, redudant), a sufficient number of 55 gallon drums of water according to the number of people in the household-all stock gets rotated so it doesn’t go bad. They also stockpile animal feed! I’m too tired to look up websites right now, but it’s all available. I have modeled my own preparations on what I learned from the Mormons, and have lived off the grid completely for a five-year period. I’m back on the grid now, but could be off at any time. Of course I live in the country and have about six months’ firewood supply and an outhouse, which helps! But you’re wise to prepare now, because it’s only a matter of time, whether by solar flare or courtesy of our non-friends in China, Iran, or fall-out from a nuclear battle in the Middle East…am I optimistic? No.

    BTW, what’s the deal with the IUD? I thought they caused heavier periods in general. Is there some new-fangled thing since I was young, fertile, and in practice? Medical, I mean LOL!!!!

    • LOL, only you would have the all knowing guide for living off the grid! You are the quintessential Survivor–HAHA that is what you should do, go on survivor and win it! Moola!
      As to IUD, after about 6 months of some spotting the Mirena will stop you cold. Best thing in the world.

      • Wow! My first and last experience with an IUD was the infamous Dalcon Shield….I wish I had known what a lawsuit was back then….http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalkon_Shield because although I did not even have it in long enough to get any of the horrible events described in the article, the damage caused by merely inserting it and removing it a few days later because of the unbearable pain (something really went wrong, and I was only 17) had life-long reproductive repercussions. Yay science!

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