Tag Archives: electric

Solar EMP: Lights Out

(Survival Manual/Prepper articles/Solar EMP: Lights Out)

A.  Near miss: Enormous solar blast could have devastated Earth in 2012
20 March 2014, RT.com
Pasted from: http://rt.com/usa/solar-blast-devastated-earth-2012-161/

EMP flareReuters/NASA

Citizens of Earth had no idea how close the planet was to getting slammed with a devastating solar flare back in July 2012, but scientists claim we only missed the damaging event by nine days.

As noted by Reuters, scientists found that a series of coronal mass ejections – powerful eruptions on the sun’s surface that send waves of magnetized plasma through the solar system – occurred last year sometime between July 22 and 23. The blasts traveled through Earth’ orbit, but narrowly missed colliding with the planet.

According to a new report published in the Nature Communications journal on Tuesday, if the solar eruptions occurred just nine days earlier, they would have likely hit Earth and caused a great deal of damage to the planet’s magnetic field. Fortunately for us, the Earth was on the other side of the sun by that point.

Scientists believe the blast would have equaled the might of the most powerful magnetic storm ever recorded: the Carrington event of 1859, which took down telegraph services around the world.

“Had it hit Earth, it probably would have been like the big one in 1859, but the effect today, with our modern technologies, would have been tremendous,” Janet Luhmann, part of the STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Observatory) team a University of California Berkley researcher, said to Reuters.

Specifically, a blast that powerful could bring down electrical grids, knock down satellites and GPS technology, and ultimately cost nations billions of dollars in damages. Considering modern society’s reliance on such technology to function, it would be extremely disruptive.

EMP sensorAFP photo/EPFL

Last year, a study produced with the Atmospheric and Environmental Research group found that a solar flare equivalent to Carrington could cost the world $2.6 trillion.

“An extreme space weather storm – a solar superstorm – is a low-probability, high-consequence event that poses severe threats to critical infrastructures of the modern society,” said Ying Liu, a physicist at China’s State Key Laboratory of Space Weather to Forbes.

“The cost of an extreme space weather event, if it hits Earth, could reach trillions of dollars with a potential recovery time of 4-10 years,” Liu added. “Therefore, it is paramount to the security and economic interest of the modern society to understand solar superstorms.”

Although flares occur every day during the sun’s solar maximum – a period in the sun’s cycle highlighted by increased solar activity – they are rarely as powerful as the one that struck Earth in 1859. Still, the amount of damage they can inflict means preparation is tough but necessary,

People keep saying that these are rare natural hazards, but they are happening in the Solar System even though we don’t always see them,” Luhmann told Forbes. “It’s like with earthquakes – it is hard to impress upon people the importance of preparing unless you suffer a magnitude 9 earthquake.”


B.  What Would You Do If The Lights Went Out? American Power Grid Danger – 2014! EMP? Terrorists?

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Solar EMP: The threat

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Solar EMP: The threat)

A.  NASA Plans for Large Scale Failure, Power Grid is “Particularly Vulnerable to Bad Space Weather”
7 June 2010, SHTFPlan.com, by Mac Slavo
Pasted from: https://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/nasa-plans-for-large-scale-failure-power-grid-is-particularly-vulnerable-to-bad-space-weather_06072010

empthreat sunFor many it’s either tin foil conspiracy theory or an action packed Hollywood Armageddon flick. For the National Aeronautics and Space Administration it’s a serious threat, with the potential to wipe out the technologically driven lives we’ve become so used to.

Our sun is approaching a period of high turbulence, referred to as the solar maximum, with many scientists suggesting a peak in activity around 2013. The cycle occurs every 11 years, and the next time around it is predicted to be one of the weakest in decades. However, some contrary opinions hold that the next solar maximum may be stronger than we expect, citing a 26,000 year galactic alignment cycle, scheduled to occur on or around 2012, eerily coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar.

One organization that isn’t taking any chances is NASA. As the sun begins to awaken, scientists are keeping a close eye on space weather:

“The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we’re getting together to discuss.”

The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report entitled “Severe Space Weather Events Societal and Economic Impacts.” It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.

A 132-page NASA funded report titled Severe Space Weather Events Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts, suggests that the right magnitude storm could be devastating:

The problem begins with the electric power grid. “Electric power is modern society’s cornerstone technology on which virtually all other infrastructures and services depend,” the report notes. Yet it is particularly vulnerable to bad space weather. Ground currents induced during geomagnetic storms can actually melt the copper windings of transformers at the heart of many power distribution systems. Sprawling power lines act like antennas, picking up the currents and spreading the problem over a wide area. The most famous geomagnetic power outage happened during a space storm in March 1989 when six million people in Quebec lost power for 9 hours.

According to the report, power grids may be more vulnerable than ever. The problem is interconnectedness. In recent years, utilities have joined grids together to allow long-distance transmission of low-cost power to areas of sudden demand. On a hot summer day in California, for instance, people in Los Angeles might be running their air conditioners on power routed from Oregon. It makes economic sense, but not necessarily geomagnetic sense. Interconnectedness makes the system susceptible to wide-ranging “cascade failures.”

To estimate the scale of such a failure, report co-author John Kappenmann of the Metatech Corporation looked at the great geomagnetic storm of May 1921, which produced ground currents as much as ten times stronger than the 1989 Quebec storm, and modeled its effect on the modern power grid. He found more than 350 transformers at risk of permanent damage and 130 million people without power. The loss of electricity would ripple across the social infrastructure with “water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in 12-24 hours; loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, fuel re-supply and so on.”

“The concept of interdependency,” the report notes, “is evident in the unavailability of water due to long-term outage of electric power–and the inability to restart an electric generator without water on site.”

empthreat power sys

What if the May 1921 superstorm occurred today? A US map of vulnerable transformers with areas of probable system collapse encircled.

The potential for major disruptions to our lives and our modern day just-in-time delivery systems could lead to total chaos in affected areas:

“A contemporary repetition of the Carrington Event would cause extensive social and economic disruptions,” the report warns. Power outages would be accompanied by radio blackouts and satellite malfunctions; telecommunications, GPS navigation, banking and finance, and transportation would all be affected. Some problems would correct themselves with the fading of the storm: radio and GPS transmissions could come back online fairly quickly. Other problems would be lasting: a burnt-out multi-ton transformer, for instance, can take weeks or months to repair. The total economic impact in the first year alone could reach $2 trillion, some 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina or, to use a timelier example, a few TARPs.

Had the report(s) come from a random SHTF Planning and Preparedness site, we could understand skepticism from the general public. But, since the warnings are coming from NASA, we suggest that citizens interested in preserving their well being, safety and security take note.

While the Quebec incident was a short-term, nine hour down-grid scenario, the US power grid is very much susceptible to a cascading, domino effect across our electrical infrastructures. As suggested by NASA, this would not be limited to your inability to watch television or turn on the lights, but could be much more widespread, affecting critical utility and transportation systems that deliver our food and fuel.
It is quite reasonable to suggest that any significant adverse solar weather event could lead to mass chaos across the entire country as people scramble to acquire necessities like food, water, medicine and secure shelter.

And if the response from our federal, state and local government officials is anything like Hurricane Katrina or the BP oil spill, an event of such magnitude may take weeks, perhaps months to mitigate.


B.  9 Electric Power Grid Substations Will Bring It All Down
17 March 2014, ModernSurvivalBlog.com, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/systemic-risk/9-electric-power-grid-substations-will-bring-it-all-down/

empthreat usa

Attackers could bring down the entire power grid of the United States in just a few moves, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Federal analysis says sabotage of just nine key substations is sufficient for a broad power outage from New York to Los Angeles.

The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs launch a coordinated attack and knock out just nine of the country’s 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a hot summer day while the systems are under a strained load, according to a previously unreported federal analysis.

The study’s results have been known for months to select people in federal agencies, Congress and the White House, but were reported publicly for the first time Wednesday (MAR-12). The WSJ did not publish a list of the 30 most critical substations identified by the FERC study.

The study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that coordinated attacks in each of the nation’s three separate electric systems could cause the entire power network to collapse, people familiar with the research said.

Electric substations are critical to the functionality of the electric grid. Their transformers boost the voltage to very high levels which enables efficient transmission across long distances. The levels are then brought back down to usable levels by similar transformers. On a hot summer day, with the grid operating at high capacity, FERC found that taking out the right amount of substations could lead to a national blackout lasting months.

One particularly troubling memo reviewed by the Journal described a scenario in which a highly-coordinated but relatively small scale attack could send the country into a long-term literal dark age. “Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer,” the memo said.

Informational Source: The Wall Street Journal
See at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304020104579433670284061220
The fact that the mainstream media is reporting this, is itself ‘telling’.

If we were to experience an event as described here, tens of millions would perish in today’s modern ‘dependent’ society. Breaking out of our normalcy bias and preparing ones-self for such a catastrophe would be life altering, with a tremendous dedication of time and resources to adapt a fundamental change to how and where we live our lives.

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Solar flare EMP (electromagnetic pulse)

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Solar flare EMP)

Solar Flares, Coronal Mass Ejections and the Carrington Effect
The ‘Super Solar Flare’ of 1859
6 May 2008, Science1.NASA.gov, Authors: Trudy E. Bell & Dr. Tony Phillips
Excerpt pasted from: http://science1.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/06may_carringtonflare/
At 11:18 AM on the cloudless morning of Thursday, September 1, 1859, 33-year-old Richard Carrington—widely acknowledged to be one of England’s foremost solar astronomers—was in his well-appointed private observatory.
 Just as usual on every sunny day, his telescope was projecting an 11-inch-wide image of the sun on a screen, and Carrington skillfully drew the sunspots he saw. On that morning, he was capturing the likeness of an enormous group of sunspots. Suddenly, before his eyes, two brilliant beads of blinding white light appeared over the sunspots, intensified rapidly, and became kidney-shaped. Realizing that he was witnessing something unprecedented and “being somewhat flurried by the surprise,” Carrington later wrote, “I hastily ran to call someone to witness the exhibition with me. On returning within 60 seconds, I was mortified to find that it was already much changed and enfeebled.” He and his witness watched the white spots contract to mere pinpoints and disappear. What Carrington saw was a white-light solar flare—a magnetic explosion on the sun.

It was 11:23 AM, only five minutes had passed.

Just before dawn the next day (2 September), skies all over Earth erupted in red, green, and purple auroras so brilliant that newspapers could be read as easily as in daylight. Indeed, stunning auroras pulsated even at near tropical latitudes over Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Hawaii.
Even more disconcerting, telegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on fire. Even when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted.

The auroral current could be used for transmitting and receiving telegraphic dispatches. This was done between 8:30 and 11:00 in the morning, on September 2, 1859, on the wires of the American Telegraph Company between Boston and Portland, and upon the wires of the Old Colony and Fall River Railroad Company between South Braintree and Fall River, among others. The length of time during each positive wave was only, however, 15 to 60 seconds. The following account came from between Boston and Portland.

Boston operator (to Portland operator): “Please cut off your battery [power source] entirely for fifteen minutes.”
Portland operator: “Will do so. It is now disconnected.”
Boston: “Mine is disconnected, and we are working with the auroral current. How do you receive my writing?”
Portland: “Better than with our batteries on. – Current comes and goes gradually.”
Boston: “My current is very strong at times, and we can work better without the batteries, as the aurora seems to neutralize and augment our batteries alternately, making current too strong at times for our relay magnets. Suppose we work without batteries while we are affected by this trouble.”
Portland: “Very well. Shall I go ahead with business?”
Boston: “Yes. Go ahead.”

At which point, the Boston operator began transcribing 19th Century Vintage erotica (ok, just kidding on that one).
The conversation was carried on for around two hours using no battery power at all and working solely with the current induced by the aurora, and it was said that this was the first time on record that more than a word or two was transmitted in such manner.

Meanwhile on the early morning of 2 September 1859.
The clipper ship Southern Cross was off Chile when, at 1:30am, it sailed into a living hell. Hailstones from above and waves from all around whipped the deck. When the wind-lashed ocean spray fell away to leeward, the men noticed they were sailing in an ocean of blood. The color was reflected from the sky, which, they could see – even through the clouds – was wreathed in an all-encompassing red glow.
The sailors recognized the lights as the southern aurora that usually graced the skies near the Antarctic Circle, just as their northern counterparts cling to the Arctic. To see them from this far north was highly unusual. As the gale subsided, they witnessed an even more astonishing display. Fiery lights loomed against the horizon as if some terrible conflagration had engulfed the Earth. Vivid bolts flew across the now clear sky in spiral streaks and exploded in silent brilliance, as if the very souls of all humanity were fleeing whatever cataclysm had befallen the planet.
Upon their arrival at San Francisco, the ship’s company discovered that theirs was not an isolated experience. Two thirds of the Earth’s skies had been similarly smothered.

Effects of past ‘modern era’ storms on older, less sensitive electronics technology
“…..Fast-forward one hundred and fifty-three years to late 2012 or 2013 . A globalized world is extremely dependent upon electronic communications to operate banking, communications, health care, computers, transportation systems, and a massive electric grid serving billions of people. A super solar flare on the scale of the one in 1859 could shut down modernity for days, weeks, perhaps months depending on the size of the white solar flare eruption from within a sunspot. One could equate such a possible episode as a Cosmic Katrina-like event on a nearly global scale happening in say less than twenty-four hours and possibly affecting millions of people.

A giant solar storm is expected in the range of every one-to-five hundred years, but scientists today have no means to predict them only observe them hours before the electric charge hits the upper atmosphere of Earth. There may be sufficient time to power-down a few hundred of the orbiting satellites but electric power would probably be lost and the hard-drives of computers and servers may crash without hardened back-ups somewhere underground or otherwise properly shielded from the magnetic field….”

Still, more recent examples include the events of March 13, 1989, in which Hydro-Quebec’s power output was completely shut down within 92 seconds, courtesy of two solar CMEs. Power was restored in nine hours and a large transformer in New Jersey was destroyed. There was also the supply disruption that took place on Halloween 2003, including the destruction of 14 transformers in South Africa, which contributed significantly to that country’s long-running struggle to adequately provide its people and industries with electricity.

Aurora-induced power surges even melted power transformers in New Jersey. In December 2005, X-rays from another solar storm disrupted satellite-to-ground communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation signals for about 10 minutes. That may not sound like much, but as Lanzerotti noted, “I would not have wanted to be on a commercial airplane being guided in for a landing by GPS or on a ship being docked by GPS during that 10 minutes.”

Unfortunately, current projections by NASA suggest that we may soon be due for a CME on the scale of the 1859 event. According to Dr Richard Fisher, director of the agency’s heliophysics division, solar flare activity varies in accordance with an 11-year cycle and is currently emerging from a quiet period, while the sun’s magnetic energy peaks every 22 years. As a result, solar activity is set to reach its maximum during the 2012-2015 period.
The point of greatest vulnerability in our electricity networks is the transformer.
A simulation conducted by Metatech indicated that a geomagnetic storm roughly 10 times the strength of that seen in 1989 could melt the copper windings of around 350 of the highest voltage transformers in the US,  effectively knocking out a third of the entire US power grid and impacting an area 10 times that of the 1989 storm. Furthermore, the large size of the damaged transformers would effectively prevent field repairs and in most cases, new units would have to be shipped in from abroad, ensuring that their replacement would take weeks or even months. Given that other countries could also be adversely affected and that the majority of transformers are manufactured in Brazil, China, Europe and India, there is no guarantee that the US would be the first priority for resupply in such an event.

Although the industry has weathered geomagnetic storms of the highest (K9) classification since 1989 with little impact on performance, thanks to specialized operating procedures, all these storms were much less intense than the 1989 storm.
Vulnerability has been increased by the fact that in the US, there has been a marked increase in the voltages used in today’s networks. Now, networks operate at around 345-765kV, compared to the 100-200kV design thresholds seen in the 1950s. The higher the voltage, the lower the resistive impedance per unit distance and the higher the geomagnetically-induced currents (GICs) generated in the event of an EMP.

Solar Flare Classifications
Class                         Effects
A                                   none
B                                   none
C                                   C flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth. (think, rain)
M                                  M flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth’s polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow an M-class flare. (think, thunderstorm)
X                                   X flares are big; they are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. (think, hurricane)

Some notable events
1)  ‘Valentine’s day’ X2.2 flare occurred Tue. 15 Feb 2011, particles began arriving at Earth Fri. 18 Feb 2011. This was kind of a small one, it wasn’t a big solar eruption, about one-tenth of the biggest that we have ever seen. *It wiped out radio communications in the Western Pacific Ocean and parts of Asia and caused airlines to reroute some polar flights to avoid radio outages.
2)  X28  The largest measured solar flare occurred on November 4, 2003, fortunately this flare only grazed Earth. The x-rays from this storm were so powerful that it overloaded the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) that was measuring the sun.
3)  X20 Flares on April 2, 2001 and August 16, 1989. Had these flares been pointing at the Earth, the damage to the satellites and power systems could have been substantial.
4)  2 September 1859: There was a solar storm (discussed above) that hit in the late 19th century; had it occurred today would probably take out most of the world’s power grids, it could induce electrical currents that would knock out at least 300 of the USA’s main transformers cutting off power to 130 million people, all within 90 seconds.

The solar flare events
•   Solar Flares: Arrival Time: Instantaneous, Effect Duration: 1-2 hours
•   Solar Proton Event: Arrival Time: 15 minute to a few hours, Effect Duration: Days
•   Coronal Mass Ejection: Arrival time: 2 or 4 days, Effect Duration: Days
•   The UV and light effects of a solar flare arrive at Earth in about 8 minutes traveling at the speed of light. Particles ejected from a powerful, concentrated explosion may arrive in as soon as 12 hours and are referred to as a plasma bullet’. Typically, the technology disrupting CME’s charged particle storm front take about 3 days to travel the 93 million mile intervening distance.
• Each category for x-ray flares has nine subdivisions ranging from, example, C1 to C9, M1 to M9, and X1 to X9+.
• Solar Flares are not visible from earth with the naked eye.

Solar Tsunami Responsible for Higher Incidence of Sneezing Around World
The latest solar flare, one of the strongest felt in decades, has been likened to a solar tsunami that seems to be coming in waves and crashing into the earth’s atmosphere.
What was originally thought to be nothing more than a nuisance causing an hour or two of mild electronic disruptions on the morning of August 4th, 2011 has now turned a bit more sinister. There continue to be intermittent outages of radio and television broadcasts as well as cell phone and internet services well into day two of the flare.
The most bizarre by-product of the solar tsunami seems to be an unusually high amount of sneezing going on all over the world. People are calling clinics and emergency rooms asking if there is anything that can be done about the non-stop sneezing they are experiencing when outdoors…
Residents in extremely sunny locales around the globe are cautioned to remain indoors until the threat of solar flare-induced sneezing has passed. Symptoms include an itching in the nostrils and then a sneeze, sometimes coming in rapid succession. It is not know how the solar flare is affecting the outer body but residents are warned against going outdoors without wearing protective clothing until more information can be gathered on this most unusual occurrence.

What happens if the industry fails?
Assuming a CME of sufficient magnitude was to knock out power supplies across the US for a period of several weeks, the most pressing immediate issue, particularly in arid states such as Nevada would be the loss of water supplies, due to the lack of electricity to pump water. In terms of time scale, the UK’s National Risk Register, points out that loss of mobile communications occurs within one hour of disruption, water and sewerage within six hours.
Other important concerns include the knock-on effects in terms of primary fuels. Coal mining operations require electricity supplies as do oil and gas extraction. As of writing, the US has around 23 days of crude oil and gasoline supply in hand (and ~44 days of distillates). However, electric pumps are needed to deliver oil and gas via pipelines and even to deliver petrol at the pumps.

There are also the massive logistical issues that energy companies would be faced with in the event of a long-lasting power disruption. In the absence of computers and electronic records, ensuring steady deliveries of fuel would become a nightmare, not least due to the horrors of processing transactions when all major financial institutions are effectively compromised. Furthermore, the potential for civil disorder would create an unwelcome dilemma for any workers, given the conflict between keeping watch over their families and reporting for duty.

In the case of the UK, the National Risk Register, which was revised this April, warns that organizations should “prepare for the possibility of total loss of electricity for an entire region for up to 24 hours, and to some rural areas for up to one week.” It somewhat confidently states that “if there is an unexpected shutdown of the grid, power will begin to be restored across the grid over three days.” Given the issues associated with transformer replacement as detailed, earlier, this suggests that UK contingency plans may be inadequate in the event of a major GMD (geomagnetic disturbance).

The ice storm that affected Eastern Canada in 1998 and its immediate aftermath is a good example of what happens when electricity supplies are disrupted. It left 4 million people without electricity and resulted in the cessation of almost all economic activity for weeks. Only the continued operation of a single power line to the Montreal island prevented the need to evacuate 1m people due to water shortages. The disruption  is estimated to have cost US$5-7bn for all affected areas. In contrast, a similar outage in 1961 had much less of an effect, as the transition to IT-based systems for infrastructure had yet to take place.

The National Academy of Sciences puts the total economic cost of a widespread power disruption triggered by solar activity at 20 times that of Hurricane Katrina, which after devastating New Orleans, racked up damages equivalent to around US$125bn. At US$2.5tn, this would be roughly equivalent to 17.5 per cent of entire US annual GDP. It also warns that such an event could knock out GPS navigation, air travel and emergency radio communications, adding to the difficulties in bringing an appropriate response to bear.

Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe
(Excerpts) – “IT IS midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colorful light. Few New Yorkers have seen the aurora this far south but their fascination is short-lived. Within a few seconds, electric bulbs dim and flicker, then become unusually bright for a fleeting moment. Then all the lights in the state go out. Within 90 seconds, the entire eastern half of the US is without power.
“A fierce solar storm could lead to a global disaster on an unprecedented scale.”
“A year later and millions of Americans are dead and the nation’s infrastructure lies in tatters. The World Bank declares America a developing nation. Europe, Scandinavia, China and Japan are also struggling to recover from the same fateful event – a violent storm, 150 million kilometers away on the surface of the sun.
“It sounds ridiculous. Surely the sun couldn’t create so profound a disaster on Earth. Yet an extraordinary report funded by NASA and issued by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in January this year claims it could do just that.”
“We’re moving closer and closer to the edge of a possible disaster,” says Daniel Baker, a space weather expert based at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and chair of the NAS committee responsible for the report.
“From time to time,” the report says, the solar wind “carries a billion-ton glob of plasma, a fireball known as a coronal mass ejection. If one should hit the Earth’s magnetic shield, the result could be truly devastating.”
“The incursion of the plasma into our atmosphere causes rapid changes in the configuration of Earth’s magnetic field which, in turn, induce currents in the long wires of the power grids. The grids were not built to handle this sort of direct current electricity.”
“A severe space weather event in the US could induce ground currents that would knock out 300 key transformers within about 90 seconds, cutting off the power for more than 130 million people.”
First to go – immediately for those in high-rise buildings – is drinkable water.
With no trains, no trucks, no cars (filling stations wouldn’t be able to pump gas) supermarket shelves would empty very quickly.
Back-up generators would run out of fuel in less than 72 hours. After that, hospitals shut down. No more modern healthcare. And with the factories shuttered, no more medications.
And forget nuclear power. The stations are programmed to shut down in the event of serious grid problems and are not allowed to restart until the power grid is up and running, the report says.
With no power for heating, cooling or refrigeration systems, people could begin to die within days.
“It could conceivably be the worst natural disaster possible,” the report says, “a planetary disaster.”  “It is questionable whether the US would ever bounce back.”
See entire article by Michael Brooks.

Solar flares: the threat to come
8/1/10, Alt-Country.org, by Dr Samuel Fenwick
Excerpt from: http://alt-country.org/Thread.aspx?ID=3048352
Recent warnings by NASA that the Sun’s current lack of activity may soon come to an end with dire implications for the world’s power sector have refocused attention on the effort being made to harden the world’s electricity networks against electromagnetic interference.
Current projections by NASA suggest that we may soon be due for a CME on the scale of the 1859 event. According to Dr Richard Fisher, director of the agency’s heliophysics division, solar flare activity varies in accordance with an 11-year cycle and is currently emerging from a quiet period, while the sun’s magnetic energy peaks every 22 years. As a result, solar activity is set to reach its maximum during the 2012-2015 period.
The point of greatest vulnerability in our electricity networks is the transformer. A simulation conducted by Metatech indicated that a geomagnetic storm roughly 10 times the strength of that seen in 1989 could melt the copper windings of around 350 of the highest voltage transformers in the US,  effectively knocking out a third of the entire US power grid and impacting an area 10 times that of the 1989 storm.
Furthermore, the large size of the damaged transformers would effectively prevent field repairs and in most cases, new units would have to be shipped in from abroad, ensuring that their replacement would take weeks or even months. Given that other countries could also be adversely affected and that the majority of transformers are manufactured in Brazil, China, Europe and India, there is no guarantee that the US would be the first priority for resupply in such an event. Although the industry has weathered geomagnetic storms of the highest (K9) classification since 1989 with little impact on performance, thanks to specialized operating procedures, all these storms were much less intense than the 1989 storm.

Massive Solar Storm Could Cause Catastrophic Nuclear Threat in US
6 August 2011, International Business Times, By Satya Nagendra Padala
Excerpt pasted from: http://www.ibtimes.com/massive-solar-storm-could-cause-catastrophic-nuclear-threat-us-825205
“A severe solar storm could cause global chaos, wrecking satellite communications and would take down the most important power grids in the world for a period of years.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts four “extreme” and many “severe” solar emissions which could threaten the planet during the current decade. NASA has warned that a peak in the sun’s magnetic energy cycle and the number of sun spots or flares around 2013 could generate huge radiation levels.
This is a special problem in the United States and especially a severe threat in the eastern United States. Government studies showed that “extreme” solar flare emissions can cause blackouts for weeks, months or even years, in very large areas of the nation.

An extremely large solar storm would induce geomagnetic currents that could destroy a substantial fraction of the very largest transformers on the power grid.  If this happened, electric power loss due to a large solar storm would be out for a period of years and possibly decades.

Last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that U.S. plants affected by a blackout should be able to cope without electricity for atleast eight hours and should have procedures to keep the reactor and spent-fuel pool cool for 72 hours.
Nuclear plants depend on standby batteries and backup diesel generators. Most standby power systems would continue to function after a severe solar storm, but supplying the standby power systems with adequate fuel, when the main power grids are offline for years, could become a very critical problem.

If the spent fuel rod pools at the country’s 104 nuclear power plants lose their connection to the power grid, the current regulations are not sufficient to guarantee those pools won’t boil over, exposing the hot, zirconium-clad rods and sparking fires that would release deadly radiation.

A recent report by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory discloses that over the standard 40-year license term of nuclear power plants, solar flare activity provides a 33 percent chance of long-term power loss. This is a risk far greater than most other natural disasters, including major earthquakes and tsunamis…”

Hope n’ Change
Our highly technological modern society is great in a lot of ways…and really, really bad in one specific way: it’s very delicate.   The electronics, computers, and circuit boards that run everything in our lives could be instantly fried by either a naturally occurring solar flare, or the “electro-magnetic pulse” of a single nuclear weapon fired high in our atmosphere.  Electricity would be shut off. Water, pumped from afar, would stop coming out of faucets. There would be no communications. Most recent cars wouldn’t run. Access to food and emergency care would be cut off. And in the resulting chaos, there are estimates that as much as 90% of Americans could die.
As if that wasn’t scary enough, we’re now entering a new period of strong solar activity – with a major X2 coronal ejection 15 February 2011.  The good news is that scientists have determined we could “harden” our electrical grid for $100 million dollars, and the House unanimously passed a resolution saying “Yes! Let’s do it! Quick!”
But in the Senate, they said “where are the votes for us if we fund this?” and, not finding any, they killed it. And maybe us. Of course, $100 million is a lot of money. But it’s only 1/1650th of what congress added to our debt in just one week. And only 1/260th of what the Democrats just decided to give to teachers’ unions to buy more votes for November.
By comparison, potentially saving the Earth seems like it could have been a pretty good deal. But since it didn’t happen, we can all continue to look toward the sun…and hope for no change.

 An Overview of Solar Activities
The Sun provides the energy needed for life to exist on Earth. Every so often, sunspots and solar flares occur on the Sun’s surface and can cause disruptions in our daily lives. From the invention of the telescope in the 17th Century to NASA’s Nimbus-7 satellite, innovations have allowed us to gaze into space and study the sun and moon in amazing detail. The sun is constantly changing and we have been studying sunspots, solar flares and other solar phenomena for hundreds of years.

The sun emits radiation across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.
• Visible: This part of the spectrum, which we can detect with our eyes, allows us to see and provides the energy for plants to produce food by photosynthesis.
• Ultraviolet (UV): We cannot see this part of the spectrum, but it can damage unprotected skin, producing anything from a mild to severe burn to skin cancer.
• Infrared: This part of the spectrum is made up of invisible rays that provide the heat that helps keep the Earth warm.
• Charged Particles: The sun continuously emits energy and particles that make up the solar wind. When the charged particles interact with the Earth’s magnetic field, particularly near the poles, the result is the aurora borealis, which is a spectacular display of color in the night sky.

1.  A gusty solar wind
The solar wind has a speed ranging from 300 to more than 1000 km/s, with an average of about 400 km/s. Its composition is very similar to the solar one, i.e., it’s 80% hydrogen with 20% Helium. However, as the outer solar atmosphere (solar corona) has an extreme temperature of about 1 million K, this highly rarefied gas is fully ionized, a condition called a gas plasma. Therefore, the solar wind is made mostly of protons (hydrogen nuclei) and free electrons (>50% of solar wind particles). This vast medium permeated by this steady outward stream of particles is often called the heliosphere, and extends to about 170 times the Sun-Earth distance where its merges with the interstellar medium.
Despite its very low density (about one particle per cubic cm at the distance of the Earth), the solar wind exerts a substantial dynamical pressure on the Earth magnetic field. The Earth magnetosphere thus takes the shape of an elongated “bubble” floating in the solar wind, with a bow shock on the Sun-facing side and a very long magneto tail away from the Sun. Acting as magnetic bottle, the magnetosphere stores particles originating in the solar wind in toroidal radiation belts, the so-called Van Allen belts, a few solar radii above the Earth Equator. One can then easily understand that any change in the speed, density and direction of the wind will cause deformations and compressions of this magnetic container with various drastic consequences that we will describe soon.

2.  Sunspots
Sunspots are dark areas that form and disappear on the surface of the Sun over periods of days or weeks. Sunspots are caused by concentrated magnetic fields that reduce the amount of energy flow to the surface of the sun from its interior. The reduced energy flow causes the area to cool from about 10,800 ºF (the average temperature of the Sun’s surface) to 7,600 ºF. Because sunspots are cooler than the rest of the Sun, they appear dark on the Sun’s surface. Sunspots are so big that all of planet Earth would fit into a sunspot.

3.  Solar Flares
Solar flares are the release, in a single burst, of energy in many forms – electro-magnetic (from radio waves through the visible spectrum to gamma rays and x-rays), energetic particles (protons and electrons), and matter that is so hot it is in the form of plasma. Flares are characterized by their brightness in x-rays. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration monitors the x-rays from the Sun with detectors on some of its satellites. Observations for the last few days are available at NOAA’s website, Today’s Space Weather.
Flares are closely related to the cycles of the Sun’s magnetic field, and they emerge from relatively cool, intensely magnetic regions of the solar surface – sunspots.
The energy released during a flare is typically ten million times greater than the energy released from a volcanic explosion. Even then, it only releases a fraction of the total energy emitted by the Sun every second. The radiation and radioactive particles released during solar flare activity can damage satellites and interrupt radio communications on Earth. Coronal mass ejections are the sudden release of large masses of plasma from the very hot corona, which is the atmosphere just above the surface of the sun. CMEs expand away from the Sun at speeds as high as 4 million miles per hours! The light and x-rays accompanying a CME reach earth in a few minutes. The mass of particles may take three to five days to arrive. Solar flares are occasionally accompanied by Coronal Mass Ejections.

4.  Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs)
A typical CME is composed of 1-10 billion tons of particles and combined with solar flares are the biggest “explosions” in our solar system, roughly approaching the power in ONE BILLION hydrogen bombs! See image at left.
Coronal mass ejections are the sudden release of large masses of plasma from the very hot corona, which is the atmosphere just above the surface of the sun. CMEs expand away from the Sun at speeds as high as 4 million miles per hours! The light and x-rays accompanying a CME reach earth in a few minutes. The mass of particles may take three to five days to arrive. (The associated picture, taken by the SOHO [Solar and Heliospheric Observatory] spacecraft, shows a CME.
Coronal mass ejections are more likely to have a significant effect on our activities than solar flares because they carry more material into a larger volume of interplanetary space, increasing the likelihood that they will interact with the Earth. CMEs typically drive shock waves that produce energetic particles that can be damaging to both electronic equipment and astronauts that venture outside the protection of the Earth’s magnetic field.

5.  Geomagnetic Storms
While a flare alone produces high-energy particles near the Sun, a CME can reach the Earth and disturb the Earth’s magnetosphere, setting off a geomagnetic storm. Often, these storms produce surges in the power grid and static on the radio, and, if the waves of energetic particles are strong enough, they can overload power grids and drown out radio signals. This type of activity can also affect ground to air, ship to shore, and navigational communication, military detection, and early warning systems.
Observing the ejection of CMEs from the Sun provides an early warning of geomagnetic storms. Only recently, with SOHO, has it been possible to continuously observe the emission of CMEs from the Sun and determine if they are aimed at the Earth.

“Solar Shield” experimental forecasting system studied
NASA has created a new project called “Solar Shield” in an effort to prevent damage to key transformers in the case of a severe solar storm.
Unfortunately, a report composed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009 warns that modern power systems, though several utilities have taken the necessary steps to strengthen and secure their power grids, have a “significantly enhanced vulnerability and exposure to effects of a severe geomagnetic storm.”
To protect power systems in the event that another powerful solar storm should occur, NASA has developed a project called “Solar Shield,” which has the potential to shelter high-voltage power lines that crisscross over North America. Considering the length of these power lines has “increased nearly 10 fold” since the beginning of the Space Age, it is critical to consider the effect a solar storm could have on power systems in the United States and throughout the world.
“Solar Shield is a new and experimental forecasting system for the North American power grid,” said Antti Pulkkinen, project leader and Catholic University of America research associate currently working with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “We believe we can zero in on specific transformers and predict which of them are going to be hit the hardest by a space weather event.”
Geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) are the main problems when it comes to power grids during geomagnetic storms. When a CME approaches Earth’s magnetic field, it causes the field to shake. This quiver causes currents from the ground to Earth’s upper atmosphere, and powerful GICs can trip breakers, overload circuits and melt the windings of transformers. Transformer damage leads to large-scale blackouts, and these transformers cannot be repaired in the field. They must be replaced, which is both expensive and time consuming.
“Solar Shield springs into action when we see a coronal mass ejection (CME) billowing away from the sun,” said Pulkkinen. “Images from SOHO and NASA’s twin STEREO spacecraft show us the cloud from as many as three points of view, allowing us to make a 3D model of the CME, and predict when it will arrive.”
The CME typically takes 24 to 48 hours to cross the Sun-Earth divide. During this time, NASA researchers at the Goddard Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC) are gathering physics-based computer programs to model the CME. Thirty minutes before impact, ACE, a spacecraft stationed 1.5 million km “upstream from Earth,” uses its sensors to make in situ measurement’s of the CME’s magnetic field, density and speed, then sends the data to the Solar Shield team on Earth. The data is fed into CCMC computers where models predict currents and fields in Earth’s upper atmosphere and transmit this information to the ground. The Solar Shield team is then prepared to send alerts to utilities with details about the GICs.

ACE Spacecraft
The Earth is constantly bombarded with a stream of accelerated particles arriving not only from the Sun, but also from interstellar and galactic sources. Study of these energetic particles, or cosmic rays, contributes to our understanding of the formation and evolution of the solar system, as well as the astrophysical processes involved. The Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft carries six high-resolution sensors and three monitoring instruments to sample low-energy particles of solar origin and high-energy galactic particles.
From a vantage point approximately 1/100 of the distance from the Earth to the Sun, ACE performs measurements over a wide range of energy and nuclear mass, under all solar wind flow conditions and during both large and small particle events including solar flares. ACE provides near-real-time solar wind information over short time periods. When reporting space weather, ACE can provide an advance warning (about one hour) of geomagnetic storms that can overload power grids, disrupt communications on Earth, and present a hazard to astronauts.
ACE orbits the L1 libration point which is a point of Earth-Sun gravitational equilibrium, about 1.5 million km from Earth and 148.5 million km from the Sun. The elliptical orbit affords ACE a prime view of the Sun and the galactic regions beyond.

Sun’s protective heliosphere ‘bubble’ is shrinking
The protective bubble around the sun that helps to shield the Earth from harmful interstellar radiation is shrinking and getting weaker, NASA scientists have warned.
By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent 1:30PM BST 18 Oct 2008
New data has revealed that the heliosphere, the protective shield of energy that surrounds our solar system, has weakened by 25 per cent over the past decade and is now at it lowest level since the space race began 50 years ago.
Scientists are baffled at what could be causing the barrier to shrink in this way and are to launch mission to study the heliosphere.
Dr. Nathan Schwadron, co-investigator on the IBEX mission at Boston University, said: “The interstellar medium, which is part of the galaxy as a whole, is actually quite a harsh environment. There is a very high energy galactic radiation that is dangerous to living things.
“Around 90 per cent of the galactic cosmic radiation is deflected by our heliosphere, so the boundary protects us from this harsh galactic environment.” The heliosphere is created by the solar wind, a combination of electrically charged particles and magnetic fields that emanate a more than a million miles an hour from the sun, meet the intergalactic gas that fills the gaps in space between solar systems. At the boundary where they meet a shock wave is formed that deflects interstellar radiation around the solar system as it travels through the galaxy.
Without the heliosphere the harmful intergalactic cosmic radiation would make life on Earth almost impossible by destroying DNA and making the climate uninhabitable. Measurements made by the Ulysses deep space probe, which was launched in 1990 to orbit the sun, have shown that the pressure created inside the heliosphere by the solar wind has been decreasing.
Dr David McComas, principal investigator on the IBEX mission, said: “It is a fascinating interaction that our sun has with the galaxy surrounding us. This million mile an hour wind inflates this protective bubble that keeps us safe from intergalactic cosmic rays. “With less pressure on the inside, the interaction at the boundaries becomes weaker and the heliosphere as a whole gets smaller.”
If the heliosphere continues to weaken, scientists fear that the amount of cosmic radiation reaching the inner parts of our solar system, including Earth, will increase.

Potential Health Effects
Solar flares and coronal mass ejections result in the release of radiation across the spectrum, from x-rays to light waves to fast-moving protons to plasma. We know that satellites can be affected (even made non-functional) and astronauts need to be aware of the risk and seek shelter during these storms. Astronauts on the Space Station receive increased exposure during these solar phenomena. The energetic particles from a flare or CME would be dangerous to an astronaut on a mission to the Moon or Mars. As for sunspots, they are merely cooler regions of the sun and do not cause any particular harm.
Out of all of the Sun’s activities, it is actually the Sun’s UV rays that pose the greatest risk to human health.

What you can do to protect yourself (on a normal, daily basis)
UV rays pose a much greater risk to human health than the radiation from the Sun’s other activities. Here are some of the ways in which you can better protect yourself from the Sun’s harmful UV rays:
•  Cover Up: Wear tightly woven, loose-fitting, and full-length clothing.
•  Wear Sunglasses that Block 99-100% of UV Radiation: Sunglasses that provide 99-100% UVA and UVB protection greatly reduce sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and other eye damage.
•  Always Use Sunscreen: Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher liberally on exposed skin. Reapply every 2 hours, or after working, swimming, playing, or exercising outdoors.
•  Check daily the UV Index: The UV Index provides important information to help people plan outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. This information is commonly found near weather predictions in newspapers and on the internet sites, like EPA’s Sunwise UV Index site.

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Emergency shelter

(Survival manual/ 4. Shelter issues/Emergency shelter)

 Building a Survival Shelter
There are many books and DVDs on survival and most of them cover the survival shelter. God forbid that you’ve ever in an emergency situation requiring you to survive in one. What follows is a visual listing of several potentially life saving shelters, going from a true emergency to the garden shed- cabin concept.

Poncho shelters

Primitive Lean-to Shelter
The lean-to  is the simplest and fastest Survival Shelter to build.
You will need a horizontal branch which can be tied between two trees or supported by two branches crossed over. Then branches are leaned against the wind side to create an angled roof. The roof can than be covered with branches, grass, leaves or moss.
This one is usually found near a survival cache. It’s a spot where all the basics are covered like shelter, weapons, 3 days worth of food, and water gathering materials. You make this camp in preparation of moving to a better more permanent location soon.  They are great for those of us that like being
able to Bug Out quickly without a second thought.
•  Advantages: Very quick to set up,  easily hidden, cheap.
•  Disadvantages: temporary, not easily defended, limited supplies.

Debris Hut
A debris hut is a good option when in search of warmth and it is also easy to construct.
1)  It is built by constructing a simple tripod using two short stakes and one long “ridgepole,” a sturdy pole which  runs down the length of the shelter.
2 )  Large sticks are then propped up along the length of the ridgepole. This is the shelters “ribbing.”
3)  Next, in a way similar to the building of the vertical ribbing, smaller sticks are placed horizontally to make a criss-crossed pattern or latticework. This latticework will support the insulating materials.
4)  After insulating materials (leaves, grass, etc.) are collected, they are laid over the construction until the layer is one to two meters thick. Thicker for more insulation.
5)  The floor is then covered with a 12 inch layer of the material.
6) Then a pile of material is placed near the doorway. This pile is to  be dragged to the door in order to “shut” the door. Finally, the “ribbing” step is then repeated to hold the insulation material in place.

Once again in brief: To build a debris shelter you will need a sturdy ridge-pole this will need to be propped on a sturdy log or rock, When the ridge-pole is in place, you will need to place sticks close together along both sides at an angle, leaving an opening for a door. At this stage, it will look like a backbone with ribs. Cover the roof with branches, grass, leaves or moss. For inner insulation you will need to find the softest, driest debris  possible. Pad it out top to bottom, go inside and compress it. This Survival Shelter will keep you warm if done properly.

[Photo above: Literally, a “debris hut”, but one which works in an emergency situation.]


Pallet house #1
 The average life of a Refugee camp is 7 years, with some camps maintaining residency over 50 years. There is a need for an alternative shelter to the typical tent solution that can transform a temporary living condition into a permanent home.

Pallet House by I-Beam Design, was conceived as a transitional shelter for returning Refugees. It’s a good looking house, especially for a pallet house.

Pallet house #2
The floor is made from pallets with slates abutted to each other. Can be set on a stone foundation to keep  the wood off the ground. A simple 16 by 16 foot shelter can be created with 100 pallets.
[Picture at right: A more ambitious pallet house with an interior wall. Exterior can be covered with plastic sheets, tin, or thin plywood.]

Simple building designs that can be quickly and easily erected with common materials are becoming more and more essential as climate change and population growth push the limits of traditional building. Quick, affordable and sturdy housing will only be more in demand in the coming years, so ideas like the Pallet House can be invaluable for destabilized communities.

Micro Shelter

A mini/micro shelter designed as a tiny, easy to build “escape cube” (for indoors or out), and/or a super-affordable short-term shelter for the homeless or for hikers/travelers, etc. Total cost: Approx. $100-$110. It’s a mere 16 square feet inside, but “roomier” than you might think, for something mainly built out of two sheets of plywood. [For an emergency or remote camp where such a structure could be prepositioned, the concept of the above microshelter is as expedient as it is inexpensive. Made with full 8 feet long sheets of plywood it would provide a much larger, almost solid structure to sleep or escape into in the advent of inclement weather.]
The shelter also could be put on an elevated platform for security from some wildlife, or cranked up into a tree with a come- along; even mounted on a utility trailer frame and filled with other camping or emergency supplies for vacation or ‘bugging out’. The beauty of this shelter is that it can be built in under a day, by someone with very little building experience.  Build it yourself.

Ideas for a precut garden shed/ emergency shelter/ cabin
Lets say the basic structure will be a common wood product garden shed as seen below, including a view from the outside and inside. You might want to have an extra, optional window installed for cross ventilation (2 windows minimum). These sheds are commonly sold by Home Depot and Lowe’s and can be bought as a kit or  professionally constructed on site.

Exterior additions
By adding a lean-to roof to the shed, you have an outdoor ‘porch’ or workspace;  by enclosing the lean-to roof, the space becomes a shed or an additional room. Solar panels could be installed on the roof to maintain a 2-4  sealed, deep cycle battery electric storage capacity, with which to charge your personal electronics (cell phones, Ipod, iPad, CD player, portable DVD player), a fan, lap top computer and for night time illumination.


Once you see and can imagine everyday furnishings set in a garden shed and begin to think about electrifying that small space, the livability of such a common enclosure becomes evident.
An 8’x12′ or 10’x16′ gargen shed could easily become a comfortable, interm emergency dwelling.

Add preparedness functionality with:
Coleman stove set under window, several wash basins, Big Berky water filter, rain barrel, shed roof gutters, small wood burning stove with chimney or catalytic heater and appropriate size propane tank, bunk bed style camp cots, folding leaf table and chairs, porta-pottie, solar panel-battery storage, fan, 12 volt interior lighting, Zeer pot refrigerator, chest of drawers, overhead storage below rafters, outdoor clothes line….

With this concept in mind, all that you would need for ‘long’ term survival situation (this is not a complete list, but is a very good start) would be some cash, a bag of pre 1965 silver coins, a galvanized trash can filled with dry goods, another filled with canned foods, a stack of boxes of freeze dried and dehydrated foods, a solar oven, 1-2 sanitary fifty gallon drums of water with rainwater catchment or  several gallons of household bleach disinfectant, sleeping bags, cold and warm weather clothing (ie shorts, wide brim hat, long johns, hoodie, coat) some rat traps and conibear traps, a .22LR rifle and 12 gauge shotgun and  medications. The items in this last paragraph are- or will be, discussed in greater detail else where in Survival Manual, see the Categories or look under the Survival Manual tab at the top of the 4dtraveler home page.

Actual living conditions. What people have done, or are doing now…
In an emergency you CAN live in ‘small’ and you can probably do better than  much of what follows, below:

Russell Lee Home Sweet Hovel December 1936. “Mrs.Charles Benning sweeping steps of shack in Shantytown. Spencer, Iowa”

A temporary shelter packed in to a remote area piece meal, undergoing construction.

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Washing laundry (during an emergency)

(Survival manual/4. Shelter issues/Washing laundry)

Water and Wastewater quality
The effectiveness of your City’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants may be undermined during a high mortality pandemic or other local/regional disaster.
Current plans for antiviral and antibiotic use during a severe influenza pandemic could reduce wastewater treatment effectiveness prior to discharge into receiving rivers, resulting in deteriorating quality at drinking water abstraction points.
The research team concluded that, consistent with expectations, a mild pandemic (as in 2009) was projected to exhibit a negligible ecotoxicologic hazard. However in a moderate and severe pandemic nearly all Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants (80-100%) were projected to exceed the threshold for microbial growth inhibition, potentially reducing the capacity of the plant to treat water. In addition, a proportion (5-40%) of the River Thames was similarly projected to exceed key thresholds for environmental toxicity, resulting in potential contamination and eutrophication at drinking water abstraction points.


A.  How to do laundry by  hand, country-style,  #1
WordPress, Published May 5, 2009
“You can get a big tub and do your laundry by hand!” the Thai owners of my building announced happily when I asked them if there were any washing machines I could use, or some kind of laundry service.
Me: “Um….ok….um…how would I do that, exactly?”
I’ve washed one or two things out by hand in the sink, but any kind of large-scale laundry-washing endeavor has involved, WASHING MACHINES. But washing machines are actually rare here, especially the real, modern kind so hand-washing everything is pretty common.
Of course, any place poor enough for laundry machines to be a novelty probably has lots of people I could pay to do my laundry. However, I like doing chores myself. Also, while it’s easy to pay people to do stuff for you in Thailand, it can be quite hard to get things done the way you want — so in most cases it’s a lot simpler to do it yourself.

 Here’s how you wash laundry by hand:
1.  You need a big laundry tub, about 3 feet wide a laundry brush, and of course detergent. If you’re a princess like me, you need rubber gloves too. The giant tub is important, it really doesn’t work well to do a lot of laundry in your sink.
2.  Put water and detergent in the tub, then the laundry. Make sure everything is wet, then let it soak for 1/2 hour.
3.  Using the laundry brush, take each item of clothing and inspect it for stains, and give it a good scrub with the brush.
4.  Drain the water, and put in new, clean water.
5. Let stuff soak a little bit more.
6. Drain water, and twist out the water from each item. Once you have to twist out a towel or jeans, you will have a newfound appreciation for centrifugal force!
7. Hang each item on a hanger and put it out in the sun. In Thailand, where temperatures reach 104ºF, no one except hotels own dryers: it takes about an hour for clothes to dry in the afternoon sun.

B. Another way to wash by hand
1.  Heat the water in one of the tubs over a hot fire.
2.  Set the other two tubs up on blocks or a tree stump side by side
10-15 feet away from the fire.
3.  Make certain all tubs are secure.
4.  Fill one tub with boiling water, adding enough cold water to make it tolerable for your hands.
5.  Add a few white clothes to the wash water.
6.  Put the washboard in the tub and rub the surface with a bar of soap.
7.  Take a piece of laundry out of the water, lay it the length of and on top of the wash board. Rub soap on material.
8.  With the edge of the material held in your hand between thumb and fingers, begin to rub up and down the board with the heel of your hand, gathering and pulling the material toward you.
9.  Push the material down in the water and start from the beginning.
10.  Scrub each garment vigorously four to eight times.
11.  Dip into water, rinse, wring out water and put in next tub filled with warm rinse water.
12.  Rinse in second water, wring dry, and hang on clothesline.

C.  How to wash laundry by hand #3
If you are like me, you are always searching for ways to help the environment, get back to basics, and do things by hand. Well, washing your laundry by hand is a great way to start. This article can help you learn all of the different method you can use to wash your clothes by hand, and places to find the equipment you will need to get started.

Decide on how you are going to wash your clothes. Here are some of the way available.
You can use a simple basin and washboard. This method is cheap and effective. You simply apply the lye soap to the wet laundry, and scrub with a laundry brush against the washboard. You will probably need another basin with clean water to rinse your laundry.
Another option is to use a Rapid Washer. This is shaped like a plunger and used in about the same way. It really kicks out the dirt and grime.
If you really want to make a commitment to washing your clothes and laundry by hand, I would invest in a Lehman’s Hand Washer. It has a pivoting arm that really get the clothes clean, in only about 7 minutes per load! It is a more expensive option, but well worth it.
You will want to wring out your laundry before hanging it up to dry. This is a wringer, which can attach to your hand washer or to your basin. Simply wring the items of laundry through the wringer and it is ready to hang.
After your clothes are wrung out and ready to hang, you will want to put them up on a clothesline. You will also want to buy a lot of clothespins. String your line up between two trees, between your fence and your house, or on a free-standing unit.
Congratulations! You can now wash your clothes and laundry by hand!

D.  Laundry When the Wash Machine’s Out
This article will explain a couple of ways to do laundry when there is no wash machine handy. Why would we want to know this? There are several times in a survivalist’s life when he may find himself without a wash machine. The most common one would be while camping. We will look at this first.
I cannot claim to have discovered this technique, but I can tell you from experience that it works. I found it in one of “Ranger Rick” Tscherne’s Ranger Digests. For as long as I can remember, I’ve never packed more than one spare change of clothing in any backpack I’ve ever put up; whether it be for going to the field or as a BOB.  This is because I’ve always included two things that more than make up for the weight: a G.I. waterproof bag and a Ziploc full of laundry detergent. The waterproof bag has about two-dozen uses in the field, but in our case, we’re going to turn it into a hand-powered wash machine with agitating action.

1. Put one set of clothes-one shirt, one pair of trousers, a t-shirt, pair of socks and drawers-in the bag. To prolong the life of the bag, turn the pants inside out-if they’re BDUs, the metal take-up tabs on the sides will scratch the bag, and the buttons on blue jeans will do the same
2. Pour a quart (one canteen’s worth) of cold water into the bag, along with a mess-kit spoon’s worth of laundry soap. You can throw in a couple of SMOOTH river rocks if you have them, but this is not critical.
3. Close the bag up partway and squeeze most of the air out.
4. Finish closing the bag in the form of a “gooseneck” (instructions are printed on the side of the bag).
5. Squeeze, roll, mangle and toss the bag around for about five minutes. Really work the thing. You’ll hear it squish and squash. This is just what you want to happen.
6. Open the bag, wring out the clothes, pour in another quart of water, and repeat steps 1 through 5 until laundry is clean (may take two or three rinses).
7. Line-dry as you would normally. To get it to dry faster and avoid wrinkles, make sure your laundry is spread out as smoothly on the line as you can. I thread the line through the sleeves of BDU jackets and t-shirts; this seems to help.

Now suppose we’re at home, and there’s no power. Or, as was my case, suppose you find yourself “in between jobs” for a spell and really don’t want to waste money running the wash machine or going to the Laundromat? You still need clean clothes, as much from the standpoint of good morale as for hygiene’s sake (who wants to put on skuzzy old clothes after washing up?).

Anything you can throw in the wash machine can be hand washed. One of the best money-saving investments you can make is to go and buy an old-fashioned washboard and a drying rack. Washboards cost maybe $15.00 or so, last time I checked, and I bought a folding wood drying rack for about $5.00 at Wal-Mart. If you have a small, non-chain hardware store in your community, it’s a safe bet they’ll sell washboards. The Dollar Store may as well-you just might get lucky. Mine have paid for themselves many times over. If you have a large mop bucket, use it. Mop buckets use less water, and the washboard sits in there better than if you only use the bathtub.

Hand washing has one other advantage; namely, you can get really hard-to-clean clothes cleaner washing them by hand than any machine will do.
Start by “pre-treating” any really heavily soiled clothes. I work outdoors, and my blue jeans get filthy. No wash machine ever made has got the knees or the seam near the hems completely clean. Instead, I take a bristle brush and some cheap shampoo, dribble the latter on the problem area, and scrub the daylights out of it with the brush. They’ll fade more than in a washer, but that’s bound to happen anyway.
You can use the cheap shampoo trick right now, while you’re still using a wash machine. Just pre-treat stains and soils with some shampoo instead of the more expensive stuff, which is really only shampoo without the fragrance. It works wonders on grease and oils.

1.  To use a washboard, sit it in the bucket with about a gallon of water. Have a clean place to put clothes that have been washed-I use the bathtub. You can either use normal laundry soap or, if you really want to save money, use a bar of yellow Fels-Naptha brand soap. It’s a cake of soap that’s harder and slightly larger than normal bath soap bars. It costs around $2.00 or so and lasts for about seven or eight small loads of laundry.
2.  Take one piece of laundry, dunk it in the water, and lay it against the washboard. You don’t have to lay all of it against the washboard, just one part at a time. Rub the bar of soap against the clothing-it’ll be hard and will crumble a bit when it’s new or dry, but will be easier to work with after a while. Then just pretend you’re cleaning the washboard with the clothing. It’s a thing more easily done than described, but cleaning clothes like this is pretty intuitive, and you’ll get the hang of just how to do it in no time.
3.  You’ll also find that, after a while, the water gets pretty soapy, and that you may not need to rub the soap on the clothing at all. For clothes that aren’t soiled so much as “funky,” you may only need to squish them around in your hands for a while.
4.  After all your clothes have been washed, it’s time to rinse. This calls for a LOT of water, but the water doesn’t have to be drinkable, only clean. I’ve found that it usually takes two good rinsings to get the dirt and soap out. Wringing as much as possible out beforehand will save water.
Fill the bathtub with half of the water you intend to use (anywhere from three to six gallons is about right, depending on the size of the load). Swish and swirl the clothing around with your hands. You must make sure to get the soap out of the places you scrubbed it in, and this may take some elbow-grease. By the way, if you haven’t noticed, this is an awesome workout for the muscles of the hands, wrists and forearms!
5.  After you’re done rinsing, wring the clothes out and either line-dry them or hang them on a drying rack indoors. If you have a heat source, put the rack near it. An open window with a breeze wafting through will also help to dry things quicker. Remember again to lay things as flat as possible, or you’ll get wrinkles. Now it’s just a matter of time.

White bed linens, drawers and so forth should be bleached. What’s more, these articles can stand boiling water. Unless you have a huge cauldron on a wood-fire outside, you’ll just have to use the hottest water you can get. Linens and clothing used in caring for the sick should certainly be bleached and boiled if possible, but in any case bleached. Use household rubber gloves if you don’t want your hands looking and feeling like a concrete worker’s. If not directly soiled, whites can be swirled around in bleachy/soapy water in the tub with a wooden stick.

I’ve read one suggestion that has some merit to it, although I admit I’ve never tried it. A lady whom I hold in rather high regard made a sort of washer out of a 5-gallon bucket with lid, a plumber’s plunger and a ring washer similar to that used for protecting the wiring that goes through the firewall of a car. She bored a hole in the lid, fitted the washer through, and put the plunger inside. It looks like a butter churn would if they were made of plastic. As I said, I haven’t tried this, but there seems no reason why it shouldn’t work.

Woolens don’t necessarily need to be dry cleaned. Sweaters, blankets and such can be washed with Woolite, according to the instructions on the bottle. They should not be wrung or twisted, but rather laid flat and dried. It’ll take a good long while, but that’s what you pay to get wool’s other benefits.
One final tip. If you use Fels-Naptha soap, make sure to put it in a soap dish or something that’ll let it dry out. If you let it stay soggy, it’ll turn to mush and you’ll end up wasting most of it.
Washing things by hand is pretty simple, and it’s also really inexpensive. It also gets clothes cleaner than they would if you’d washed them in a machine. Trouble is, it’s awfully hard work. You can now see why people had so few clothes in the past.

eAudrey’s Luxuriant Soap and Crafts

 1.  Rendering Tallow
•   3-5 lbs. suet or other meat fat
•   water
•   2-4 Tbls. salt
•   sharp knife
•    large pot
•   long handled wooden spoon
•   safety goggles
•   rubber gloves
•   wood or stainless ladle
•   colander
•   primary mold

__1)  Cut or grind the suet into the smallest pieces possible. This will make it melt more easily.
__2)  Place ground suet into a pot. Make sure there is room for expansion as it heats.
__3)  Add 3 inches of water to pot. At this point, add the salt.
__4)  Set mixture over medium high heat and put on safety gear.
__5)  Stir mixture as it heats. Melt the suet into as much liquid as possible.
__6)  Allow a slow boil only. Mash the small pieces with the spoon. This could take up to two hours, depending on how much fat and how small the pieces.
__7)  Once the suet is liquefied, remove from heat. Pour or ladle it into a sieve or colander to remove any meat, sinew, or gristle. Mix the strained solids with peanut butter and put out for the birds.
__8)  Fill your primary mold with the strained mixture and refrigerate overnight.
__9)  Remove mold from fridge and turn upside down in the sink. Allow any extra water to drain away.
__10)  You now have a block of tallow. Refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to make a batch of basic soap.

2.  Basic Soap Instructions
__1)   Read directions for recipe to make sure you have the required ingredients and gear.
__2)  Use safety gloves and goggles or eyeglasses.
 __3)  Weigh the required amount of water (distilled is best) into one of the pitchers. To do this place an empty pitcher on the scale and set to zero. Now measure the amount of water.
__4)  Using the same method as above weigh the lye needed in the second pitcher.
__5)  Carefully pour the lye into the pitcher containing the water. You must avoid splashing-this is the most dangerous step! Never add the water to the lye.
__6)  Stir solution gently with a wooden spoon until dissolved. Make sure you have sufficient ventilation. Resist the temptation to lean over the pitcher to get a good look. You do not want to breathe anywhere near this container.
__7)  While the lye is cooling, melt the fats. The temperature of both must eventually be brought to 100 degrees simultaneously. If the lye solution cools too much, put the pitcher in a pan or bowl of hot water.
__8)  Double-check the temperatures of the lye and fat solutions to be sure they are 100-110 degrees (equal temperature is desired).
__9)  While stirring the fats, pour the lye solution into the melted fat/oil in a thin stream. Stir continuously to ensure the lye mixes into the fat.
__10)  Continue stirring in a carefully manner to avoid splashing. The mixture should start thickening. You will eventually see “trailings” or lines on the surface. This could take 20 minutes to an hour, usually closer to one hour. Be careful using hand mixers as they can speed things up too much.
 __11)  Pour this liquid soap into your large plastic container mold. Put the lid on and wrap with the towel.
__12)  Put the wrapped mold in a warm place and allow to set for 48 hours.
__13)  After 48 hours, unwrap the mold. The soap should still be warm. If the surface is still very soft leave lid off for a day. If soap looks abnormal refer to Troubleshooting or keyboard shortcut Alt-t. When it is as firm it is ready to be removed from the mold.
__14)  Remove soap from mold. To do this, first pull the plastic mold away from the soap on all sides. Then, turn the mold over onto the needle point screen or plastic. If it doesn’t fall out of the mold, push down on the upside down mold and it should pop out. You should have a nice clean block of soap ready to be cut into bars.
__15)  First, score the surface where the cuts will be made. Then, warm the knife to be used in water. Dry the knife and cut the block into bars of soap.
__16)  The hand cut bars still need to cure. They will become lighter in weight and slightly smaller. Place them on the plastic needlepoint screen for about three weeks.
Check your local hardware store – Depending on the regulations where you live, some hardware stores may sell 100% sodium hydroxide as a drain cleaner, or ‘Red Devil’ Lye drain cleaner.
Discontinued mfg. Amazon.com, 1 lb, ~$11.00 inc S&H. Amazon.com, 1 lb, $10.09 inc S&H. Amazon.com, 2 lbs, $19.95 inc S&H.

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Filed under Survival Manual, __4. Shelter Issues

Nuclear EMP (electromagnetic pulse)

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Nuclear EMP)

What would happen after a Nuclear EMP attack?
The scenario begins with a nuclear explosion in low earth orbit, at the distance of the International Space Station, above middle America.
A nuclear blast about 200 miles above the mid-U.S. could wipe out every electric grid in the country-plunging our nation into darkness. It would literally send our nation back to the 18th century. (A very powerful X-class solar flare could have the same impact.) An EMP blast from a nuclear bomb would shut down devices or vehicles using microchips. Planes would stop flying; banks and hospitals would cease operation; trains would stop running; tractors, trucks and cars would cease working. Elevators would malfunction; subways would stop. All commerce would cease. A blast like this could not only wipe out the electric grid in the U.S. but in Canada and Mexico. The more technologically advanced a nation is, the more vulnerable it is to an EMP attack.

From the book, One Second After,  by William R. Forstchen, a plausible social-economic scenario following an EMP attack on the USA is as follows:

Day 1: July Year 201x
Five container ships in the gulf of Mexico fire medium range SCUD missiles high into the atmosphere until they reach far above Kansas and other states.  On board are 45KT nuclear warhead.  It explodes creating EMP that takes out all of the integrated circuits in the United States.
That means anything electronic that hasn’t been hardened is going to be ruined.  That means your computers, TVs, cars, home electronics, breaker box, phones, radios, cell phones. It also means the power companies, their generators, the backup generators at hospitals, nursing homes, etc.
All of the farms and their harvesting equipment is dead. The trucks that move food to the cities are ruined. The trains that move freight around the country are inoperable.
Every airplane flying crashes. All planes on the down are ruined.
The only thing working are US conventional forces that happened to be hardened against EMP (which means quite a few of them).  Some cars stored in underground parking garages would probably work depending on the proximity.
There’s no fall out. Nobody dies from the attack directly.

Day 2:
With power out people’s fridges are DOA.  With no working cars, people don’t go to work. In the country and in the suburbs, people take the food out of their refrigerators and freezers before it “goes bad” and have BBQs. It’s a fun time.
People who were driving somewhere are mostly able to make it to town. A few people die of heat stroke on their journeys. In the deep south, particularly Florida, there are a number of deaths due to the heat since air conditioning is out.
In the cities, looting begins quite quickly. The police can’t do much since they’re on foot or on horse.
We know this sort of thing because we have seen what happens during extended power outages. Of course, in those cases cars, cell phones, and other crucial devices still worked but there was still massive looting in the large cities.

Day 3:
Local agencies really don’t know what’s going on since there is no communication. No cell phones. No radio. No land lines. The grid is gone.  There are spare parts but nowhere near enough to fix it all and because of the nature of the electrical grid, all the holes have to be plugged for the juice to flow again.  And even if they had enough parts, how do they transport them? No trucks. No cars.
International relief from Japan, China, Canada (though most of Canada is taken out too), Mexico, Europe begins but it’ll be slow going. Food shipments can reach the coast in a couple of days but getting it inland will be a major problem as the vehicles will have to be transported in along with parts to try to get the railroads working again (along with teams to get dead trains off the rails).
In the subs, the party is over. It ain’t funny now.  People are finishing off what was in their refrigerator. Most people still have some food in the cupboard.
Stores start rationing their supplies. People are still using money (at least, those who keep cash). A bottle of water is $20.  How much cash do you keep in your house?
In the cities, riots have broken out with widespread destruction. Being July, it’s hot and dry. Fires from the riots start to spread.

End of Week 1:
By now, most people in the subs have run out of food they would normally remotely consider eating. Looting at the local Wal-Mart and grocery stores begins as people simply take what they need.
Remember, people aren’t hearing anything from the authorities. There are no working TVs. No working radios. The handful of police are walking in the subs.
If you live in the suburbs, take a close look around. How would the police reasonably patrol your city without cars? Meanwhile, people in nursing homes have started dying en-masse.
Without refrigeration drugs quickly go bad. Anyone requiring help breathing or anything else has already died.
People with type 1 diabetes are starting to see the writing on the wall.
Meanwhile, the first container ships of relief have reached San Francisco, Seattle, LA, San Diego, Houston, Miami, Boston, NY, Washington, Raleigh. Lots of food, medicine, some parts, lots of vehicles.
Unfortunately most of those cities are in utter pandemonium. In the south, tens of thousands have already died from heat.  In 2003, when there was a heat wave in France, 14800 people died. They didn’t lose power, they just didn’t have air conditioning.  In Florida, the death toll is skyrocketing quickly. Same in most of the other southern states.

End of Week 2:
People are starting to die of dysentery from eating bad food, drinking bad water. Many have left the suburbs to head to rural areas where they think there is food (they’re wrong, harvest won’t happen for months, industrialized food processing involves a lot of transportation between the farms and the slaughter houses).
The typical American family, now out of food and with no access to clean water is starting to get pretty desperate.
What? Only 2 weeks? How much food do you have in your house right now? Go check. I’ll wait….
Okay back? So how much is in your pantry? How long would it last you? If you knew at the start, you might have rationed it better. But you didn’t.
Millions of Americans are wishing they had put those steaks and hamburgers and hotdogs in their basements in the cooler temperatures. Others are wishing they had salted them heavily and cooked them well done to store for the long haul.
In the cities on the coast, power is restored via backup generators relatively close to shore. However, within 10 miles from the harbor, death is everywhere.  Don’t agree?
Ever been to San Francisco? LA? New York City? 14 days have passed. Where would you have gone? The smart ones, who are able to, would have found their way to the harbors and waited for air lifts of food and such. But most would probably not think about that.
Meanwhile, armed thugs are starting to systematically go through every building and house looking and taking what they need.

End of Week 3
Starvation is starting to become a real problem. If your local law enforcement had a clue, they had already gotten themselves and helpful citizens around to the stores to gather up supplies to start rationing it.
At this point, martial law has been declared by any competent city government.  Some cities decide that, for the public good of course, that all community food will be collected and distributed equally to everyone. In other places, large armed mobs are violently taking what is needed to survive.
Are you a survivalist? Got all your supplies right? Got MREs in the basement. You have an AK47 that you managed to get quietly at a gun show. Your kids know how to use the two shot guns. You’ve been prepared for this day right?  Great. You’re about to die.
You see, you might be able to keep a few people away. But word got around that you have supplies because you’re that guy who everyone knew was expecting to “bug out” one day when the government and black helicopters came.  You might be able to take out a few people but 200+ Nope. You’re going to take a lot of them out but they’re going to come in, kill you, your family, and your supplies.
What? Don’t agree? People won’t do that? Again: Other than on the coast (in some major cities near harbors anyway) you’ve heard and seen nothing from the government other than the occasional Black Hawk flying around. No TV. No phones. No radios.
A few people have managed to dig up old HAM radios and they are getting distant broadcasts of reassurance but it’s clear that nothing’s coming any time soon if you live significantly inland, especially if you don’t live in a densely populated area.
It’s triage at this point and the rural and suburbs areas are simply too spread out. Unfortunately, in the cities, fires have consumed much of them. Anyone strong enough to get out of there has which further distributes the population.
A few older cars start showing up again on the roads as collectables and just old junkers are fixed up and are able to drive because they didn’t have electronics in them.

End of the first month:
A network of outposts are re-established in most large and medium sized cities. Medium sized cities are faring a bit better. Kalamazoo Michigan, Santa Cruz California, and other cities of this kind are doing okay now as convoys are starting to show up.
Really large cities away from the coast are dead at this point.  Sorry Omaha, there’s nobody home anymore.

The Second Month:
Now is when the death toll really starts to go up.  First, you have about 5% of the population that was on medication to control their mental states. This is now gone.  They will mostly die off this month or take out a few others in the process.
Nearly everyone with Type 1 diabetes has died.
Virtually who requires assisted care at this point has died.
Millions of children under 2 have died. Why? Do you have any children? If you’re not nursing them, how are you feeding them at this point?
There are not many domesticated dogs left that haven’t been freed by owners.
The number of deer left that are near people has diminished to the point of being difficult to find. Same with geese, ground hogs, rabbits, etc.
Most cities of any decent size now have an outpost re-established with convoys of food now arriving. However, it’s starting to become a real problem because, well it turns out that the US and Canada supply a significant chunk of the world’s food. 47% of the world’s Soy beans are produced in the United States. 86% of the world’s corn. The bulk of the world’s wheat.
It’s during this second month that the food shipments to the United States are going to start to dry up as hunger starts to become a significant problem in China, Japan, and other countries that have to import food. The US and Canada make up 20% of the world’s food exports and if you count only basic foods the percentage nearly doubles.
The world has its first universal consensus: Oh shit.
It’s at about this time that those who were celebrating in the streets about the downfall of the great Satan are starting to get the first thought that yes, they’re going to die too. North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, and many other countries are about to see starvation on a level that has never been seen before.
By contrast, Europe is doing okay. Not great. But okay. Their economies are in ruins but they’re not going to die en-masse.
In Japan, where starvation is a serious concern, they and Korea have enough money to pay top dollar for the dwindling import food supply. Russia, unfortunately, is about to have a very rough year.
Needless to say, the food aid shipments to the United States are starting to dwindle. Western Europe, particularly Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands are still sending food shipments.
If you’re on the East coast in a secure area, you’re in good shape.  If you’re on the west coast, most of you are going to die.

Third Month:
The population of the United States is starting to take on the same appearance it did in 1909.
Here is what it looked like in the year 2000.
8% of the population was over 70.  Nearly all of them have died.
3% of the population is under 4.  Nearly all of them have died.
Urban populations of the United States have had staggering death tolls, particularly those not near the coasts.
Anyone requiring medication that needed to be refrigerated in order to live (anti-rejection drugs, insulin, various heart medications, for instance) has died. Easily 10% of the population on top of the above.
Around 20% of the population has starved.
Another 10% in the south who are living in places that were uninhabitable without modern technology have died.  Think LA is nice? Imagine it without water.  Any water.
In fact, if you live in California, take a look around. Where does your water come from?  Most of the population of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Utah have died.
Power is starting to get restored due to generators and the government now had a decent supply of cars. Fixing the grid has become a priority.
While heat has killed millions in the south, we’re now getting near November. It’s starting to get cold.

The fourth month
I tell people who come and interview that Michigan’s southern part is about the same latitude as Northern California.  Winters in the upper part of the United States and lower Canada aren’t that bad – if you have heat.
But we don’t have heat.  Natural gas has to be pumped and pumped through a huge network across the country.  When power goes out, even for a few days, a lot of infrastructure falls apart.  New York’s subways, for example are gone.  Much of Chicago has flooded too.  Those who have enough propane will be okay, for awhile (at least until armed thugs come and take it).
By this point, restoring natural gas is not going to be a simple matter of restoring power.  Ever wondered how natural gas gets to your house?  It’s all repairable but it will take time and unfortunately, a lot of that expertise in people has died or is otherwise unavailable. That means bringing people in which will take more time.
If you live in northern states at this point, and you haven’t starved to death, you’re probably going to start dying of exposure.
But that’s a gift compared to what people still struggling to make it in warmer areas as we get reintroduced to cholera, TB, and diarrhea become major problems.
In fact, in 1900 the #1 cause of death in the United States was pneumonia. The #3 was diarrhea. That’s right. The runs killed more Americans than Heart disease, cancer, strokes, etc.  And this November, it returns from retirement as people, without proper sanitation, start to die off from all kinds of things that were previously unheard of.
In fact, as November closes, the United States has reverted to a third world country. No, that’s not fair. Third world countries usually have electricity and their inhabitants usually know how to start a fire.  Do you know how to start a fire without matches and such? Remember watching Survivor and laughing at them? They were in pretty good conditions to get a fire going.  You, by contrast, are wet, cold, weakened, and not sure if it’s even a good idea to start a fire because, well, what are you going to do with it? There’s little food.
On the west coast, food shipments have dropped to a trickle.  LA, Seattle, San Fran, it’s not a fun time there now.

One Year later
The grid is re-established in the mid-west, the east coast, and much of the south.  It’s partially re-established on the west coast thanks to help from South Korea, China, and Japan. Thanks guys. We appreciate it even if most of us are dead.
So what’s the death toll?  Conservatively, you’re looking at 40% of the population of the US and Canada has died. That’s probably a best case scenario if food and equipment shipments from the rest of the world come in quickly.
A smart (well not really smart because the states that sponsor terrorists have died off due to the unintended consequences) terrorist would have also zinged Japan, South Korea, the Chinese east coast, and western Europe. If that happened, you would be looking far higher deaths everywhere as there would be no relief coming in.
The population of the United States today is over 300 million people.  In 1900 it was 76 million. The biggest reason for the increase isn’t due to birth rate but rather the massive decline of the death rate.  And remember, they had infrastructure back in 1900.  We’d be worse off than they were because they knew how to live back then.
How many people know how to can food? How many modern Americans know how much wood to cut to burn? How many Americans live in places where they need an elevator, as a practical matter, to get to where they live?
Heck, how many Americans are simply living today because they have access to all kinds of medical technology?  How many Americans are living in places that can only be inhabited thanks to modern technology? Most of the south west was a barren desert until electrical pumps became possible. Much of the south wasn’t, as a practical matter, livable until air condition.
Also, consider our immune systems of today versus what it was 100 years ago. Our sterilized world has made us very vulnerable to the bacteria and viruses that lurk just outside our electrified civilization. And they would be back to visit within weeks.

Is what I describe realistic? Nobody really knows. There are studies out there.  The book, One Second After is a bit more dire than I think it would be.  And it may turn out that our infrastructure is tougher than it seems or that the types of nuclear warheads that an Iran or North Korea could produce aren’t powerful enough to cause the necessary EMP.
But what is so frightening is how vulnerable we are.  It wouldn’t take much of a shove to bring down the electrical grid.  You could still end up with a situation where 10% of the American population (30 million) die simply by screwing up the electrical grid for a couple months.
Do I think this will happen? Probably not. I have a lot of faith in humanity.  But when one considers the things that we worry about – global warming comes to mind, it amazes me how unconcerned people are at how easily disrupted our modern lives could be given how dependent we are on our technology today.

Emergency Services and Preparations
A few days after an EMP attack, a lot of people will become really terrified as their food and water supplies run out, and they discover that there is no way to obtain fresh supplies.  Within two or three weeks, the military services will likely come to the rescue for many people.  If the size of the attack has been very large, though, that period of relief will probably not last very long.  An even larger problem for food distribution is that any kind of centrally-directed distribution, no matter how well-intentioned, is highly inefficient.  If you drive into any very large city with enough food for everyone, no centralized organization has ever figured out how to devise a mechanism that is anything close to being as efficient as the marketplace to get the food to everyone.  In any case, most people will soon simply begin to starve to death.
For many people, their first concern regarding an EMP attack or a solar super storm is the protection of their personal electronics, or even their automobiles.  For nearly everyone, though, the first real problem they will face will come from the loss of power to the pumps that supply their water and with the computers that maintain the only local food supplies.  Although most individuals cannot do anything to protect critical computers or to protect the power to critical water pumps, some advanced planning can increase the chances that you will have an adequate supply of food and water.

For any emergency food supplies that you do get, it is important to get food that you personally like and are actually likely to use, even if a personal emergency never happens.  Then, if an emergency does happen, it will be you, not distant relief workers, who will determine what the content of your food supply is.  Some people keep only grains as an emergency food supply.  Although some raw grains have a very long shelf life and a high calorie density, they do not have an adequate spectrum of nutrients for long-term use.  In any emergency situation where scarcity of food is a long-term problem, we are likely to see the return of long-forgotten nutritional diseases such as scurvy and various kinds of other vitamin deficiencies, especially of the B vitamins and vitamin D.

Don’t forget about water.   Few people keep an emergency supply of water, in spite of the fact that it is inexpensive and easy to do.  Almost every country of the world has a period of days every year where many people in some large area are without drinkable water.  In most countries, much of the water is pumped by electric motors.  After a major EMP attack or a solar superstorm, electricity for most of those pumps is going to be unavailable for a very long period of time.  It would be easy for most cities to have a protected emergency electrical supply in place for critical pumps; but, like most EMP protection activity, although it is easy and could possibly save millions of lives, it is not being done.

It is also a good idea to have plenty of fire extinguishers.  The immediate aftermath of either a nuclear EMP attack or a large solar superstorm is likely result in a number of fires, along with the elimination of the water necessary to extinguish the fires.  Both the E3 component of a nuclear electromagnetic pulse, as well as the DC-like currents induced by a large solar superstorm, are likely to overheat thousands of transformers that are connected to long wires.  Although it is the destruction of the very large transformers in the power grid that could keep the power grid from being restored for many years, many smaller transformers, such as those on utility poles, and spread throughout suburban neighborhoods, are at risk of overheating to the point that they cause fires.

If you plan to use solar cells or battery power, you will probably want to keep a small inverter under shielding.  Inverters that can step up ordinary 12 volt DC power to a few hundred watts of household AC are not terribly expensive.  For people who own protected photovoltaic solar cells, a number of DC-powered appliances have recently become available.

If you do have access to post-EMP electricity sufficient to run a microwave oven occasionally, that can be a very efficient way of cooking food in many situations.  The problem is that most microwave ovens couldn’t be turned on after an EMP event due to the sensitivity of the solid-state control circuitry.  The magnetron that generates the heat in a microwave oven would probably survive an EMP just fine.  Microwave ovens are heavily shielded, but the sensitive control circuits are outside of the shielding.  A few microwave ovens are controlled by a mechanical timer, and these would probably be fully functional after an EMP (assuming that you can occasionally get enough electricity to operate them).  You can still find mechanical-timer-controlled microwave ovens occasionally, although they are getting harder to find every year.  I bought one about three years ago at K-Mart for $40 for post-EMP use.  I have recently seen small microwave ovens with electro-mechanical controls come back onto the market.

If you want to store larger items in a faraday cage, you can use copper screen or aluminum screen.  Most commercial faraday cages use copper screen, but copper screen is expensive and is difficult for most individuals to obtain.  Bright aluminum screen works almost as well, and aluminum screen can be obtained in rolls at many building supply stores such as Home Depot.  Don’t worry about the fact that this screen is not a solid material.  The size of the tiny ventilation holes in the mesh of ordinary window screen is irrelevant to EMP protection.  Aluminum screen can make a very effective electromagnetic shield.  Ordinary ferrous (iron-containing) window screen is not a good material for a faraday cage because it is a poor electrical conductor.

It is important to have all of the computer data that is important to you backed up onto optical media, like CD or DVD.  Paper printouts are fine, but after an EMP attack, most of the data on paper printouts will simply never get typed back into computers, so those paper printouts will just become your personal mementos.
CD and DVD data (in other words, optical media) is not affected by EMP.  Even if your computers are destroyed, if the country’s economy can get re-built after an EMP attack, then new computers can be purchased from other continents.  If all the computer data is gone, then recovery is going to be many years later than it would be if the data could just be reloaded from optical media.  Computer data runs our modern world.  It is a major part of the invisible magic that I mentioned at the top of this page.  If you own a small business, that computer data can be especially important.  (It is probably not a good idea to use double-sided DVDs, though, since there is the possibility of arcing between layers during electronic attacks.  It is best to just use single-sided single-layer media.)  For long-term storage of data, archival grade CD-R and DVD-R media are available at a reasonable price from manufacturers such as Verbatim and Memorex.  The archival grade media are much more likely to last for many years or decades, and they don’t cost that much more than standard media.  Most stores don’t carry archival grade media, but they aren’t that difficult to find.
Protecting most of the electronic appliances in your house against EMP, if they are plugged in and in use, is probably hopeless.  There is always the possibility, though, that you will be near the edge of an area that is affected by an EMP attack.  For this possibility, the combination of ordinary surge suppressors and ferrite suppression cores could be very valuable.  There is at least one company that makes surge suppressors that look much like ordinary retail store surge suppressors, that are designed to be fast enough for nuclear EMP.

The most difficult part of operating a car after an EMP event (or even a solar superstorm) is likely to be obtaining gasoline.  It is very foolish to ever let the level of gasoline in your tank get below half full.  In a wide range of emergencies, one of the most valuable things to have is a full tank of gasoline.  A solar superstorm will not damage your automobile, but by knocking out the power grid, it can make fuel almost impossible to find.
It is important to remember that the last time an automobile was actually tested against nuclear EMP was in 1962.  Everything since then has been in simulators that we hope are close to the real thing.
One common question people ask is about grounding the frames of cars.  If you have a car parked in a location where there is a very short and direct connection straight down into a high-quality ground, then grounding the frame of a car might help.  In most situations, though, attempts to ground the frame of a car are more likely to just make matters worse by providing an accidental antenna for EMP.  The safest way to provide a modest amount of EMP protection for a car is to keep it parked inside a metal shed.

James Rawles on ‘Grid Down’ Scenarios
Author of How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times

Grid Scenarios:
We’re looking at two different situations. In one situation where the power grid stays up, you might do well in a city of five or ten thousand people.
If the power grid goes down, I would not recommend being in a town of more than 500 population. Once you get past about 500 people, the group becomes unmanageable, especially with no radio communications and no phones to think that you can pull together as a community. Once you lose that sense of community, it’s basically every man for himself. I think people will go kind of Mad Max in an absolute worst case with the power grid down.
There’s definitely going to be a public health crisis at the very least, if not a situation where the cities become absolutely unlivable very quickly – I’m talking within two weeks.
Mr. Rawles points out the potential for “every man for himself” Mad Max scenarios as being likely outcomes in the event of a down grid. Whether you’re in the city or in rural parts of America you will either be the one looking for food and resources because you didn’t prepare, or you will be the one defending against Mad Max with a full belly and a self defense strategy.

Winter vs. Summer:
If we were to have the onset of a collapse in summertime we’d see a public health crisis very quickly. If it were to happen mid-winter we’d actually see more people dying of exposure, dying of the cold, than we would of dying of disease, especially in the Eastern United States and the North East.
It doesn’t take too long a period before blankets are insufficient – people don’t have any alternate source of heat they’ll be freezing to death in large numbers.
Then what happens in the next spring when everything thaws out? Then you have a really big public health crisis because not only are you worried about human waste – you’re also worried about thousands upon thousands of unburied bodies.
We could be in a situation where we literally could see a 90% die-off in the major metropolitan regions. Ninety percent population loss and that’s just based on loss of the power grid alone, not counting the violence of people as food supplies dwindle, going from house to house taking what little is left – fighting over the scraps in effect.
A recent report from the Center for Security Policy suggests that Mr. Rawles’ estimation of a 90% die-off is right on target, as previously discussed in, Within One Year 9 Out of 10 Americans Would Be Dead.

What to do:
I  highly recommend that if any of your listeners have the opportunity, if they’re self employed or if they can find employment, or if they’re retired, that they move to a lightly populated rural region that’s in a food producing area. In the event of a true worst-case scenario, I refer to it as When the Schumer Hits the Fan, that’s going to be your safest place to be. There, the population loss will be minimal.
But otherwise, in a grid down collapse that goes on for more than a year, we literally could see a 90% population loss in the big cities, and a 50% population loss in the suburbs and as much as a 40% loss in non-viable rural areas – I’m talking desert regions or other areas where there’s not a lot of agriculture that goes on.

Protecting Yourself from EMP
Tactically, a space-based nuclear attack has a lot going for it; the magnetic field of the earth tends to spread out EMP so much that just one 20-MT bomb exploded at an altitude of 200 miles could–in theory–blanket the continental US with the effects of EMP. It’s believed that the electrical surge of the EMP from such an explosion would be strong enough to knock out much of the civilian electrical equipment over the whole country. Certainly this is a lot of “bang for the buck” and it would be foolish to think that a nuclear attack would be launched without taking advantage of the confusion a high-altitude explosion could create. Ditto with its use by terrorists should the technology to get such payloads into space become readily available to smaller countries and groups.
But there’s no need for you to go back to the stone age if a nuclear war occurs. It is possible to avoid much of the EMP damage that could be done to electrical equipment–including the computer that brought this article to you–with just a few simple precautions.
First of all, it’s necessary to get rid of a few erroneous facts, however.
1.  One mistaken idea is that EMP is like a powerful bolt of lightning. While the two are alike in their end results–burning out electrical equipment with intense electronic surges–EMP is actually more akin to a super-powerful radio wave. Thus, strategies based on using lightning arrestors or lightning-rod grounding techniques are destined to failure in protecting equipment from EMP.
2.  Another false concept is that EMP “out of the blue” will fry your brain and/or body the way lightning strikes do. In the levels created by a nuclear weapon, it would not pose a health hazard to plants, animals, or man PROVIDED it isn’t concentrated.
EMP can be concentrated.  That could happen if it were “pulled in” by a stretch of metal. If this
happened, EMP would be dangerous to living things. It could become concentrated by metal girders, large stretches of wiring (including telephone lines), long antennas, or similar set ups. So–if a nuclear war were in the offing–you’d do well to avoid being very close to such concentrations. (A safe distance for nuclear-generated EMP would be at least 8 feet from such stretches of metal.)
3.  Another “myth” that seems to have grown up with information on EMP is that nearly all cars and trucks would be “knocked out” by EMP. This seems logical, but is one of those cases where “real world” experiments contradict theoretical answers and I’m afraid this is the case with cars and EMP. According to sources working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, cars have proven to be resistant to EMP in actual tests using nuclear weapons as well as during more recent tests (with newer cars) with the US Military’s EMP simulators.
One reason for the ability of a car to resist EMP lies in the fact that its metal body is “insulated” by its rubber tires from the ground. This creates a Faraday cage of sorts. (Drawing on the analogy of EMP being similar to lightning, it is interesting to note that cases of lightning striking and damaging cars is almost non-existent; this apparently carries over to EMP effects on vehicles as well.)

Some electrical equipment is innately EMP-resistant. This includes large electric motors, vacuum tube equipment, electrical generators, transformers, relays, and the like. These might even survive a massive surge of EMP and would likely to survive if a few of the above precautions were taking in their design and deployment.
At the other end of the scale of EMP resistance are some really sensitive electrical parts. These include IC circuits, microwave transistors, and Field Effect Transistors (FET’s). If you have electrical equipment with such components, it must be very well protected if it is to survive EMP.

Faraday box
One “survival system” for such sensitive equipment is the Faraday box.
A Faraday box is simply a metal box designed to divert and soak up the EMP. If the object placed in the box is insulated from the inside surface of the box, it will not be effected by the EMP travelling around the outside metal surface of the box. The Faraday box simple and cheap and often provides more protection to electrical components than “hardening” through circuit designs  which can’t be (or haven’t been) adequately tested.
Many containers are suitable for make-shift Faraday boxes: cake boxes, ammunition containers, metal filing cabinets, etc., etc., can all be used.  Despite what you may have read or heard, these boxes do NOT have to be airtight due to the long wave length of EMP; boxes can be made of wire screen or other porous metal.

[Image left: metal trash can Faraday cage. Lined with cardboard liner-sides top and bottom.]

The only two requirements for protection with a Faraday box are: (1) the equipment inside the box does NOT touch the metal container (plastic, wadded paper, or cardboard can all be used to insulate it from the metal) and (2) the metal shield is continuous without any gaps between pieces or extra-large holes in it.
Grounding a Faraday box is NOT necessary and in some cases actually may be less than ideal. While EMP and lightning aren’t the “same animal”, a good example of how lack of grounding is a plus can be seen with some types of lightning strikes. Take, for example, a lightning strike on a flying airplane. The strike doesn’t fry the plane’s occupants because the metal shell of the plane is a Faraday box of sorts. Even though the plane, high over the earth, isn’t grounded it will sustain little damage.

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Long term power outage

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Long term power outage)

(The power’s out! At minimum, the regional grid is down.
Now what? What chain of events could happen?

 Engineers used to talk about guarding against the “single point of failure” when designing critical systems like aircraft control systems or nuclear power plants. But rarely does a single mistake or event result in a catastrophe. As we’ve seen from the March 2011 Japanese earthquake-tsunami-nuclear power plant events, disaster is usually a function of multiple mistakes and a string of bad luck, often called an ‘event cascade [1]’.
Many of the scenarios discussed in the DISASTER section of Survival Manual could result in a power outage of indeterminate length. In a disaster situation, watch for an event cascade to rapidly envelope regions–the effects would be initially seen in food and/or water shortages, there will be broad public
fear, regions of inhospitable climatic exposure, hardship and disease might follow in the mid-term.

The following paragraphs describe the impact of a major long-term electrical power outage:

A.  Main Street Infrastructure
1.  Homes
Water: Individuals can only survive for three or four days without access to clean drinking water.

  • Without electricity to power the city water pumps and water purification plants, many individuals may lose access to clean drinking water. Lack of clean drinking water may become a critical issue during an  extended power blackout lasting weeks and months.
  • Some large cities use lakes and reservoirs to hold drinking water supplies at elevated heights.  These systems will be fairly resistant to extended power outages. (In New York City, approximately 95% of the total water supply is delivered to the consumer by gravity. Only about  5% of the water is regularly pumped to maintain the desired pressure.)
  • Cities that use large water pumps, water treatment plants, elevated water tanks or reservoirs located below the city’s elevation may be vulnerable to extended power outages. During an electrical blackout, the pump stations that pull, move and elevate water and the water treatment plants that filter and purify the water may become inoperative due to loss of electricity. But some water plants have standby engine-generators installed to provide emergency power.
  • Many rural homes use well water or spring water. They may be severely affected unless they have portable electrical generators to power their well pumps.
  • The Northeast Blackout of 14 August 2003 (not triggered by a solar storm) affected 50 million people in Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Ontario, Canada. Many areas lost water pressure causing potential contamination of city water supplies. Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan issued boil water orders affecting approximately 8 million people during this crisis.

_ Sewage: City waste treatment facilities depend upon electricity for operations.

  • If waste treatment facilities become inoperative due to a loss of electricity, then the untreated waste stream can either flow into rivers, streams or lakes or back up into homes and businesses. If raw sewage is allowed to overflow, it can contaminate important potential drinking water supplies.
  • Newer communities have mandated installation of check valves in sewer lines to prevent sewage from backing up into homes. But in older communities before these standards were adopted, the waste can back up into homes turning basements into cesspool.
  • Some waste treatment plants may overcome the loss of electricity and stay in operation during an extended power outage. For example, the waste treatment plant serving Akron, Ohio in the 1960’s was designed to capture and store the methane released as a byproduct of the treatment process. This methane was then used to fuel electrical power generators that powered the treatment plant and large furnaces that were used to burn the solid waste during the final phase of waste processing.
    The methane capture process provided approximately 60% of the plants fuel needs. These systems are more robust and may provide continuous operations during this type of crisis. Other waste treatment plants may have standby engine-generators installed to provide emergency power.
  • Without water, human waste cannot be flushed down the toilet. The stench from unflushed toilets may become overpowering and force people from their homes.
  • In rural communities, many individuals have septic tank systems. These are natural self-contained waste treatment systems that require no electricity for operation. These units should operate normally during a power blackout provided individuals haul water and manually flush toilets using buckets of water.
  • During the Northeast Blackout of 14 August 2003, Cleveland, Ohio; Kingston, Ontario and New York experienced major sewage spills into waterways.

_ Refrigeration: Without electricity most freezers and refrigerators will no longer operate. Food in freezers will begin to thaw out after a day or two and this food will quickly spoil. For an average family, this can be a fairly significant monetary loss.

_ Lighting: Rooms without natural lighting (windows and skylights) will be dark during the day. At night the entire house will be as dark as a cave. This will limit functionality of several rooms within the home.

_ Heating: Most furnaces (electric, gas and fuel oil) will be inoperative during an electrical power outage. Gas and fuel oil furnaces will not work because electronic ignition systems, thermostats and blower motors all require electricity for operations. In the winter, the lack of heat can make it difficult to stay warm and to keep sufficient heat within the house to prevent water pipes from freezing.

_ Cooling: Most air conditioners require electrical power to operate. In the hot humid summer, the lack of air conditioning and fans can make it difficult to stay cool and to exhaust the humidity from the house.

_ Cooking: Most ranges and ovens will be inoperative during an electrical power outage. This includes many gas ranges. Most new gas ranges currently available employ one of 3 basic gas ignition systems; pilot ignition, hot surface ignition system, or a spark ignition system. All three systems require electricity for operations. Without ranges and ovens, cooking meals and boiling water due to boil water orders and advisories will be difficult.

2.  Transportation

  • Automobiles, buses and trucking will be significantly affected by an extended electrical power outage. Stop lights will stop functioning. At major intersections the loss of stop lights will lead to major gridlock. Lack of street lights will produce darkened roadways and intersections.
    Gasoline pumps in service stations are driven by electricity.
  • Without electrical power, gasoline and diesel fuel will not be available to motorist and truckers. Generally the majority of service stations do not have emergency generators.
  • Airlines can be significantly affected by an extended major electrical power outage compounded by other solar storm effects. Without their navigational radars, no flights could land or takeoff until electrical power is restored. A blackout will disrupt the airline ticketing system. It can
    affect crash alarm/sirens and rescue and firefighting emergency response. Lack of electrical power can also affect Navaid, visual aids, runway lighting, ARFF station door operation, TSA screening equipment, lighting, baggage loading, loading bridge operation, airport air-conditioning, and refueling operations. A powerful solar storm can also jam air control radio frequencies between the aircraft and ground control. Most airports are equipped with large emergency generator systems that can provide functionality to some of their most critical systems.
  • Railway train and subway systems can be affected by inducted current from the solar storm. The tracks are long metal conductors that can pick up large inducted currents. The inducted currents can bleed over into control systems and signaling systems damaging equipment. In the past, induced currents were sufficient to turn the railroad signals red and to ignite fires in railroad control stations. Metro and subway systems are driven directly from electrical power. They will become inoperative during an electrical blackout stranding passengers.
  • Traffic signals and public transit are only part of the transportation facilities that depend on electricity. Other systems include tunnel lights and ventilation; intelligent transportation systems (ITS) equipment such as cameras, loop detectors, variable message signs, and electronic toll collection equipment; and pumps to control flooding in depressed roadways.

3.  Banking
A major electrical blackout will produce a loss of access to funds. Credit card processing, bank transactions, ATM withdrawals, check validation, payroll disbursement and even cash registers are dependent on the availability of electrical power. This problem can be compounded by the loss of key
satellites that form part of the conduit for transmitting financial data.

4.  Commerce and Industry
Commerce and industry will be plagued by the same problems impacting homes during a major electrical power blackout including potential interruption of water, sewage, lighting, heating and air conditioning. Add to this list other problems associated with electrical outages such as banking, computers and networks, transportation, shipping and receiving, payroll, and employee absenteeism.

  • I (article author) experienced the great San Fernando Valley earthquake of 9 February 1971 first hand. The earthquake knocked out power in several areas. At one major intersection, it took over an hour to travel through it because the stoplight was dead. At the time, thousand of stop lights were dead and the police were spread very thin. The only way the logjam was cleared from that intersection was when private individuals went out into the street and began directing traffic. Many emergency vehicles were tied up in these traffic jams unable to respond to true emergencies.
  • Beginning in the 1960s, engineers and architects began sealing off building from the outdoors, constructing mechanical environments solely controlled by electric power. An electrical blackout will affect many modern buildings due to poor natural ventilation and lighting. Our commerce today is also very reliance on computers and telecommunications. Loss of this infrastructure will take a heavy toll.

5. Other Impacts

  • At the onset of an electrical blackout, people will be trapped in elevators, in underground mines, on roller coasters (some dangling  from rides in midair), and inside commuter trains. (Some of these commuters  will need to be evacuated from trains stopped in tunnels and between stations.
    It can take more than 2 hours for transit workers and emergency personnel to
    reach some of these trains. Those stranded in tunnels may be in pitch blackness
    and very frightened.)
  • At the onset of an electrical blackout, most individuals  will want to return home before nightfall. In general, commuter trains and subways will be down. Automobile traffic in cities will be gridlocked due to inoperative traffic lights. Ferries, buses and taxis will continue to run but expect erratic service, very long lines, crowds and chaos. In large cities, many commuters will simply walk home with some traveling over 160 city blocks.
  • In some large cities at the onset of the blackout, tunnel managers will make several key  decisions. One decision is to close down some traffic lanes within tunnels. Generally, facilities’ ventilation systems require an excessive amount of electrical power and as a result many are not
    connected to electrical backup system. Therefore, tunnel operators will have to reduce the number of cars allowed through at any given time in order to minimize the carbon monoxide threat. Some bridge and tunnel operators will reverse one lane of traffic. This will create three lanes for traffic leaving the downtown area and one lane for vehicles returning downtown.
  • Most individuals will be keenly interested in the extent of the outage, the cause of the outage (natural or terrorist) and a prognosis of when power will be restored. At the onset of the blackout, almost all of the FM radio stations will be initially knocked off the air. Many of these stations will return over the next hour as emergency backup generators kick in. Portable radios and car radios are key in communicating an early assessment of the blackout.
  • Laptop computers with dial-up connections will generally continue to operate in an electrical blackout at least until their computer batteries drain down. Amateur radio will play a critical role in transmitting emergency communications.
  • At the onset of the blackout, many home improvement stores (e.g. Home-Depot and Lowe’s) will continue to remain open because they have some flexibility in powering limited store operations using portable emergency generators. These stores can provide much-needed supplies such as flashlights, batteries, portable power generators, etc. Some restaurants will
    remain open because gas-powered brick ovens, gas ranges and fryers will not be affected by the outage.
  • At clogged intersections, private individuals will step forward and direct traffic in order to relieve traffic congestion. In some cases, passing police officers will distribute fluorescent jackets to these noble individuals. Drivers and pedestrians will generally follow the instructions from them even though they are not traffic police officers.
  • Even if cell phone service is not physically disrupted, the heavy increase in traffic can quickly overload circuits. Text messaging appears to continue to work on overloaded cell phone networks during the onset of a power outage. In many cases, mobile cell phone towers only have emergency backup power for a few hours. Cell phones will also die as their batteries
    drain down.
  • Landline telephones run off of the small DC current that the phone company sends through the lines. But modern phones have so many gadgets that most need a separate AC adapter to run them. Unfortunately many modern phones are so poorly designed that they cannot operate at all when there is no AC current. For example, most household portable phones are useless without power to their base set.
  • Tall buildings will be particularly vulnerable to the effects of an electrical blackout. Elevators will not work. The lack of natural lighting in hallways and stairwells will make them pitch black. Even stairwells equipped with emergency lighting will go dark after about an hour as the batteries drain down. Climbing stairs in the dark can be very risky and dangerous. The water tank on the roof will quickly empty and not be refilled because the buildings water pumps will shut down. As a result, individuals will be unable to flush toilets. The air conditioner will be inoperative. Climbing long flights of stairs will be strenuous and hauling supplies of food and water back to rooms or apartments will be hard work. The buildings will be more susceptible to fire hazards because automatic fire suppression sprinklers will no longer have available water.
  • An electrical blackout will produce many displaced individuals. Individuals will be stranded in airports, train and subway systems (relatives may drive into clogged cities in an attempt to pick up their loved ones). Many stranded travelers will be forced to sleep in hotel lobbies, airport terminals or out in the streets in parks or at the steps of public buildings turning them into bivouac areas.
  • Elderly community members and those requiring electrical medical equipment (life support systems) are more severely impacted by a power blackout than the younger population. Hospitals will have limited emergency power, often not providing air conditioning.
  • Electronic security may lock up due to loss of electricity. This can affect electronic gates in parking garages, card keyed doors, turnpike and toll bridge gates and for most individuals their garage door openers. These devices will need to be manually operated.
  • As the days pass, many workers will find it difficult to go to work because power will be out in their homes, gasoline stations will be closed, and schools and child care centers will be shut.

B. Oil and Gas Pipelines
Geomagnetic induced currents affect oil and gas pipelines. In pipelines, GIC and the associated pipe-to-soil voltages can increase the rate of corrosion in pipelines especially in high latitude regions. Damage resulting from corrosion is cumulative in nature and can eventually lead to pipeline integrity failures and major fuel leaks. As an example, GICs reaching 57 amps were measured in a Finnish natural gas pipeline in November 1998. Solar storms may have had a hand in the gas pipeline rupture and explosion on 4 June 1989 that demolished part of the Trans-Siberian Railway, engulfing two passenger trains in flames and killing 500 people, many of these were school children heading off on a vacation in the Urals.
The induce currents can also affect the flowmeters that transmit the flow rate of oil/gas in the pipeline producing false readings.
Pipelines that incorporate insulating flanges can be more vulnerable to damaging GIC currents. The flanges are meant to interrupt current flow; however, it was discovered that the flanges create an additional site where the electric potential can build up and force the current flow to ground. As a result these flanges lead to increased risk for corrosion. The length of the pipeline also adds to its vulnerability due to the increased potential for corrosion.

C. Long Distant Communication Line
Geomagnetic storms can induce current on long conductive wires used as communication cables. These cables include telegraph lines, telephone land lines and undersea cables. The induced current can damage transmission lines and produce large electrical arcs and thermal heating in equipment tied to those lines. In the past, this induced current has resulted in damaged equipment, equipment fires and individuals receiving severe electrical shock.
In the geomagnetic storm of March 25, 1940, telephone landlines designed for 48 volts were subjected to 600 volt surges and many transmission lines were destroyed. The undersea Atlantic cable between Newfoundland and Scotland saw voltages up to 2,600 volts.[The New York Times & The Washington Post]
New forms of cables (e.g. coaxial cables, fiber optic cables) have replaced many earlier forms of communication cables. This has allowed the bandwidth of communication systems to increase but many long cables now require repeater  amplifiers along their length. These amplifiers compensate for the loss of signal strength over distance and are connected in series with the center conductor of the cable. Amplifiers are powered by a direct current supplied from terminal stations at either ends of the cable. The varying magnetic field that occurs during a geomagnetic storm induces a voltage into the center of the coaxial cable increasing or decreasing the voltage coming from the cable power supply. The induced voltage experienced during a geomagnetic storm can produce an overload of electricity on the cable system, and in turn, cause power supply failure knocking the repeaters off-line. For example, the solar storm that occurred on 2 August 1972 produced a voltage surge of 60 volts on AT&T’s coaxial telephone cables between Chicago and Nebraska.
Submarine cables now use fiber optic cables to carry communication signals; however, there is still a long metallic conductor along the length of the cable that carries power to the repeaters and as a result is susceptible to induced currents.
Geomagnetic storm induced electrical currents in long wires have caused damage to transmission lines, caused electrical arcing on telegraph equipment, caused thermal heating that resulted in electrical equipment fires, caused several  telegraph operators to receive a very severe electrical shock, caused
switchboards in telegraph offices to be set on fire and sending keys to melt, caused telegraph bells to automatically go off, caused very strange sounds on telephones like several sirens slowly increasing in pitch until it produced a loud  screech, and caused incandescent resistance lamps” in telegraph circuits to light.

See also the 4dtraveler posts:
Survival manual/1. Disasters/War, EMP
Survival manual/1. Disasters/EMP–Solar Flare
Survival manual/3. Food and Water/Develop A Survival Food List
Mr. Larry

[1]  Beginning on 11 March 2011 with a massive 9.0 earthquake as the triggering event and spreading outward in the weeks that followed: There occurred the strongest earthquake NE Japan experienced in 1200 years, followed by a massive tsunami that washed  inland along the coast destroying cities and completely washing away villages; a nuclear power plant was knocked off line and partially destroyed, cutting electric power to the region; radioactive outgassing forced evacuation; many thousands of dead corpses were intermingled amongst the tsunami debris piles; survivors in northern parts of island cleaned out supermarket shelves, while road damage limited shelf restocking; water service for many areas was damaged by the earthquake while the widespread power outages cut service to others; rolling ‘brown outs’ spread across the nation as power companies tried to ration electric use; multiple international corporations in the affected region closed for weeks threatening future supply bottlenecks; many thousands of foreign workers and students returned to their countries; snow fell on the region- while a million people were without electric power; a volcano in the southern part of the country became active; Japanese investors began selling equities, bonds and other investments in order to raise cash, thus depressing prices and reducing demand; the Japanese reduced purchases of US Treasury bonds, causing US treasury to incestuously sell more bonds to our own Federal Reserve.

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EMP Part 1 of 2: How it works

(News and Editorial/ EMP Part 1 of 2: How it works)

YouTubeFor a brief discussion of Electro Magnetic Pulse effects and preparedness, click the following link:


Surviving the Aftermath of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack
March 23, 2012, Prepping To Survive, originally posted by Luke Lichterman
Pasted from: http://preppingtosurvive.com/2012/03/23/surviving-the-aftermath-of-an-electro-magnetic-pulse-emp-attack/

emp1 sun

Sunspots are Electro-Magnetic Pulse events
The earth has always been subject to electro-magnetic events called “sunspots,” which are created by storms in the sun’s atmosphere and result in pulses of electro- magnetic energy being ejected into space.

Recently, NASA probes have made sunspots observable while forming, and predictable in their magnitude and estimated day of arrival on earth. When news media outlets learn of an impending sunspot arrival they sensationalize the event and breathlessly report that a major disaster and possibly the end of the world is about to happen. A recent sunspot event was hyped in this manner and passed with only minor disruptions and inconveniences because the earth is protected from sunspot damage by the depth, density and reflectivity of its atmosphere.
What the media never talks about is the debilitating wide spread damage which would be caused by an EMP (1) weapon detonated at high altitude within the earth’s atmosphere.

Starfish Prime
It has been known since the earliest tests of nuclear weapons that the high levels of Gamma radiation generated by nuclear explosions ionize air molecules producing electro-magnetic pulses of positive ions. (2) Theory held that while a 1 megaton-range surface weapon would produce severe damage within the radius of the burst, the same megaton-range weapon, when deployed at very high altitude would inflict damage to electronic devices over a wide area.

On July 9, 1962 a 1.4-megaton bomb, (codename: Starfish Prime (3) was detonated 250 miles above the mid-Pacific Johnson Island. The effects of this test were felt 898 miles to the East, in Hawaii, where telephone switchboards were disabled, civilian traffic control signal systems went dark and power system fuses and circuit breakers failed, causing blackouts in some areas.

On July 16, 1997 the U. S. House of Representatives Committee on National Security held hearings on the, “THREAT POSED BY ELECTRO-MAGNETIC PULSE (EMP) TO U.S. MILITARY SYSTEMS AND CIVIL INFRASTRUCTURE.” (4) In summary, testimony was given that, …Based upon the unintended and unexpected consequences of Starfish Prime; a similar 1.4-megaton bomb detonated 250 miles above Kansas would destroy most unprotected microprocessors on the entire continent.

Nuclear Warfare Doctrine (5)
The image most people have of nuclear war is of hundreds of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) deploying thousands of Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) warheads, raining down death and destruction; leaving behind uninhabitable radioactive wastelands. Indeed, during the “Cold War” years, stalemate and “peace” were maintained between East and West by the doctrine of “Mutually Assured Destruction” (M.A.D.).

This old doctrine held that; to defeat an enemy, his economy, infrastructure and population must be completely destroyed. Modern nuclear warfare doctrine acknowledges almost total dependence upon microprocessors and their vulnerability to EMP destruction. It is no longer necessary to build and maintain huge arsenals of weapons, since even one high-altitude EMP burst could effectively paralyze an enemy’s ability to function. [Read that again. Mr. Larry]

This explains why major nuclear nations have reduced their nuclear arsenals. It is not because they have become “anti-nuke”, but because they have shifted strategic focus from Mass-Destruction to Mass-Incapacitation. An EMP attack by any nuclear-armed nation upon another, would involve only a handful of high yield weapons deployed strategically, at high altitude over enemy territory, to ensure complete electronic incapacitation. Among the major powers, M.A.D. continues to be applicable.

Rogue regimes like North Korea (6) and Iran however, could simultaneously each launch a single medium range ICBM, (North Korea has announced plans to launch a long-range rocket mounted with a satellite.), from a ship 50 miles off shore of the East and West coasts. These missiles could easily reach 250 miles altitude and get close enough to Kansas to destroy a large portion of our military and civil infrastructures. Missiles of this type, launched so close to our shores, would be impossible to intercept because recent political decisions have prevented development of missile defense systems for the Continental USA. [Please understand the implications of this last sentence…its not how big an Army or how powerful your navy…1 just one rather small nuclear missile over the continental USA, in particular, a supposedly “harmless  communications satellite” carrying a suitcase sized nuclear device. Mr. Larry]

Hundreds of Millions (of Microprocessors) Die Within a Second (7)
How many microprocessors do you own? How many do you interact with directly? How many indirectly? Is that airplane overhead kept aloft by dozens of them? Do you have one on your wrist, in your pocket, on the desk in front of you, under the hood of your car, your television, radio, cell phone or anything emp1 keyboardelse around you? Most of them would die within a second of a rogue-nation EMP attack.

The refrigerator in your kitchen has a microprocessor and is energized by electricity, generated in a facility full of them, and routed to your home by the National Electric Power Grid, which would shutdown within that same second. Most vehicles of any description produced after 1980; cars, trucks, busses, motorcycles, police cruisers, fire engines, ambulances, locomotives and almost everything else would either stop in place within that second, or never again move from where they sat.

Airplanes would fall out of the sky, vehicles traveling at 70 MPH would lose control, implanted pacemakers would no longer regulate heart function and every manner, type and description of high tech medical equipment would fail.

Those microprocessors that were not destroyed immediately would be rendered useless because their companions were destroyed. Vehicles not disabled immediately might continue to operate, if they could escape dead-vehicle gridlock, but would soon need and be unable to be refueled because the power grid no longer energizes pumps. Freezers and refrigerators in supermarkets and food processing plants would no longer function, and store shelves would be stripped bare within hours.

Hundreds of Millions (of People) Die within a Year
Even though an EMP is not radioactive, it is estimated that 5 to 10% of the entire population would become casualties within 24 hours, due to vehicular crashes, medical support failures, industrial malfunctions, other loss of power and control incidents and panic. It is further estimated that up to 90% of the entire population would perish within the first year as a result of crime, rioting, starvation/dehydration and of course disease, injury, untreated major medical emergencies and suicide.

Those who survive the initial 24 hours stand a fair chance of surviving the first year, if they had been smart enough to make survival preparations, were lucky enough to be able to get to their hardened position and supplies; and are able and willing to defend their supplies and the remnants of their families without hesitation and with whatever level of force is necessary.

The first year will be a time of savagery, darkness and desperation unprecedented in human history. Within a few days after water has stopped flowing and the last scraps of food have been consumed, the cities will have largely become ghost towns. Entire populations will have fled to the countryside in search of food, water and comfort. Millions upon millions of desperate, starving people will become like swarms of 17-year locusts, but with intelligence, cunning and malice. All pretense of civility will have been discarded and three-week survivors will appear and act very much like “zombies” depicted in recent “B” grade movies.

It will be ugly beyond imagination and challenging almost beyond endurance. The only people who will survive until some kind of order is restored, some level of commerce resumes and whatever “normal” becomes, will be those who were prepared, and hard-headedly willing, to survive.

Survival Preparedness for an EMP Attack
There is no preparing to survive the aftermath of an EMP attack, as a specific type of preparedness. Survival preparedness is the same for whatever disaster aftermath you are preparing to survive; it is nothing more than providing that which you know your family needs, in sufficient quantities to support survival for up to a year after the event.

Your Family will need:
•  To be water self sufficient, because nothing will come out of your faucet or what does come out will be unsafe to drink.
•  Long Term Bulk Food Storage, because the food supply chain will have ceased to function and there will be no deliveries to stores.
•  A survival stove and lights, because the National Electric Power Grid will no longer brighten the darkness, cook your food nor keep you warm.
•  First Aid Kits, because there will be minor injuries which must be prevented from becoming major problems.
•  Survival Garden Seeds and hunting weapons, because there’s a limit to how much food you are able to buy and store.
Your family will need more, much, much more; including guns of substantial caliber and firepower to defend against the attacks which are guaranteed to be launched against you. As important as having guns is training every member of your family how, when, (and to be willing), to use them.

Being prepared to survive the aftermath of any disaster, but especially an EMP attack, does not guarantee that you will survive. What is guaranteed is that if you are not prepared, you will not survive. No one will prepare you to survive! You must do it yourself and you must start now. If not you, who? If not now, when?

(2)  http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/rp/factsheets/factsheets-htm/fs41elecpuls.htm
(3)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_pulse + www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cst/bugs_ch12.pdf
(4) http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC4QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcommdocs.house.gov%2Fcommittees%2Fsecurity%2Fhas197010.000%2Fhas197010_1.htm&ei=8f9lT6H8D4musgLqjNy2Dw&usg=AFQjCNHAXLLMaVK40RH_3nlz3_bmLrEOnA&sig2=tHv4OVxZ3b923lpUgZYATA
(5)  http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2005_09/Kristensen
(6)  http://www.newsmax.com/KenTimmerman/super-emp-emp-northkorea-nuke/2011/06/16/id/400260 + http://abcnews.go.com/International/electronic-warfare-north-korea-nears-completion-electromagnetic-pulse/story?id=13081667#.T2YEAY5qNdg + http://www.news.com.au/technology/emp-bomb-ready-for-war-says-south-korea/story-e6frfro0-1226018432287
(7)  http://www.williamson-labs.com/480_emp.htm

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The derecho windstorm

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ The derecho windstorm)

Derecho windstorm: To qualify as a derecho, a storm front must be at least 240 miles wide and the winds must be a minimum of 57 miles per hour along most of the storm’s length, the storm lasts for a minimum of at least 6 hours.
Derechos are mostly produced by “bow echo” storms, which are storms that have a bowed or curved shape when viewed on Doppler radar. The bow echo storm results from the powerful winds reaching the ground and the pressure on the Earth’s surface ‘feeding back’ and distorting the entire storm.

 Jul 01, 2012, EarthSky, by Matt Daniel
“On June 29, 2012, a violent wind storm system – called a derecho – advanced eastward across Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and in parts of New Jersey. It produced hurricane force winds that gusted as high as 91 miles per hour in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Millions of people were left without power as trees snapped on power lines. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC), reported nearly 800 wind reports from this derecho. Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell declared a state of emergency Saturday, June 30, 2012 – which also affected Washington DC – after the storm devastated the region. In fact, McDonnell announced that the derecho that pushed into Virginia made it the largest non-hurricane power outage in state history.”

As many as 5 million lost power from near Chicago to the East Coast, at least 22 were killed, and it caused a yet uncounted millions or billions in damage. Yet, as of 24 hours prior and even the morning of, very little in the way of mass indication that it was coming

 Reflecting on Preparativeness:

10 things the recent D.C. power outage taught us about a real, large-scale collapse
8 July 2012, by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger Editor of NaturalNews.com
Pasted from: http://www.naturalnews.com/036406_power_grid_failure_lessons.html

[Left; 30 June 2012:  Storm-damaged trees litter the east lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington.]

(NaturalNews) In the wake of violent storms, the power went out for millions of Americans across several U.S. states. Governors of Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio declared a state of emergency. Over twenty people were confirmed dead, and millions sweltered in blistering temperatures while having no air conditioning or refrigeration. As their frozen foods melted into processed goo, some were waking up to a few lessons that we would all be wise to remember.

Here are 10 hard lessons we’re all learning (or re-learning, as the case may be) from this situation:

#1) The power grid is ridiculously vulnerable to disruptions and failure
All it takes is Mother Nature unleashing a little wind storm, and entire human cities are cut off from their power grid. Wind and trees, in other words, can destroy in seconds what takes humans years to construct. As Newt Gingrich even quipped about the situation, what we witnessed was just a small taste of what a high-altitude EMP weapon attack could unleash across all of North America. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpuyPfAZRTU)

#2) Without electricity, acquiring food and water in a major U.S. city can become a difficult task
During the outage, masses of people across the Eastern U.S. scrambled to get squared away on food and water. Fortunately for them, malls and gas stations were open, providing (processed) food, water and air conditioning. That’s because the power outages were fragmented, affecting some neighborhoods but not others.
In a total grid down scenario, food and water supplies in a given U.S. city will disappear almost overnight. It’s much the same for gasoline, batteries and even ammunition. All these supplies (and many more) will simply be stripped from the shelves.

#3) Most people are simply not prepared and therefore worsen any crisis
The average American citizen practices zero preparedness. They are 100% dependent on the power grid, the city water supply, 911 services for protection and long-distance food deliveries to their grocery store. They have no backup plans, no stored food, no emergency mindset and no practical skills for surviving a real crisis.
As a result, their lack of preparedness worsens any crisis. Instead of being part of the solution, they become a burden on all the emergency services and supplies available in the area.
Hilariously, today’s city goers actually consider malls and movie theaters to be places of refuge. As FoxNews reported last weekend, “On Saturday, many people flocked to places like malls and movie theaters in the hope the lights would be on again when they returned home.” (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/07/01/millions-without-power-brace-for&#8230;)

#4) Cell phones are a fragile technology that can’t be counted on in an emergency
One of the more interesting observations about the current crisis is that many cell phone towers are out of service. That’s because they have no electricity and / or they have been damaged by wind or debris.
As a result, people who depend on cell phones for their lifeline to friends, relatives and 911 emergency services were suddenly left with non-functioning devices. Even in areas where the cell phone towers were still operating, many people had no place to charge their phones because their own homes were cut off from electricity.
When the grid is up, and there are no storms, solar flares or disruptions, cell phones are truly amazing devices, but they are vulnerable to even small-scale natural events, and they therefore cannot be relied on when you need them most.

#5) The internet is wildly vulnerable to natural disasters
According to news reports, these storms took down a portion of the Amazon Cloud, and this in turn shut down Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram. Those services have now been restored, but they were offline for several hours during which many of their users no doubt thought the world was coming to an end.

#6) Many people have no clue what to do in an emergency
Consider this quote about the CDC telling people what to do:
“The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention was among many government agencies trying to keep people informed — from knowing when the food in your suddenly inoperable freezer can’t be eaten to taking a cool bath if you don’t have AC.”

Seriously? Does the government have to tell people to take a cool bath in order to avoid overheating? Do people not know when food has spoiled? And even more strangely, is it now the role of the U.S. government to tell everybody what to do in every emergency?
Whatever happened to common sense? I can tell you what: It moved out to the country!
Out in the country of Texas, Georgia, Kentucky and just about everywhere else, ranchers and farmers still have common sense. They know about backup water supplies, and they can figure things out for themselves. It seems to be city people who need the most instructions from Washington D.C. because they’ve forgotten the fundamental skills of human survival.

#7) 911 and other emergency services are quickly overwhelmed or completely offline
According to MSNBC:
In Washington’s northern Virginia suburbs, emergency 911 call centers were out of service; residents were told to call local police and fire departments. Huge trees toppled across streets in the nation’s capital, crumpling cars. Cellphone and Internet service was spotty, gas stations shut down and residents were urged to conserve water.

[Right: An uprooted tree blocks a street in the American University neighborhood of Washington.]Meanwhile…Triple-digit temps as millions suffer storm power outages. Air-conditioning out to 1.5 million D.C. homes, businesses; 18 deaths tied to storms, heat.]

#8) A national grid-down situation would be far more complex to repair
The recent storms that caused this “grid down” situation for millions of Americans was a local event, and its repair and restoration was aided by workers arriving from outside the affected regions. In a national grid down scenario, however, there will be no excess human capital to lend to the situation. Every worker will be busy trying to restore the power grid in their own home regions.
This means repairs will take significantly longer, and according to some experts like David Chalk and James Wesley Rawles, a national grid down scenario has the potential of being unable to be repaired at all, resulting in years of no power grid which would obviously cause a mass die-off across the U.S. population.

#9) Modern cities are built on systems that have little redundancy
When the power goes out to a local hospital, there might be a temporary backup generator, but even that generator relies on the delivery of fuel. The delivery of generator fuel, in turn, relies on the availability of diesel truck fuel, which depends on petroleum refineries functioning, which in turn depends on the power grid staying up and highways remaining navigable. This is a complex chain of dependencies which can suffer disruptions or even total failure without warning.
There are surprisingly few redundancies in modern cities: Power, water, 911 services, natural gas and even sewage systems are all vulnerable to single points of failure. Even the evacuation infrastructure of modern cities is ripe for total failure. The city of Los Angeles, for example, simply cannot — under any circumstances — be evacuated. The highways simply do not have the capacity to handle the mass of vehicles attempting to leave, and in less than 72 hours, the whole thing would turn into a giant parking lot of stranded vehicles and desperate people, ripe for the picking off by armed gangs riding motorcycles.
When 911 fails, most people have no backup plan. Most people have no skills to defend themselves against acts of violence. They have no mindset for dealing with difficulty, so they call others to solve their problems for them: the police, the plumber, the fireman, the ambulance and so on. In a collapse scenario, individuals whose specialty skills are currently shared across a broad population will suddenly be difficult or impossible to locate. Why? Because they’ll be at home protecting their families!

#10) Mother Nature will humble humanity
Any time human beings get too arrogant and too big-headed about all their amazing cell phone technology, hi-rise cities and nuclear power plants, Mother Nature just shrugs and sends forth a tsunami of water or wind. All of humanity’s greatest constructs are but fragile toys compared to the truly awesome power of Mother Nature and the resilience of planet Earth.
If the power grid goes down across planet Earth for just one year, 90% of human civilization will perish, and along with it all the DVDs, Nike shoes and designer bling as well. Even the entire fictional construct of society’s laws and banking system will cease to exist.
Mother Nature is real. Consciousness is real. Seeds are real. But much of what humanity has so far created is paper-thin and temporary. It can all cease to exist in the blink of a cosmic eye.
We are fragile beings exploring a sea of such greatness and scale that our own lives seem silly by comparison. What humans think of as a natural “disaster” is but a tiny expression of natural patterns to Mother Nature. If we truly hope to survive as a species, we would be wise to remember how insignificant we really are in the greater scope of things… and why we must learn to respect nature and the universe rather than arrogantly thinking we have conquered it with GMOs, nuclear power and a supercollider.

See also the post Survival Manual/Disaster/ARc Storm (Atmospheric River storm), California’s catastrophic “flood version” of the midcentral US-east coast derecho windstorm.

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Emergency & Camp Generator

(Survival Manual/5. Energy/Emergency & Camp Generator)

A.  Which generator to buy?
There are a variety of different generator models available for home use. When it comes to purchasing one it’s important to find a generator that is capable of supplying the right amount of power to match the demand of the load. Any excess usage or power output is a waste of fuel and money.
[Shown at left, a Yamaha 5KW ‘portable’ generator.]
1000 Watt Generator: A 1000watt generator is ideal for homes and small offices. It’s capable of powering practically all the average household appliances – one at a time. This type of generator is highly popular among causal users. A 1000watt generator can be used in cabins, trailers and even in camps.  The 1000watt generator models are small and light weight. Therefore it can be carried to any location without much effort. 1000watt generator models are ideal for areas where there is a constant blackout of power.
2000 Watt Generator: Three popular models of  2000 watt generator are: 1) All Power America APG 3014, 2) Honeywell HW2000i and, 3) Yamaha EF2000iS. These three models have different built-in options and power producing capabilities to consumer needs and pocketbooks .
_1)  The All Power America APG 3014 is the cheapest 2000 watt generator and is a suitable gen set for a home. It is very light and you can even lift it by yourself and carry it in a vehicle whenever you want to carry it to another place. Nevertheless, it is a much louder machine than others and due to this people think it is much suitable for home use, as it could be left in a sound proof area restricting its sound pollution. Another factor that goes against this type is, it is not CARB submissive.
_2)   The Honeywell HW2000i is a smaller than the All Power. It has a few upgrade features that make it better than the All Power America version. When comparing, the Honeywell emits less noise, about 62 decibels. Another plus factor is that the Honeywell is lighter than the All Power America model. It has more sturdy outer cover that protects it from huge impacts. This type is also CARB compliant Unlike APA which was ruled out from California, Honeywell HW2001 is legal to use. This type is ideal for camping.
_ 3)  The most expensive of the three is the Yamaha EF2000iS. You can have uninterrupted power for about 10 hours from one fueling. It makes the least amount of noise out of the three models, 51.5 decibels. It is fuel-efficient and is nationally CARB compliant, with very low emissions. Even though the Yamaha comes with a higher price tag, it’s worth the price, because it supplies more power, has built-in options (discussed below), is much quieter, and has lower carbon emissions.

Other than these 2000-watt generator models mentioned here you may find more machines under various brand names. The Honda EU2000iA, Generac 5793iX2000, Yamaha EF2000is, and Kipor IG 2000 are some of the most popular and best-selling models. Each unit has different features which make them unique from one another.

Yamaha EF2400iS Generator:
Yamaha is a well-known company that produces high quality generators. The Yamaha EF2400iS generator is among the best that they offer in a light weight generator. We can describe the EF2400IS as being completely user-friendly and featuring a very good compact design that boasts much more power than we might believe when we look at the size.
The generator is capable of starting most RV air conditioners of 13,500 BTU. It is powered by a very good 171 cc Yamaha engine that will be able to continuously operate the generator for around 9 hours – the capacity of it’s 1.6 gallon gas tank.
There are many specialists that believe that the Yamaha EF2400IS is the best generator that the company created so far. It features a compact design that is small and yet powerful. It can meet the personal needs of most regular users. At continuous output the device shows a 2000 watts rating and weighs 70 pounds. This means that you can easily transport it wherever you want to go. We are talking about a perfect power source that can be used for running AC in hot days, watching TV or running a microwave oven. The Yamaha EF2400IS generator is suitable for powering sensitive electronics and computers with the use of it’s special inverter system featuring PWM control.
On every refueling, you can expect 9 hours of runtime. This is enough to supply you with the power needed through the night.
A special technology called, Smart Throttle, is used, which varies the speed of the engine on the basis of load. Due to the Smart Throttle, you’ll notice that fuel economy is improved while noise is reduced.
The EF2400IS is campsite friendly only producing 53 db of sound while in operation. The Yamaha generator is simple to use and easy to store.
It has 2400 watts of starting power and is easily accessible with an included control panel. There is a visible gas gage to keep track of how much gas you have left. The oil monitoring system is accomplished by the Oil Watch feature, which will alert you when there is low oil pressure. On the whole, the Yamaha EF2400IS generator is really a smart choice for people that need small generators.
5000 Watt Generator:  It’s not enough to have a backup generator connected to your home’s electricity architecture you need to know just how much power it will give you. Generators come with specifications listed for the maximum wattage they can produce. This information is important because it will help you establish just how big a generator you need. The rule is, the bigger your home, the more the appliances you are likely to have and the more power you are likely to need. A 5000 Watt Generator can suffice, but there are a few things you need to know:  With the many appliances a home has, it’s virtually impossible to have them all running at the same time, unless you are willing to spend a lot on your emergency power energy bill. So it goes without saying, when there is a power outage, your most power-hungry appliances like the clothes dryer, electric furnace-heater should be turned off; if left on, 5000 watt generator will  not be adequate. If you take these energy hogs out of the equation, you will probably have enough power for lighting your entire household. Incandescent bulbs generally consume more wattage than fluorescent lamps, even with the same brightness output. The fridge can stay on, as well as the TV, music system and the AC unit, but that is about as far you can go before exhausting the 5000watt output. If there is still a need to have all the appliances running, you have the option of running one at a time in order to avoid creating a power overload on the generator.
A 5000 watt generator is not particularly large but they are fairly heavy (read: not very portable); it is common to find both “portable” (wheels or skids) and stationary units (meant for mounting). Considering their relatively modest wattage, you are likely to find more ‘mobile’ generators than stationary ones. Choosing one becomes a question of who is offering the best product, the most options, at the best price. A modest budget of $500 can buy a basic, no frill 5000 watt generator, for those willing to spend more, the figure can ascend to $1500 and beyond. Remember, you get what you pay for.  The type of fuel availability  will also matter, as there are units powered by gasoline, propane, natural gas or all three [more about Tri-fuel below].

B.  Generator Notes
•  It’s not necessary to run the generator 24/7, and in a survival situation with limited resources, it should be avoided. We recommend running the generator 2-4 hours in the morning, and another 2-4 hours in the evening. This should be enough to cool the contents of your refrigerator, prepare meals, take showers, heat or cool the house, fill water bottles, flush toilets, etc. Most refrigerators and freezers will maintain temperature if operated 50% of the time, depending on ambient temperature, condition of the door seal, and how often the door is opened.
•  The Yamaha EF2000iS generator was tested on 3 different portable air conditioners and a refrigerator. The generator was able to start and run each of them individually. The portable air conditioners were a; 9000 BTU Haier, 7000 BTU Haier and a 7000 BTU Danby. The refrigerator was a GE 18 cubic foot. •  Generator rentals: A 3000 watt generator rents for $95/day. A 2000 watt generator rents for $60/day.  Therefore a 2500 watt generator such as the Yamaha 2400 would rent for $75/day. •  It is a good idea to install one or more Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms inside your home. If CO gas from the generator enters your home and poses a health risk, the alarm will sound to warn you. Many home fires and deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning have occurred from using a generator improperly.
•  Do not hook up a generator directly to your home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator, or use a properly cable sized extension cord.

C.  Campground or neighborhood generator use:
Most commercial and government camp grounds have some form of quiet hours. Most are not overly restrictive and would permit the opportunity to recharge the batteries if you were in the midst of an extended stay and were without electrical hookup.

Most National Parks have ‘generator sections’
•  Texas National Forest & Grasslands: May not operate an electrical generator between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., except on designated loops
•  Most state camping grounds require the sound of a generator to be below a specific decibel level so, find out the details from the management of these facilities beforehand. If your generator gets too noisy, you could be kicked out of the park.
•  I love my generator, but once I start it up I immediately take a walk up & down the road to see if it’s noticeable at the next neighbors camp sites – in most cases I can’t hear it at all, but there are some places where the terrain, ground cover, foliage (or lack thereof) allows the sound to get through and then I’m much more conservative about running it.

Yamaha EF2400iSHC Generator, Tri-fuel, with pure sine wave inverter
[This was my choice for personal wattage needs, portability and options – Mr Larry]
MSRP* $1,479 ($1550 with tri fuel carburetor added, add another $70 S&H fees)

The Yamaha EF2400iSHC Generator advertisement follows:
A great recreational activity companion and perfect for at-home backup in the off-season Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., introduces a High Current version of the top-selling EF2400iS – the new EF2400iSHC. Compact, lightweight and quiet while still powerful, reliable and with low emission, the Yamaha EF2400iSHC generator is perfect for camping, tailgating, powering workshop equipment or at home as back-up during a power outage.
From small power tools to appliances, such as a refrigerator or microwave oven, the Yamaha EF2400iSHC starts appliances quicker thanks to High Current technology and special Field Effect Transistors in the electronic controller. These features combine to increase the surge output, helping the EF2400iSHC respond more quickly for greater big-appliance starting capacity and longer run time for all uses.
A powerful 171cc engine and Yamaha’s industry leading Smart Throttle, which automatically adjusts the engine speed to match the load, allowing the EF2400iSHC to run at a slower engine speed resulting in quieter running and maximum fuel efficiency – up to 8.6 hours at 1/4-capacity load on one tank of fuel.
To ensure the EF2400iSHC retains its portability – small and lightweight (merely 75 pounds) – without sacrificing strength or reliability, a die cast aluminum frame and aluminum flywheel was used.
Additionally, the EF2400iSHC has an actual noise level range of only 53~60 decibels (quieter than normal speech) – giving consumers a lightweight, quiet running and durable generator.
The EF2400iSHC will see most of its work done in a portable shop, at the track, RVing, tailgating, at the hunting cabin and during other recreation or leisure activities, but its real mettle is proven at-home during a power outage.
The EF2400iSHC uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to produce high-quality electricity, which is as clean if not cleaner than the power supplied by public utility companies. PWM means consumers can use this generator with confidence as a power source for computers, variable speed power tools and appliances with built-in computer functions – perfect for charging cell phones and other sensitive electronics.

With a single side-mounted control panel that puts all controls on one surface and a detachable rear panel for easy access to service and maintenance points, the new EF2400iSHC is simple to use and easy to maintain. Like all recently introduced Yamaha generators, the EF24000iSHC meets the strictest emission standards in the country making it legal in all fifty states including California.

•  Type: Brushless Inverter
•  Maximum AC Output (surge-start-up): 2400 watts
•  Rated AC Output: 2000 watts
•  Rated/Maximum AC Current: 16.7 / 20 amps @ 120V
•  12-Volt DC Output (Recharge 12-volt batteries for RV, auto, marine, aircraft, etc.)
•  Engine OHV, Air-Cooled, Four-Stroke, Single Cylinder
•  Displacement: 171cc
•  Dimensions: 20.8”L x 16.5”W x 18.2H”
•  Dry Weight: 75 lb
•  Fuel Tank Capacity: 1.6 gal
•  Continuous Operation at 1/4 Rated Load: 8.6 hr [when fueled by the gasoline tank]
•  Noise Level: 53 – 58 dBA
•  Warranty: 3 Years Limited Warranty
•  Will operate a 13,500 BTU portable air-conditioner up to 110F.
•  Legal for sale in all 50 states – Meets CARB emission regulations.
•  Auto-decompression system – Reduces compression for easier starting.
•  Gasoline pet cock – Helps prevent carburetor contamination during storage.
•  Controls all on one panel – Easy access to controls.
•  Smart Throttle™ varies engine speed based on load – Improves fuel economy and reduces noise.
•  Comfortable grip handles – Easy portability and storage.
•  Fuel gauge – Ability to gauge fuel level without opening cap.
•  OilWatch warning system – Prevents engine damage and provides added peace of mind.
•  Electrical overload breaker – Prevents generator damage in case of overload.
•  Super-quiet muffler with USFS – approved Spark Arrester: Only 53 dBA at 1/4 load…eliminates errant sparks.
•  Die-cast aluminum frame:  Light weight, high strength.
•  Inverter system with Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) control – Can run products with built-in microcomputers or microcomputer-controlled electric tools.
•  DC outlet:  8A 12V outlet for charging batteries (cables included).
•  Rubber vibration isolation feet: Absorbing feet for increased smooth operation and noise reduction.
•  Multipole alternator: Light, compact design with great power output to weight ratio.
•  OHV engine with cast iron cylinder liner: Efficient, reliable, powerful providing long life and excellent heat dissipation.
•  Easily detachable side panels – For easier serviceability.
* Mr. Larry note: For those of us living in a hot climate, where several hours of air-conditioning is required daily, the generator will power up to a portable 10,000 BTU (maximum) air conditioner.

E.  The National Yamaha Hybrid Fuel Center
[Have the optional TRI FUEL (gasoline, propane, natural gas)  carburetor installed before its shipped]
No other generator brand can offer: 1 carburetor for 3 Fuels, $1550.74

Yamaha Deluxe Engine/Tach Meter
Dial in the fuel mixture for peak performance and efficiency.
Also helps you to maintain your generator at proper service intervals.  Service intervals are preprogrammed into this meter (10 hours initial, every 50 hours thereafter). Upon reaching the specified service interval, the meter displays a flash alert for a two-hour period. Includes hour meter and tachometer functions. Seal lifetime battery.(Battery life is 7-10 years (non-serviceable).
Professionally installed. This is not standard equipment but we know how important this meter is so we include one “installed” with all generators as standard equipment! ($49 value)

When a Yamaha generator is operated on propane and natural gas:
•  It does not give off noxious fumes-which is great for campers and close quarters.
•  The clean emissions are better for the environment-which is great for all of us.
•  The carburetor cannot and will not gum up-for dependable starting every time.
•  Larger fuel supplies (ie. 100 pound propane fuel tank)-can give much longer run times and no dangerous HOT refills.
•  Safer fuel-propane and natural gas have proven to be safer than gasoline.
•  Lower maintenance-with less moving parts and a fuel that CANNOT gum up!
•  Longer engine life-absolutely no impurities in alternative fuel.
•  Remote Starting-requires no choking to start on alternative fuel.

Choose the fuel option you want
You can have propane, natural gas, or gasoline and even use all three on the same generator.  Switch back and forth on the fly.
A portable 20# propane cylinder is equivalent to 5 gallons of gasoline, which equals 3.12 tank fills of gasoline  for a maximum operating time of  26.8 hours generator time at 1/4 load.

You could run the generator from the cylinder while camping and then, when you come home, you can connect the same generator right into a natural gas line or just fill the generators gasoline tank and run.
The generator has a 1.6 gallon gasoline tank capacity.

Fuel conversion factors: (Since the generator runs  up to 8.6 hrs on one tank full of gas. at ¼ load):
•  3.12 refills (per 5 gallon gasoline or 1  #20 pound propane tank) x 8.6 hrs per tank full =26.8 hrs operation.
•  1 ea 20# propane or 5 gallons gas provide about 26 hours electrical power
•  2 ea #20 propane or 10 gallons gasoline provide 52 hours electrical power
•  If you run this generator for 4 hours per day, each 20# tank of propane or 5 gallons gasoline would last almost a week; 2 ea. 20# propane tanks would last about 2 weeks.
•  A 100 pound propane tank = 130 hours continuous electrical power.

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