Just How Bad Is It When the Grid Goes Down: Part 2

Power Grid

There are hundreds, if not thousands of articles on the Internet that describe in detail what you can do, or need to do to survive without electricity. Some of the articles are well thought out, and provide the readers with practical, common sense advice, and are well worth reading in most cases, but, there is always a but when it comes to survival.

It is not a matter of you being able to survive without electricity, it is the fact that the entire grid system in the United States has collapsed. You as an individual or even as a family could survive for an extended period without power if you prepared well, but this is providing the three North American grids have not entirely collapsed.

You living on a homestead or simply living in your home in a rural area could survive if the grid for the rest of the country was operational. You might think you live independently, but are you really. Stop and think about it. No one is truly independent, until all three grids systems (interconnects) collapse.

Even those living on a homestead need to go to town occasionally to pick up supplies, food and materials you cannot make, grow or raise yourself, in other words, even when living without electricity you need the rest of the world to have electricity so you have access to certain things. You need manufacturers producing goods, refineries making gasoline and companies filling propane bottles. You need delivery services, the Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx. 

You may need to take your child to a dentist, visit a parts store for a water pump part or you may need gas or diesel for farm equipment, and generators, and you may have an emergency cell phone you don’t use but have “just in case”. Your animals may need professional care at times, so yes, you need the rest of the country to be up and running so you can live off the grid.

For those that think they would never need to make a phone call, go to town to visit a doctor or to pick up some parts for that old tractor are not being honest with themselves. This kind of thinking will have an impact on your survival.

Some of you are already saying you won’t need a doctor, or have medications prescribed, or even need to buy over the counter medications because you have stockpiled all you need. This is a good thing, but stockpiles deplete over time.

Your health as an adult is already baked in the cake from childhood. You may not need high blood pressure medication today, or insulin, or pain medication for aching and aging joints, not today, but what about tomorrow.

Health problems start when you are a child. Too many bowls of sugary cereal will cause problems with your teeth in adulthood, cause diabetes, high blood pressure and so on. You wonder how the pioneers and your early ancestors survived without doctors and medications. Well they didn’t survive very well in some instances. The life expectancy was much lower than it is today, (150 years ago, life expectancy was between 30 to 40 years). People lived hard and worked hard. People lived with bad teeth or pulled the teeth themselves before the infection killed them. A small cut on the arm or leg could lead to gangrene and death. A broken leg could be a death sentence.

Diseases wiped out entire families, yellow fever, smallpox, tuberculosis, and a simple cold that leads to pneumonia would kill a person without antibiotics being administered. A number of people died from spoiled or tainted foods, bad fish, oysters, and bacteria laden beef (PubMed.gov, n.d.).

Charles Mann (1955- ) points out in his book 1493, “Uncovering the New World Columbus Created” that 30 percent of the first three waves of early colonists to the New World were gentlemen. A gentleman at the time was defined as someone who did not perform manual labor.

During the winter of 1609–10 known as the “the starving time”, almost everyone died, and those who did survive, survived by eating those that did not. They came to the New World woefully unprepared for the physical rigors awaiting them.

When the lights go out for good, the harsh conditions that await you will be unimaginable as well. Your life span will be reduced because diseases we once thought eradicated will once again surface and those that did not keep up on, or refused to get vaccines may very well succumb to centuries old diseases.

Increased physical labor will lead to heart attacks and injuries because your body is not conditioned. Water and food that may or may not be safe to drink or eat will be drank and eaten because dehydration and starvation is a sure thing, while dying from botulism or getting sick from Giardia may or may not happen.

Simply having the early technology to provide clean water dramatically increased the life expectancy of people living in populated areas a century ago. The government and the people at the time could not comprehend that diseases were spread through water contaminated by human waste and garbage left in the streets and gutters. Chamber pots were emptied in the gutters, and then the rain, washed the raw sewage and garbage into the local lakes, rivers and streams where drinking water was drawn from. A viscous cycle that was not broken for decades.

Your current lifestyle is relatively sedentary in comparison to your ancestors and your diet to this point will have a lot to do with how well you live going forward. Oh, you may think you are in shape, because you walk a few miles a day or hit up the gym once in awhile. Go without electricity for a few weeks or a few months and then see how much in shape you are. There are no doctors to get blood pressure medicine from, no pills for aching joints, no one to set a broken bone properly and so your arm or leg is forever deformed if it even heals at all.

Your diet will not improve during a crisis because survival foods like MRE’s, dehydrated soups, stews and canned foods will be high in sodium, Carbs, sugars and who knows what else, and all this without medications for high blood pressure and cholesterol. Of course, you can counter the effects by an increase in activity, which is a double-edged sword, because an increase in activity may lead to heart attacks, pulled muscles and broken bones.

Cities and suburban areas will become death traps quickly. Fires will burn out of control because the fire departments cannot respond. Hospital generators will go silent over time and patients will die by the thousands. Crime will increase and much of the crime will be out of necessity for many and for others this is their chance to pillage and run wild until the stomach starts shrinking and the illegal drugs some so desperately need are all gone and then they will die or be killed.

Those left in the military will bring generators the size of mobile homes to some cities. Aid stations will be set and emergency supplies passed out, and armed soldiers will patrol the streets day and night. The population will be reduced dramatically in the first 90 days and then people will live for weeks and months before they die from diabetes, heart attacks, from injuries or by murder. Garbage will pile up and sewage will run in the streets. Rats and insects will carry diseases. Body lice will once again be as common as the housefly and children will constantly have red, runny noses and coughs no one can explain.

How Do You Survive And For How Long Can You

We all take things for granted, many things like an EpiPen, for example, how many are on hand right now. Do you have a stockpile because your child has allergies or because you do? A bee sting or the wrong food could be deadly.

If you have two years worth of supplies, clean drinking water and the ability to filter and purify a water source you can survive without electricity, unless you get appendicitis, break a leg and the bone is sticking out, unless you can treat an infection with fresh antibiotics.

Yes, you can survive as your ancestors did or didn’t as the case may be. You have to make your own luck, however, get fit now, and eat right. Stockpile food, water, medicines, gasoline, diesel, propane, firewood, ammunition, and cookware and the lists go on from there.

You will need others, but you want to avoid others, as well, to avoid diseases they may carry, to avoid their anger and frustration and violent tendencies because their children are starving and sick.

Stayed Tuned For The Next In This Series

PubMed.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25438479