Ready or Not #277: Now You See It Now You Don’t

It’s late at night and you are up reading a novel on your Kindle®.  Your kids are watching a DVD with your husband on the 60” TV and your teenage daughter is in the kitchen popping up some popcorn for everyone.  Life is good.

Suddenly the lights go out and the television and popcorn popper go silent.  That’s odd.  Your Kindle® goes out too; now that shouldn’t have happened.  There isn’t a storm and it is still springtime so there is no extensive draw on the electricity from air-conditioning units.  While your husband gets the candles, matches and flashlights out of your 72-hour kit to put a little light on the subject, you decide to check out the news on your fully charged laptop.  Hmmm, that’s odd – it won’t turn on.

Oh well, it was late anyway and so as a family everyone decides to turn in a little early and catch up on some sleep.  The power department will have the power restored to full service by morning; they always do.

But when you get up the next morning to get ready for work and school, the power still isn’t on.  No toast for breakfast this morning and the milk in the fridge is warm.  Your daughter is whining because the blow dryer won’t work and she had to take a cold shower.  None of this makes sense.

You still haven’t heard any news about the power outage and so you try to call your neighbor to find out if they know what is going on.  The phone isn’t working.  Hmmm – again.  Just then your husband comes in from the garage and he looks very confused.  You ask him what is going on and he said that neither of the vehicles is working.  What?

Now you start to get really worried.  You go outside and see that a lot of your neighbors are outside looking a little confused and nobody seems to know anything.  And it is so eerily quiet.  I mean really quite.  No cars, no quiet buzzing of the power lines, no music – nothing.  Even the neighbor’s dog is uncharacteristically quiet.

What is going on?

I was given a book to read a while back about an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) attack scenario.  The book is called “When the lights went out – AN LDS/EMP SCENARIO” written by Jack Monnett.  This story is a fictional tale of a very small isolated community in Utah and what happens when the lights go out.

An EMP attack will short circuit ANY and ALL electronic devices.  Cars built after the 1980’s with computer gadgets in them won’t work, computers won’t work, phones and televisions won’t work and even if they did, there wouldn’t be anybody that would be able to broadcast any information.  Nothing that uses electricity will work.

Slowly it starts to dawn on you that you and your family are in big trouble.  Knowing that you need to take care of your family, you run to the fridge and figure out what you can salvage from the fridge to feed them before everything goes bad.  Unfortunately you can’t use your generator to make back-up electricity to extend the life of the food in your fridge or freezer because the generator won’t work (remember ALL electrical items are totally fried).

Actually you have more to worry about than the food in your fridge.  The water in your town is pumped from wells into the water lines and is then distributed throughout the towns.  The pumps no longer work and there is no gravitational pull; the cold shower that your daughter took this morning was the last of the water in your water heater and there is no water to replace it.  You don’t even want to think about the sewer system and how the city uses electricity to push the waste to the sewer plant.  The basement bathroom has already shown signs of backing up.  Oh dear.

Sound serious?  Yes, it is very serious.  Thank goodness an EMP attack hasn’t happen on a large scale (yes it has happened in isolated incidences), but unfortunately the knowledge and ability to cause such massive destruction by ‘turning off’ the electricity to the entire nation is possible.  Sad, but true.

Have there been any rumors about something like this happening?  Nope, not that I have heard of anyway, but after reading this book it made me stop and think – what if?  I have re-evaluated my emergency plans and re-evaluated what our family would do.  I think that I am still in a pretty good place, but like in the book, I have to ask, how well prepared are my neighbors? And my community?

Just a little something to consider.

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