Every day we walk into a room, flip a switch and in an instant there is light. We push a button and live a “Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart. We move a little device on our desk and can navigate around the world on a laptop. We place clothes or dishes in a box and a half hour later they are clean. We expect all of these things to be at our fingertips every day but within nanoseconds of a cyber attack we can be transported back to 1850 and live like Abraham Lincoln, chopping wood for warmth and reading by candle light.
There are days when that life sounds really good to me. It would be so nice to have the peace and quiet – with just the sound of a crackling fire. It would be great to have an excuse to read a book instead of reviewing my checklist. It would be wonderful to lie on the lawn and look at the stars. For those in the city, you would actually be able to see the stars again. Not everything about the lack of electricity is a bad thing… but I digress.
Recently I watch an interview with retired reporter and news analyst Ted Koppel. He has written a new book: Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath. He has spent more than a year researching the possibility of a cyberattack by enemies of our country, which would disable the power grid and plunge us into darkness and silence for weeks, months, or longer. Take a minute and listen to what he has to say about disaster preparation and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
If members of the church and the church itself are the most prepared, ask yourself, are you included in that group?
Cyberattacks are on the rise, with a dramatic increase in the past few years. Hackers have successfully compromised the security of U.S. Department of Energy computer systems 159 times between 2010 and 2014. Hackers have succesfully infiltrated police and fire departments, governement agencies, Fortune 500 companies, credit card companies, banks, educational institutions, power companies, internet providers and email accounts. Many of these attacks have come from state sponsored hackers in Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, ISIS and pro-Palestinian groups to name just a few. It’s not just the United States who is a frequent victim – also Germany, the UK, Canada, Sweden, Australia and many more
Following a hurricane or earthquake food supplies can be cut off, store shelves swept clean within hours and doors shuttered for weeks after a disaster. Should we be hit with a cyberattack on the power grid, power may be non-existent for months.
Let us examine just one of the concerns we should be considering when this attack comes: Food.
Food cannot be delivered to city stores if there is no gasoline. Gasoline needs electricity to pump.
The typical grocery store has a three day supply of food on their shelves meaning they get food deliveries twice a week to restock shelves. Grocery stores do not have pallets of food in the back room.
People who have not prepared will be rushing to stores to purchase anything left on shelves. Tempers will rise and fighting will ensue.
Credit and debit cards will be useless further adding to frustration.
These frustrations will spill into the streets as parents realize they have no food to feed their family.
Very few foods can be grown in less that two months, most need three months or more.
But, we have prepared. We have a General Store in our home pantry so we are good – or are we?
Remember, we have no power.
How will we preserve the food in our freezers and refrigerators?
How will we cook the foods we have?
Do we have the knowledge and supplies necessary to prepare food off grid?
How will we get water to reconstitue freeze dried and dehydrated foods? City water treatement plants may be inoperable for days or weeks, and well pumps won’t work without electricity.
All these questions, and we’ve only talked about food so far.
Take a walk around the house and list everything that requires electricity. It will amaze you just how dependent we really are. Now begin making a list of what you will need to do to replace the functions of those items to survive without the grid. Seems overwhelming. It can be, but not when you eat the elephant one bite at a time.
What I see in the real world is people who think they aren’t creative and can’t think of any way they can possibly get prepared. They repeat those negative thoughts to themselves and tell them to other people as if these are facts.
Nonsense! You CAN learn what you need to know to become the family and neighborhood self-reliance expert. The first step is to forget about what others think. The second is to be teachable and to understand no one has all the answers and really, there is never only one good way to accomplish anything.
I saw an interview with Bear Grylls, host of the TV show Man vs. Wild and Discovery show: Worst Case Scenario. He was asked how he was able to escape life threatening situations while staying calm. Bear’s answer was to take a minute to think about your options. And in my opinion – the real answer, though he may not recognize it, is that he has taken time to think through “worst case scenarios” so as a crisis comes, his brain already contains the information needed and has been trained to process that information to achieve a solution.
Every time you read an article or join in on a discussion in our facebook group you are adding to that knowledge. What you do with that knowledge during an emergency may be different than what I will do with the same knowledge. The results however, will be the same – we will not freeze, starve, dissolve into helplessness. We will survive.
We are all blessed with the gift of creativity. We all express it in different ways. Some of us have buried our creative spirit under layers of adult behavior, all those voices in our heads that would like us to believe we are not as good as the next guy. Rubbish!
Next time you have one of those negative discussions with yourself, or someone tells you your preparations will do no good or won’t be enough so why bother… remember: chin up, walk away and seek out those who have been listening. If you feel alone join us on the Totally Ready Facebook page and you will discover many who can help and support your efforts.
Ted Koppel is retired. He had an easy life, and was not looking to go back to work, but he began learning about the possibility of a cyberattack. He could have sat back and enjoyed retirement, but instead he has written a book in hopes of helping us recognize the need to prepare. A general told Koppel a cyberattack on our electric grid is not a matter of “if” but “when”. How seriously are we really preparing? The prophets ancient and modern have warned us. The scriptures have warned us.
Leo Tolstoy said: “Remember then: there is only one time that is important — now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.”
We have the power now to prepare. Join us over the next few months here and at Totally Ready as we take on the challenge of backing up all those electrical appliances in our homes with off-grid solutions. Let’s do it!
Keep moving forward adding food and non-food essentials to your General Store by checking in each week at Totally Ready on facebook for the weekly challenge.
Check out more interviews with Ted Koppel