From what I understand is this will be a simulation of a massive grid Power failure that could happen via EMP/Solar Flare or a cyber attack. It is supposed to involve over 150 agencies from Canada, the USA and Mexico and makes it one of the bigger tests/simulations that I have heard of happening. From what I understand is food distribution will be a focus point of the simulation not just the lack of power to the grid itself. There does not seem to be any plans of physically shutting down the grid in any way, but more of a test of how the utilities and agencies will react to a massive power outage.
It is a good idea for you to do a test of your preps for a long term power outage that at least would cover a bad winter storm. How far you want to take the test is up to you but I think doing your pre-storm check list would be a good start. You have one day’s notice that a fast moving storm is coming and you can do whatever you want to prepare if the power is out for a few days to a couple of weeks.
A few things to consider if the grid goes down for 10 days:
- No banking or the use of Credit, Debit card or even checks. Whatever cash you have on hand will have to last you for ten days at least. Smaller bills will be best and be able to make change. Cash will be king! Got any bills due that you can pay ahead via the Internet? While that may not seem like a big deal it is one less worry for you.
- Gas pumps don’t work without electricity at best some gas station might have a generator for 24 hours after that forget about it. What you have on hand is what you will have to use. If you haven’t tried filling a car or generator with the new gas cans you are in for a mess. Get extra funnels and those pump type siphon hoses to reduce spillage. Fill up as much as you can afford on the 12th. I need to get another siphon hose myself for transferring from gas cans to my generator.
- Without electricity the city water system will stop. They won’t be able to get fuel for the backup generator either so you will need water on hand and while the water still flows you need to fill every container you got that will hold water safely. Fill with cold water and save the hot water tank as a reserve. You could check out how much water you could have on hand using whatever you already have that holds water. Then just dump the water into your washer so you don’t waste it.
- Lights: it will be very dark so you will need lighting for long winter nights. I like kerosene and LED flashlights and lanterns. Of course you need fuel and fresh replacement batteries for those items. If you use lanterns do a test, make sure wicks are trimmed and you have fueled up your lamps. If you are using a gas/propane lantern, check the mantels and have some for backup. You can get some great head lamps that clip to a baseball cap brim and you will be able to work with both hands. These cost as little as a$2.00-$5.00 and are great to have on hand. Cut up some extra wood and have it standing by to use or if you use propane/kerosene for a backup heat source have it ready to go.
- Sanitation, I think most toilets will work as long as you have water to flush the toilet and pipes don’t freeze. Have a porta potty or bucket ready to go just in case.
- First aid you will need the basics for minor injuries and even just aches and pains. With people spending more times indoors you may have to deal with the cold or flu. Have medicine and the basics to support a sick person or two. Illness can spread very fast, be ready for it. Hospitals will be a madhouse and after a couple of days with out power they won’t be able to do much more than you can at home to support a patient. Think about gloves and masks as well as OTC meds on hand or homemade remedies. Do you have extra prescription medications on hand?
- Food and cooking, keeping food cold won’t be a huge problem but having a few big camp cooler will help maintain temps. and avoid freezing. Cooking will be whatever alternative you pick for you back up from a butane burner, camp stove. These can help augment the heat in your house. Never use an outdoor grill indoors and turn off all stoves when you finish cooking. Do not run any heater overnight for safety reason as well as saving fuel. Dress in layers and use extra blankets to stay warm. If you use electric blankets make sure you have backup blankets/sleeping bags.
- Make sure everything is charged up from cell phones to any other gadgets like radios or rechargeable batteries and power paks. Test out your extension cords and make sure they are in good condition. This time of year I tend to think of a snow storm or blizzard being the most likely cause of a power outage so having salt for melting ice, sand for traction and knowing my snow shovel is on the front porch ready to use is my thing for prepping.
- Clean the house and get all your chores done while you still have electricity that makes it easier to get done. If you bake bread, bake a couple of loaves extra to have on hand in case the power goes out and the electric stove doesn’t work.
- Last but not least think about non-electric entertainment such as board, cards and dice games. Books, crossword puzzles, Sudoku or word find and brain teasers. My kindle has great battery life and there is nothing wrong with using battery powered electronics for entertainment but if the grid goes down because of an EMP or solar flare/Carrington type event those gadgets will probably be “bricked”. There will probably be plenty of hard work available for anyone that is “bored” so don’t be afraid to use that if someone starts to get a little “nuts” being disconnected electronically.
I know that what I have covered may seem like a lot to get done in just a day, but it’s not to much for anyone to do and you don’t need a lot of money for most of the items. A stop by your local dollar store and you can get most of the 1st aid items, flashlights some batteries and some of the brainteaser on crossword books along with dice and a couple of decks of cards. Most of the items you get won’t expire and you will always have them on hand if needed. If your car has a half a tank of fuel, you could top off the vehicle tank and rotate your fuel cans then fill the cans for the generator if you have one on hand. Let’s say you stop by the local mega-mart and do some shopping a little earlier than normal for you. You are going to eat, use gas and need at least some OTC meds this winter so you are not wasting money just getting what you need a little earlier than usual and you are will fairly well prepared for any winter storms.