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How would you prepare in order to survive a long-term blackout?  What are your memorable blackout stories?  Comment below and let us know what you think!

50 comments
Brad Panike
Brad Panike

Possible, sure anything is possible, plausible, not very. The cyber attack this video tries to promote would require a hacker to access literally hundreds of utilities, running many hundreds of different types of software. The hacker would have to gain access to literally thousands of separate devices that do not normally run connected open networks. To get at those devices the hacker would have to breach many thousands of firewalls designed to keep him out, and negotiate past many different forms of intrusion detection software designed to sound an alarm that he had got in. While a cyber attack on a single utility is quite plausible, a coordinated cyber attack that takes down the entire nation is extremely unlikely. The sheer scale of what a hacker would have to do in advance and not get caught just does not add up. 


That being said does not mean we can sit on our hands and claim all is well, cyber security is a moving target. The opponents are getting smarter, so we must get smarter too. On the customer end, it is always a good idea to have emergency supplies for several days. That emergency is often much more personal like a burned up electrical panel, a broken water main, or even a house fire.

Hugh Blanchard
Hugh Blanchard

I think that pudgy Tyler and his band of would-be post-apocalypse "marauders" will be shot and killed really quickly if they try to prey on others to survive. Sorry, Tyler, but body armor made of fiber-glass wrapped bathroom tiles will NOT stop high-power rifle and pistol rounds like 8 mm Mauser, 38-40 Winchester or 00 Buckshot.  Ridiculous.

Brian Barnum
Brian Barnum

I can't remember for sure it was winter though, either '96 into '97 or '97 into '98. The highway was always closed during the winter months between Stanley and Lowman. That left two routes out of town, highway 21 through Idaho City or Highway 55/17 through Horseshoe Bend/Garden Valley respectivley. That particular winter though was heavy with moisture. Slides and avalanches had closed all roads and knocked out the power. I believe we even made national headlines. We were without power for like 8 days. honestly though it was nothing new to be without power. Granted it was the longest but 24-36 hours without electricity was expected during the winter and especially spring months. It was a great time though, spent more time outside and doing family things like board games at night. We kept a pantry full of canned food for such instances and a huge wood pile. My father's goal every fall was to cut enough wood to last 6-7 months even if we only needed it for 4 months. You know in case something happened. We got creative with cooking on the mantle of the fire place and sometimes even out in the snow just for kicks. Might as well practice up right? I was like 9 or 10 years old at the time and fearless. Those were the good ole days.

Cedric PULCIAN
Cedric PULCIAN

Just seen the programme...

Not as dramatic as it should really be.

For those who think they are prepared, how many people do you think you will have to kill in order to survive?

For the rest, it will go down a lot quicker than foreseen in the programme. You live in a country with its load of  alcoholics, drug dependants (legal or not), and psychologically ill. How do you think they gonna react without their drugs? On top of that they will be starved and dehydrated. They won't think straight.

You won't too. 70% of you are obese.

You hope the world will be able to help you?

God help you, we will be in the same shape than you and in case help come it will be too late for many.

Truth is, 300 millions of you can die and will die if worst come to the worst.

But you think you are so exceptional you don't even think it can happen.

I know one thing if America can't make it no one in the world will.

The Sun is the real threat not Al Qaeda.

Cedric PULCIAN
Cedric PULCIAN

Read Solar storm Risk to the north American electric grid  from Lloyds the 325 year old insurance company.

10 days? More like minimum 2 weeks up to 2 years, between 20 to 40 millions souls affected.

And it is not the worst case scenario far from it.

Be ready to survive Ramadan and Shabbat as long as Lent.

Don't expect help to come.

Alamo or Jamestown again.

You need to wake up big time America.

A cyber attack? Stop being paranoid, Mother Nature will put us back into our place in less than 18 months, and for Lloyds it is more likely to happen than not.

Andras Sz
Andras Sz

im not concerned at all, the last blackout was 2 weeks , nothing happened, if it would be permanent maybe after a month there would be problems with food supply, but other wise its a party

David McKeon
David McKeon

As much as I prepare I know I am not anywhere near D.P. caliber.  But you make so many people in this dramatization out to be complete idiots.  I can't believe that so many people are ready to kill for water in just a few days.  The water goes off, you don't shower with your bottled water, you ration and drink responsibly.  I have to believe you are only pointing out the extremes to get a reaction.  Show more realism next time.  The middle of the road Americans that ration, communicate with neighbors, and use a little common sense.

Swiss Army1984
Swiss Army1984

The 'prepper' family was a joke (bug-out location with neighbors you don't know?  Really?).  They were just as stupid as most of the 'preppers' in NatGeo's 'Doomsday Preppers' show.  Two more days of blackout and they would have been in real trouble.  They were not an example of intelligent 'prepping'.

On the other hand, the show is a good wake-up call for being prepared at least to some extent.  The bigger question to ask is: what if the grid was down for longer?  If the grid had been taken out by a major solar storm (e.g. Carrington Event of 1859) or a man-made EMP (high-altitude nuclear explosion), get ready for it lasting for YEARS.  If transformers, especially at major sub-stations, are destroyed extensively (whether by cyber attack, EMP, etc.), it will take YEARS to repair and get a grid back up.  There are very few 'reserve' transformers and there is a worldwide backlog in production (production that depends on electricity, by the way).  And how will you transport them?  Trucks needing fuel from refineries that run on electricity?  The solutions are not rapid in any way.

If we're looking at more than 3-6 months, all those basins of spent nuclear fuel at nuclear power plants will melt because the water in their tanks will evaporate (the cooling system depends on electrical pumps; backup generators need fuel, etc.), thus leading to NUCLEAR CONTAMINATION of wide areas of the US, especially east of the Mississippi.  This was the subject of some recent government studies and unpassed legislation in Congress.

James McDonald
James McDonald

Be ready for 30 days on your own at the very least! Have crank-up radios and flashlights, a way to  cook food and better have a source of drinking water. Filtering the water is the best back-up, as you have a longer supply and can trade/barter for items with the water, but never trade/barter from your home!!!!

James McDonald
James McDonald

Be ready for 30 days on your own at the very least! Have crank-up radios and flashlights, a way to  cook food and better have a source of drinking water. Filtering the water is the best back-up, as you have a longer supply and can trade/barter for items with the water, but never trade/barter from your home!!!!

Doc Duo
Doc Duo

As with any disaster... you never know what you may be facing. Take Japan for example. I am sure most weren't prepared for a bug out from the tsunami. However, that is one thing. But having N95 masks, Tyvek suits and iodine tabs would have been a bonus. In other words, they didn't think about the nuclear accident. Being prepared means prepared for everything… going a step further would mean being prepared for an epidemic following poor sanitation.Such as cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, etc…

Don’t know where to start… well I will help you. Draw a circle on a piece of paper. Write you name in it. Draw lines from it identifying your essentials and from each one of those hubs lines to what you need to prepare or an equipment list. Etc… Talk to someone that does prepare, they can help you with this.

Prepare to be prepared! Good luck…

Part 2 of 2

Doc Duo
Doc Duo

I think all these series are great. Some may seem silly... but the message is prepare. getting tips and information goes a long way... Keep in mind no matter what the situation there are several items that you need to have on hand and... most importantly, don't depend on the government to save you. I have been in hurricanes before. They are not fun and if I had relied on the government... I would have starved. So here are a few tips from me.

 There are 5 main essentials: Shelter (have a tent or learn how to make a shelter), Water (learn how to purify and filter water), Food (have extra and don't waste), Protection (Figure out how you are going to protect yourself and family), First Aid/Medicine (A good thoroughly thought out first aid kit with everything from Band-Aids to thermometer) Don't stop here... these are the only 5 MAIN essentials. Think of other items such as toiletries, sanitation, backpack, etc...

Part 1 of 2

Tim E.
Tim E.

Survive and bug out.  My small group and I have planned well ahead, including for EMP scenario, too.  Supply wise, locations, communications, and transportation, we have it in the bag.  Rain, snow or shine, we would be out in the first 12 hours or less depending on the day of the week.  Failure is not an option as our kids must survive the future.

Amy Alton
Amy Alton

Don't forget to be medically prepared! The Survival Medicine Handbook is 100% written for a time when NO help is available. Better to be prepared for any emergency. We hope emergency help will always be on the way, but you never know. Knowing how to administer emergency medical aid is a skill every family should have. Be safe! Nurse Amy, aka Amy Alton,ARNP www.DoomandBloom.net

Jerry Witham
Jerry Witham

CAUTION>>Do not read this.................This show just goes to show YOU just how unprepared YOU (80 percent of the population)are UNPREPARED.  The government protects it self for the COG (Continuity of Government). So that the government can pick up the pieces after an incident or event.  What about us the average American who can not build infrastructure (like a shelter) to ensure their survival.  We just need to give the average American the means to build shelters through loans, grants or other means instead of sending money to other countries to help them out .  This way Americans can take care of them selves instead of Depending on the Government during or after an event.  The American way should be take care of our people first and always.

Laurie Brandt
Laurie Brandt

Having been involved with the medieval reenactors ie the SCA I can live very well with out power.

Timothy Mcphillips
Timothy Mcphillips

I have a well, food for 1 year at least, mre's, home canned, frozen, dried goods like wise foods good for 25 yeas, a diesel generator with a gasoline backup and fuel stored and rotated frequently.  my family calls me the arsenal of democracy for all the guns and ammunition I have and I shoot regularly to keep in practice.  I also keep several ways to cook food, gas grill with side burner, coleman camp stove uses coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline and alcohol stoves for use indoors.  I keep 2 kerosene heaters in case the natural gas gets shutdown, and the home heating oil I keep can be used in the generator or in the kerosene heaters.  lots of blankets,   first aid supplies and extra cleaning supplies too.  the actual power outage is not the problem but the criminal types and the panic stricken.  I also keep 2 power inverters that run off of car or boat batteries these are easy to use but require recharging when they get low, the inverter will make a low screaming noise when the batteries get low, but they retain enough juice to start your car.  cheap insurance if things go south., they come in different sizes to fit your needs but the bigger they are the more juice they require.  you can recharge them using your cars alternator by running the engine for about 2-3 hours then they are full charged and ready to go.  while you are running your car check out the radio for information.

High Taper
High Taper

People.  NatGeo has a reputation for sensationalism and outright misdirection.  That's why most real "preppers" passively boycott the advertisers on their show.  I cancelled my magazine subscription of 22 years because of this stuff.

This was supposed to be a show to entertain through shock and exaggeration while pretending to be a "realistic expectation of what might happen."

Notice, if you will, in the American version of the show, every person with a firearm was unstable or overly aggressive.  The one group  that prepared, the Prepper Family, almost suffered a casualty.  The only group that was worse off than they (in the portrayal) was the "Yuppie Couple" who, presumably died and was gang-raped by masked looters.  Everyone else had to deal with only minor inconveniences (babies have been born outside of hospitals for millions of years, the worst thing the kids in the elevator had to worry about was where to go pee, and VJ had enough food and supplies that he didn't have to go trying to find trouble outside his home).

Yet, again, we see a production where those who are prepared are demonized, marginalized and stereotyped.  Sad to see they willingly do this while simultaneously dragging the National Geographic name through the mud.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

This show was a joke. And the people portrayed were idiots. Not one of them would have been a part of any prepper's family or group with their attitudes.  Are people that dumb and naive??? I guess you people believed in the Blair Witch Project too. If your only go-to grab thing was a video recorder to record your own little personal diary in an event of an emergency, then you deserve to parish. This show had so much wrong with it, it's clear the producer is NOT smarter than a 5th grader. Some of the stuff was ok. The government will look after itself first, feed it self first. Fema and dhs will come after you and lock you up in their "detention centers". People will have ZERO rights in the government's eyes, worse than now. The timeline of events was wrong, the change in peoples desperation won't change immediately just because the power comes back on. The only thing this show did was MAYBE wake up some people and put a little fear factor into them. The people that will riot will be the 50 million plus people on food stamps that think the government owes them thousands of dollars a month and supplies them with free food and water. And anyone that is commenting how many guns they have or even that they have any, or how much food, water, or supplies they have, or were their bug out locations is or how it's setup, just like those idiots who appeared on the Disaster Preppers are idiots too. Geez people. Have none of you played poker?

Beth Keener
Beth Keener

What a load of crap! Nat Geo should ashamed. People we have no national power grid to bring down. I live in the Southeast and know for a fact that Duke Power's equipment is in no way tied in in any way with the Southern Companies. I would also like to inform you of a brilliant, almost magical device know as a fuse! Every substation has them in some form.

Will Conlon
Will Conlon

The show is pretty good, but wait till the real panic sets in!  It showed something about 3 million Preppers nationwide, there should be triple that.  People need to get their heads out of the sand.  The Govt. will make an attempt, but it will only help so much.  Don't forget to stock up on food and supplies for your pets!  Get some cheap flashlights and candles when you can.

adrianna munoz
adrianna munoz

i'm prepared, i have plenty of water non perishable food and my bug out bags ready for myself and my two boys. we have a meeting point our crank radios, knifes, tent, sleeping bags for the cold weather iodine tablets mre's, sewing kit health kit, portable stove , clothes everything we need in out bug out bag i know how to do sutures, take temperature i'm not a doctor but went to school to be a medical assistant to be able to learn first aid and what to do in case of an emergency, what i don't have is a gun. i can be better prepared i'm wrking on it.

Doris Hensley
Doris Hensley

that's funny I learnt ant prepared my whole life for that event ,and told my family when something happens to come to my ,for my children I make a survival quilt what to do in case of a day like  that it has two uses to stay warm end to learn ,for the rest good luck, ☺

john miser
john miser

A 18 KW whole-home generator fueled by a 1,000 gallon propane tank,,,, a tankless hot water heater with propane,,,,a gas stove/oven in the kitchen,,,,200 pounds beans and 200 pounds of rice in mylar bags,,,,300 "D" cell batteries,,,,300 "C" cell batteries,,,100 9 volt batteries,,,,20 "D' cell flash lights,,,,20 "C" cell flash lights,,,2 portable battery operated radios,,,50 pounds of dehydrated fruits,,,,50 pounds of dehydrated meats,,,,100 pounds of dehyrated vegetables,,,700 gallons of potable water,,,8 solar panels that  produce 90 watts total,,,a 1500 watt power inverter,,,,,5 KW portable generator run from propane,,,50 bars of soap,,,,20 tubes of tooth paste,,,20 tooth brushs,,,50 disposable razors,,,,,,10 large cans of shaving cream,,,,15 deodorant containers,,,,a LOT of mouth wash,,,,a whole lot of first aid supplies,,,,3 long guns (1-12 gauge pump shot gun, 1-.22 caliber rifle, 1-30-30 lever action rifle),,,3 hand guns (.357 magnum revolver,,,,38 caliber revolver,,,22 caliber revolver)  a  DVD/CD player with a large DVD-CD collection,,,, a loaded down DVR machine of recorded movies and tv shows,,,,10 gallons of engine  oil (for the 2 generators and vehicle(s) you use),,,,150 gallons of gas (preserved with Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer),,,,3 pairs of work boots,,,,3 pairs of comfortable shoes/sneakers. All this is forONE person for ONE year living a very austaire life style, Basically, if a 2nd person is added to the above you would need to double all food supplies, health supplies,,,water supplies,,,,battery supplies,,,!!      

Will Conlon
Will Conlon

Almost forgot, DO NOT RELY ON FEMA!!!  They may be able to help, but probably won't.  Planning ahead and meeting like minded people is the way to go.  Good Luck, something's coming...

Will Conlon
Will Conlon

Plan ahead.  The Boy Scouts, Cody Lundin & Les Stroud offer the best training and advice.  Military service certainly helps too.  Costco sells low cost flashlights/headlamps, cheap cases of H2O, and bulk food.  Remain dignified during an emergency, act with confidence and keep calm and carry on!  You can do it!!!

lorenzo conti
lorenzo conti

If the lights really went out one of these days, I would start with getting a light source of course, and maybe

food that doesn't need to be microwaved or cooked at all . But let's be realistic , I think Human beings can survive just fine , it's not an apocalypse to lose electricy everyone , we would be o.k. But still, when you think hard about it, we dont have as much to lose as we think if there were a blackout . we would have our daily sunlight we could still work and we could still live a peaceful life , people get worried because technology has affected so much of their life , but in the long term it's no big deal...

Ron McKernan
Ron McKernan

Too bad National Geographic decided to perpetuate fear with this show. I survived two separate week-long power outages without heat in October and November 2011 in the greater Hartford area of Connecticut (2.2 million people). Had some food, rechargeable batteries, and a good sleeping bag. Folks where I work banded together and helped each other out and stayed calm. The knee-jerk, "ZOMG BLACKOUT I'M GONNA DIE!" feeling that this show invokes in most viewers does nothing to help the situation.

David Sims
David Sims

In June and July of 2012, the derecho storm knocked out electric power for 10 days in my part of West Virginia. I found that I was ready for the event in all respects except one, namely preserving the meat in my freezer. I lost about $1000 worth of meat. The lesson was valuable, however, since it prompted me to invest in solar panels, voltage regulators, 12VDC to 120VAC power inverters (with 5V USB ports), and chargers for the 18650/14500/9V rechargeable Li-ion batteries the power my collection of LED flashlights/lamps. I can use the 1000V inverter and a parallel array of 12V sealed lead acid batteries to kick-start my freezer and let it run until the food inside is cold again, then recharge the batteries with the solar panels. If it happens again, I'll be ready this time.

Maybe this sounds a little cynical, but it sometimes looks as if the media is softening up the American public for some kind of treasonous assault the US government is planning to inflict upon us, under color of "training exercises." Ones in which real American citizens will get killed. The entertainment that precedes these murderous episodes appear to be intended to convince us that our government is only trying to figure out how to serve us better. Call me skeptical. I think that the government and the media and the banking industry is all of a piece, all part of the same kind of racket that the RICO laws were ostensibly created to deal with, except, of course, in this particular case the criminal syndicate includes the government itself and is, therefore, above the law and can, therefore, do as it pleases, until someone strong enough to turn the tables arrives on the stage of history.

Emma Tanglevine
Emma Tanglevine

we went without power in the winter for four days a few years ago...we kept warm because we had a gas range i could light with matches we would run it on low for a few hours at a time...we could cook with the range top , we boiled water and i had coffee! yay!...we huddled under blankets at night...kept the shades open in day to get all the suns warmth we could...we wouldnt have it so easy now because hubby relies on electricity for oxygen equipment...we have spare bottles but i dont wanna chance it if i dont have to. we did it and survived but i certainly dont want to do it again . good luck if it happens to again

Sarina Morales
Sarina Morales

I am not sure how I would prepare for a long-term blackout! It's scary to think how realistic this is. I remember the New York City Blackout that took place about 8-10 years ago. I was on 34th street in Manhattan and had to walk all the way back to the Bronx in sandals in summer heat by myself. I was just trying to make sure to get home before it got dark. Pretty scary stuff.

Alice Varga
Alice Varga

I'm from Hungary,and we live in Zemplen Mountains,and especially in summer we can see many lightnings. They are really big. And one evening my younger friend visited me,and we went to the upstairs to use the computer. After some minutes later,there was an enormous lightning,and the light went away. We were afraid,because we were about 12 and 9 old,and we didn't know,how to get down,so we had to sit down every stair,and we could came down. After I had to look for some candles,but we have not to much,so we needed to make light with cigarette lighter for a while. Then the lights came back as the Sun.

Paul H.
Paul H.

One year supply of water on hand rotated every 6 months, one year supply of non perishable food, canned food, jarred food. Multiple ways to stay informed of what is happening hand held NOAA radio that runs off of solar and has a hand crank to charge the battery. HAM radio, candles, lanterns, Guns and the training to use them and will. Multiple routes to get out of a big city and a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Multiple ways to heat and cook my food.

As for my experience in a black out situation it would be the Northridge Earthquake. I remember the city being just completely utterly quiet. I remember the concrete driveway moving with the  aftershocks.I was still living at home. My step dad and I drove around the neighborhood to see the damage and seeing downed power lines and fire coming up through the ground due to ruptured gas lines and setting the ruptured water lines spewing water in the street and being set on fire. I remember the super markets getting pillaged and realizing we did not have much of supplies on hand.

Michael B.
Michael B.

Living in the Midwest we have lived through several power failures, some lasting for as long as 10 days, and always when it is really hot, or below zero!!!! 

We have learned to be prepared by having a backup generator, storeable food, batteries, and water on hand ready to survive a 30 day black out. The generator is propane powered as the fuel will last for over a 100 years. When on backup power you only use what you really need to get by, like the fridge,a light or 2, fan or furnace depending on the time of year. Use your resources wisely and sparingly and you can make it in modest comfort.

Mike in St. Louis

Maeve McDermott
Maeve McDermott

Last October, Hurricane Sandy walloped the East Coast. I attend college in Washington, D.C, and before the hurricane hit my only worry was that the "Frankenstorm" would disrupt my Halloween plans. Little did I know that the storm's ferocity would cause classes to be cancelled, nearly wipe out family members' homes in New Jersey - and take out my power. A stray branch from the huge tree outside of my apartment building claimed my building's electricity, and I spent the next few days trying to salvage my grocery stash and charging electronics in nearby grocery stores. However, considering the damage Sandy inflicted on other parts of the Northeast, I got really lucky that my biggest blackout problem was losing some frozen chicken.

Meg G.
Meg G. moderator

The June 2012 Mid-Atlantic and Midwest derecho was one of the most destructive and deadly fast-moving severe thunderstorm complexes in North American history. It knocked the power out of my home for over 4 days- and boy was it tough! 

At first, it was sort of fun- we played board games, the house smelled like like Pier1 b/c I had every scented candle burning at the same time. But before long, things started to go downhill. The house was so hot that we had to move mattresses and pillows into our basement just to escape the 90+ degree heat upstairs. Luckily, the basement stayed fairly cool for the first few days. And not too long after that, a mysterious stinky smell began to emerge from the refrigerator... a smell that would not be placed for another week- but that's a whole other tale. 

But the happiest memory was when the power started to come back in surrounding areas (but not my house), we were able to escape to take our (at the time) 2-year-old to his first trip to movie theater. This was something I didn't think he was quite ready for in terms of sitting in one place for an hour an a half, but forced by sheer desperation for some passive entertainment and some air conditioning, we did it. And he actually sat throughand enjoyed the movie, Madagascar 3!


Needless to say, I've learned my lesson now when it comes to power outages- toss everything in the refrigerator and freezer after 4 hours if the power has not been restored! And if a mystery smell won't go away after hours and hours of cleaning every surface in and around the refrigerator, check to see if you have a mystery tray that has collected melted food juice in the back of the unit that is inaccessible unless you're a handyman with many tools.

lori sammut
lori sammut

In the 70's, a hurricane hit Long Island New York.  I remember all the downed power poles and debris everywhere.  It was so hot outside and no power meant no relief. Local restaurants(with generators) hiked the prices for coffee and hot meals up to a crazy amount. The power was out for 2 weeks.  My father hooked a handle to the flywheel of our well water pump and all of us children took turns cranking the pump so my mother could fill jugs and the bathtub with water.  Not something I'm ever likely to forget.

Matt Zymet
Matt Zymet moderator

I remember the electrical storm that caused the NYC blackout of 1977.  I was seven and lived in Westchester Country, north of the city.  My family was driving back from dinner and a movie (Star Wars -- for the second time), and I just remember lightning bolts crashing to either side of the highway with loud booming thunder, seemingly right on top of us.  Somewhere between fireworks and an alien invasion.  Apparently lightning struck a power substation not far from where we were driving, in Buchanan, NY, and that combined with faulty equipment started the chain reaction that led to an insane two day blackout in NYC and points north.  We lost power that night and broke out a box of candles to get us through.  Between the freak lightning storm and the lights going out at home, I remember it as more of an adventure -- but for NYC, where 31 neighborhoods suffered through rioting and vandalism, it was anything but.

Shannon James
Shannon James

In the 1980's when Mount Saint Helens erupted we didn't think much of it because we were a hundred miles away. Then the  weird quiet set in followed by ash. The sky was pitch black ash fell for days....we couldn't drive our cars because they would plug...we couldn't breathe without a mask. The air conditioners and heat pumps had problems running. Then the electricity went off....all we could do was sit in the house..no where to run..nowhere to breathe...store shelves empty. We had our camping equipment and extra water for a few days. The devastation when we could come back out was unbelievable.

Ashley Kalena
Ashley Kalena moderator

In August of 2003, I was getting ready to head off for my freshman year of college.  My dad and I were driving in Middletown, NY to go to the store to pick up some school supplies.  When we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed that the inside of the store looked really dark - like it was closed - despite there being cars parked in the lot.  So, we decided to venture into the store anyway to see what was going on.  When we got to the doors, a lot of people were walking out and employees said the store was closed because the power was out.  As we drove home, we noticed all of the traffic lights were out.  On the radio, we heard there was a widespread power outage affecting the Northeast and parts of the Midwest.  It was definitely a really memorable power outage.

High Taper
High Taper

@Beth Keener Sorry, Beth, but you're wrong. 

Duke buys and sells power outside of their own "customer service area."  They buy and sell power from, and to, other companies.  This power is transmitted through the power lines which connect all of the electrical companies.

Besides, at least in the case of the American version of the movie, computer hackers broke into the various electrical companies and changed the coding forcing the shutdown.  This is why the East Coast went down before the South and the West. 

Since this was done by rewriting the software, simply replacing a fuse or turning a switch would not have turned the power back on.

High Taper
High Taper

@Ron McKernanIn addition to Will Conlon's comments below:

Glad you survived.  However, keep in mind your power outages were very localized.  Food could still be brought in to you.  Resources could be shifted around because other areas weren't affected.  Generators that were sitting idle outside your area could be relocated to provide power.

In this case, ALL of the United States was affected. Those generators that would have been moved to your area to overcome your minor inconvenience wouldn't be available.  Power couldn't be redirected from external sources to power the landlines.  It's an issue of a national disaster, not a local power outage.

Will Conlon
Will Conlon

@Ron McKernan 

Ron, that's not the point of the show, it's a learning tool and entertainment.  Very few will actually watch the show, but there are many who should, because the vast majority of people are clueless and will certainly suffer if the grid goes down.  We, Irish on the other hand know how to survive!

Josh Styles
Josh Styles

Oh. Forgot that I have a Red Cross battery, Solar, Crank radio. 

Swiss Army1984
Swiss Army1984

@Paul H. 

 This is the most useful listing of what people should have that I've read so far.  I would add both a gas driven generator and a hand or pedal generator along with a set of solar panels and perhaps a wind generator if you can.

 One addition, though, is a place to go away from major population centers with your vehicle (and cargo trailer).

 On the other hand, if the blackout is caused by an EMP burst from a high-altitude nuclear explosion or a CME (strong X-class solar storm event), you can forget about anything electronic or electric working unless it was kept in a Faraday cage.  Only old cars will work then.  Any sensitive 'emergency' electronics should be kept in Faraday cages (cheapest are $15 metal trash cans; make sure that the metal lid is completely connected to the can all around; gaps of any kind could let in the EMP).