First Things To Do When The Grid Goes Down

First Things To Do when the grid goes downI’ve been pumping out (a.k.a. writing) a lot of technical stuff lately. And, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy writing technical articles because I know it helps folks choose gear and equipment to purchase for their emergency preparedness needs. And I am kind of a techno geek too.

But the creative side of me, the part that wrote My Journal series, wants to step out there once in a while and brainstorm -war game- what might happen. This article is one of those…”What if?”

So the basis of the article is the first steps to take when we have a hard grid-down. Let me explain the scenario background first:

  1. We have the exact same situation in the scenario world as we do today.Hansens-001
  2. We are talking a family of 5. The Hansen family –
    • Dad (Brad) is 45, 4-year Navy veteran, currently construction project manager
    • Mom (Ashley) is 44, was a teacher, stay-at-home mom
    • Son (Sam), 17, a senior in high school, cross-country runner on track team
    • Daughter (Jenifer), 15, a sophomore in high school, smart, glee club
    • Son (Joseph), 10, 5th grade
  3. Christian, church goers, limited involvement in community, some involvement in block watch
  4. It is a Wednesday.
  5. School is in session, kids are at school.
  6. Dad is at work.
  7. Mom is out shopping for groceries.

Narrative – Tensions with Russia were getting worse by the day for the last month. Muslim terrorists really stepped up strikes in Europe. For the last month there have been numerous attacks on malls, Christian churches, and a few government facilities here in the USA. The neo-cons led by Lindsey Graham are calling for all-out wart in the Middle East and for economic sanctions against Russia. Price of oil, natural gas, and gasoline has been steadily going up the last two weeks.

The Hansen family has been working on preps for three years; really dedicated preppers for the last year. The FamilyPlanningMeetingHansens are best friends with the Goodman family (mom & dad, 2 teens). The Goodmans live about one mile away and are hardcore preppers. The Hansens are also friends with the Smiths who live in the same neighborhood one block away. The Smiths (mom & dad, 2 teens & toddler) are so-so preppers, the wife never saw the need for prepping.

Summary of prepping level based on the priority system:

  • Hansen family – all “short, medium and long term priorities” plus more.
  • Goodman family – all “short and medium term priorities” plus a couple of the “long term priorities”.
  • Smith family – most “short term priorities”, a couple of the “medium term priorities” and most of the “immediate priorities”.
  • All families have Ham radio communication capabilities.
  • All families have guns and ammo. Hansen & Goodman families are well trained. Smith dad is well trained. Smith mom is afraid of guns.

All the families have a meal about once a month or so and have gone on a couple weekend camp-outs together and enjoy each others company. They have a very loose “plan” for emergencies, disasters, and grid-down. Smith mom thinks it is all a little whacko buts enjoys the group’s activities because of the other women.

At 8am local time this morning a suicide bomber blew themselves up at the entrance of the Pentagon. As 10am local time three Muslim gunman attacked the Mall of the Americas in Minneapolis. The situation is still on-going, gunman are in the mall with a large number of people trapped in the mall. At lunchtime there were attacks in New York City, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Detroit and Paterson, NJ. All were a combination of suicide attacks and gunman. All of the attacks took place at middle and high schools.

The groups Black Lives Matter and The Nation of Islam are calling for attacks on white people, especially white police officers. CAIR (Council on American–Islamic Relations) is saying that the attacks are against Muslims by the US Government. CAIR is calling this a provocation against Muslims and that Muslims need to defend themselves. Tensions everywhere in the US are rising quickly. Schools along the east coast have cancelled classes for the day and sending schools home.

At 2pm lthe New York Stock Exchange announces it will close early at 2:15pm. Oil futures price spike Stock Market Crash is a concern, threat, risk for preppers during The DOW has been dropping all day, down 500points, now takes a dive of another 500points.

At 2:10 local time a powerful car bomb explodes outside of the New York Stock Exchange killing dozens, injuring over 120, and destroying the entire front of the building. Before trading can be halted on the other exchanges, all indices drop 10%.

Now, what are the steps this little group should take? Here’s what they started with…

Step #1 –
  • Situational Awareness…Validate the information that is most likely to affect you. There can be a lot going on, but what is really going to affect you and “how?”.
  • Establish communications with all family members and group members (in that order). Exchange information, confirm trigger events.
Step #2 –
  • Make an operational decision of what to do.
  • Get buy-in on the decision by all affected people.
  • Communicate that decision to all group members.

UPDATE: In this case the decision is; 1) pull all family members back to their respective homes, 2) once that is done reassess the situation, 3) Hansen mom will turn on the mobile Ham radio unit that is already set-up. She will monitor it as well as the emergency short-wave radio and TV for updated information.

Step #3 –
  • Assign one or more people to continuously monitor the situation (observe and orient).
  • Implement the operational decision.
    1. All adults arm themselves with their everyday carry (EDC) weapons. That would include knives, pistols, and trunk guns are loaded and readily available. Smith mom won’t because she doesn’t know how to use a gun.
    2. All adults confirm that their IFAKs are at hand and readily available.
    3. All adults check that their communications are working, including handheld radios and cell phones.
    4. Goodman and Smith moms will return home. Once there they will secure their homes.
    5. Hansen mom (Ashley) will pick up their youngest son at school that is close to their home. Husband Brad will pick up the two oldest at high school on the other side of town.
    6. Husbands and wives will check-in with each other when the kids have been secured and are in route to home. If someone can’t reach their spouse they will check in with Ashely Hansen monitoring the Ham mobile.
    7. No Ham call signs will be used to protect identity. Pre-arranged call signs will be used instead. They are using the AHTrimble CommPlan outline.

UPDATE: Children are secured and everyone is at their respective homes.

Step #4 –
  • Situation Awareness – Reassess the situation.
  • Protect the home and family members against violence by getting all tactical gear ready.
  • Check all communications gear.
  • Fill any suitable containers with water.
  • Families agree on some organizational structure for now, and if it gets worse by one step.
  • Charge all rechargeable power sources.

UPDATE: Three shopping malls are four more schools attacked. Rioting breaks out in multiple cities. Schools let out and are cancelled for tomorrow. President tells people to not jump to conclusions and that this is not the work of true Muslims. Washington DC is put under martial law.

Step #5 –
  • Make strategic decisions. Group meeting is called for dinner at the Hansen’s home. Situation is discussed. Contingency plans are decided upon. Smith mom asks for gun training. Communications check-in times are decided upon. Hansens will continue to monitor the base station. Families head home by 10pm.

UPDATE: Overnight there have been riots in most major cities. Attacks continue, police have been targeted, multiple cities have declared a state of emergency, the National Guard has been called out in 5 major cities.

Step #6 –
  • Situation Awareness and maintain communications. One person from each family have been designated to monitor developments. They will talk at 0800, 1200, 1600, & 2000 to collaborate on what is happening.
  • The families do a radio check on their tactical net every 4 hours.

UPDATE: At 4pm the power goes off for unknown reasons. Rioting has broken out in the local town and gunfire can be heard. Police are overwhelmed and ineffective. Multiple fires are present in town and the fire department is not responding due to threat of violence.

Step #7 –
  • Situational awareness. Families talk via cell phone conference call.
  • Make a decision. Families decide that they are safer as a group. But due to concerns of movement at night, they decide that they will consolidate all three families at the Hansen home by 5pm the next day. They transition will begin at 9am. They will first move the Smith family to the Hansens, then the Goodman family. The wives and oldest child will stay at each home for security. The husbands and next capable children will make the move in three vehicles convoying at the same time.

UPDATE: The move is complete, all families are now at the Hansen home. More rioting is reported all across the country. Drug, electronic, and liquor stores are being looted. Muslim mosques, Jewish temples, and Christian churches have been targeted and are being looted and burned. All major cities have declared a state of emergency, National Guard units have been mobilized. Most NG units are less than 40% manned. Law enforcement is ineffective. Streets are becoming very unsafe.

Step #8 –
  • Set formal security in-place.
  • Designate first aid responder(s).
  • Create a sanitation plan.
  • Agree upon group organization (ICS).
  • Sec formal CommPlan in-place.
  • Ensure everyone is drinking sufficient water.
  • Establish eating schedule.
Step 9 –
  • Reinforce the house.
  • Coordinate with neighbors and immediate community.
  • Agree on tactical defensive response with neighbors.
  • Contact wider area preppers for information updates.
Step #10 –
  • Bug-out:
    • Confirm location
    • Establish trigger points
    • Create travel plan
  • Bug-in:
    • Establish criteria
    • Create long-term plan
    • Establish trigger point to cancel and return home
Summary –

This has been a nice break from the average article that I have been writing lately, a little creative diversion. But, there is some good information in this article. Summarizing some of the first steps to take during a “grid-down”:

  1. Situational Awareness and make a decision. And then communicate that to all family and group members.
  2. Take defensive actions and prepare to defend yourself and family from violence.
  3. Ready all medical kits and ensure that everyone has a BOK & IFAK with them at all times.
  4. Establish and maintain alternative communications capability.
  5. Organize an interim plan of action and organize the folks that you have.
  6. Make sure everyone is getting some water and food in them.
  7. Plan to shelter for the first night; where, where, and how.

I have intentionally left some gaps and holes in what the families are doing. And, I want some input from website visitors…Now, what else could, or should, the family have done?

Use “reply” to give your input, ideas, and thoughts…

Which Way to go for prepping

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9 thoughts on “First Things To Do When The Grid Goes Down

  1. Pingback: What would you do? | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  2. Pingback: First Things To Do When The Grid Goes Down (#3) | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  3. Pingback: First Things To Do When The Grid Goes Down (#2) | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  4. Sent to me directly from Laura

    My concern is Normalcy bias…

    Power’s off? Power company must be working on the lines…

    Car won’t start? Where is that battery charger, or another car to jump it…

    Phone off? Must be the power, or maybe the phone company. Where is that old phone????

    No water? Just because the power is off…

    We cannot have a total meltdown each time there is a small blip that MIGHT be the end of the world as we know it, but we must understand how to check, what to check, and when to move on plans in place…Laura


  5. From Steve, (sent to me directly)

    Fantastic outline!

    Questions/comments/food for thought:

    Step 4. Our current administration would likely jump straight to national lockdown, over simply martial law in DC..
    Step 6. Fires in town… cities, towns and even much of suburbia would burn to the ground once fires start. Look how close together dwellings are located now days! Very quickly, tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) would be homeless within no time at all (one or two days!).
    Step 7. I wonder if LDS chapels will get the word to have protection teams assigned from priesthood, to guard chapel assets? (three to four man teams, armed? rotating shifts? Comms?)
    Step 10. It would be nice to see examples of criteria for bugging in or out..


  6. From Barb, (sent to me direct)

    I thought your article was great. Additional thoughts….

    Smith mom needs to learn to use a gun, of course.

    But I am more concerned about when they head to pick up kids, or if they are out and it really hits the fan, and routes to get to home are blocked by Black Lives Matter.

    What will they do if the school is on lock down and children can’t be picked up.

    Also, each family might give previous permission to each other family to pick up kids at school…. so if the Smith Family AND the Hansen family have kids in HS across town, only one parent has to go to pick them up.

    I would have had the families set up four meeting places… one to the north, south, etc.

    In case of not being able to get home the other family members would know where they are and how to get to them if necessary and possible. They aren’t just wandering some odd street to get home. Everyone would know where they are. If they have to evacuate, they know to meet up at primary point 1, whichever that is. If Primary point 1 would be blocked for the families to get to, ALL know these locations, including those who were caught out, to head to primary point 2, etc.

    Having these established points is more for evac…. flooding, fire, bomb, etc, but it could also be useful if Mr. Hansen is caught and can’t get back easily, then Mr. Smith knows exactly where to find him. Of course the location would not be mentioned over the phone/radio. Mr. Hansen would just say… head to location 2 on the list.

    Be sure to have a batter powered radio (regular, not just ham) available and pull it out to be used if needed.

    Pull out the flashlights and have them ready

    Make sure, if other families are coming over, that if any are on medications, they don’t forget those important items in the rush of the moment.

    Pull out water filter. At this point, though it is a “peaceful” religion that is likely attacking, I would not trust that water cannot be purposely contaminated. I would at least be listening for such warnings, if not preempting the possible issue

    Do the families have night vision equip? We don’t, but some people do.

    How near are you to this situation. I know a car bomb has gone off in NY, but are you in NY? Or Chicago? or rural NM?

    If you are IN the city, where riots may start, I would have considered, being prepared to black out the windows so light doesn’t come through.

    Ya know, in Miami during some disaster…. may have been Hurricane Andrew, when there later was mobbing, robbing, breaking and entering, this SENIOR community actually had some of the older folk (that is all there was) sit by the gate to the community with guns.

    This ended up being one of the only areas not ransacked. So maybe you actually want an open presence with neighbors with guns in the area. Not just having them inside, but an open presence.

    Just some thoughts.


  7. Someone should be assigned to make those “last minute” purchases that you should have a list of. And all cars,gas cans should be filled. Withdraw all available funds from the bank.


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