A recent feature BBC feature gives us an in-depth description of what it would be like to live through a large-scale blackout. The article starts with the March 2019 situation in Venezuela when there was a five-day nationwide power blackout that carried a political and economic crisis with it.
The hospitals were the country’s main concern, as patients in the intensive care unit who required technology to stay alive slowly lost breath. Aside from that, most mobile phones were off and only torches lit up the areas. Because of the unpreparedness of the hospital staff for such a situation, 26 people died due to the power outage. Among those who died were kidney failure patients who could not get the vital dialysis treatment they needed and gunshot victims on whom surgeons could not operate in the near darkness. There were also stories of pregnant women giving birth in dark wards, performing operations using torches, and babies failing in incubators.
Outside hospitals, people cooked with fire, food in the fridge was spoiled, traffic lights were off, and the pumps that drove running water stopped, so many residents searched for water in rivers, streams, and even sewers.
Sounds scary, right? But according to BBC, experts agree that this event is minor compared to the kind of power outrage that is predicted in the future. According to them,
“Growing demand for our electricity supplies from rising populations and new technologies like electric cars will face increasing instability as we shift to more renewable, but intermittent energy sources like wind and solar power. Extreme weather events driven by climate change will only heighten the risk to our power supplies further.”
Based on the feature, here are some things that could happen in a global blackout:
- Financial systems will be down
- Fuel pumps and petrol will stop working
- The complex food supply chain will fall apart
- Everything else that makes up modern life
Many researchers are developing ways to anticipate the apocalyptic blackout through artificial intelligence systems. Even the government is funding the research of using this to predict the potential outrages and to find ways to keep the supplies constant in the event of a problem. General Electric is using machine learning to help analyze weather forecasts past outage history and information on the ground from its response crews to predict the impact that impending storms might have on its networks.
Meanwhile, here some things we recommend that you do in case the final blackout happens!
- Unplug your computer, TV, and other electrical equipment to avoid damage
- Turn off electrical devices and appliances, especially anything involving heating
- Beware of falling power lines if you go outside
- Beware of carbon monoxide. Don’t run generators or grills inside garages or outside near open windows. Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working
- Avoid burst pipes by draining your plumbing system.
- Keep across the news and emergency updates
- Check on your neighbors or anyone who needs help (but don’t trust them too much!)
- Avoid opening and closing your fridge to avoid getting food poisoning
- Have your emergency kit ready with you in case you bug out, which has a supply of non-perishable food and water, your weapon, medicines, radio, torch, solar charger, batteries, etc.
- Stay away from the crowd to avoid getting hurt in riots and violence
Blackouts Pose a Double Risk
Based on the actual report by BBC, it is clear that you’re more likely to get hurt during a blackout and less likely to get immediate, thorough care. You might fall down the stairs, get stuck in a riot, get food poisoned, and no one will be available to help you in the emergency rooms. Remember to always think before you act during a blackout.