Tag Archive | blackout

Prepare for Electric Power Outages – Survival Common Sense

Presented by Survival Common Sense .com

Emergency preparedness means you should have backup systems or plans for heat, lighting and water. If you’re lucky, the power won’t be off long, but batteries are gone after a few days, unless you have a way to recharge them. A generator will only work until it runs out of fuel.

One of the more important aspects of urban survival during winter storms is lighting. Without a lighting plan, you could end up in the dark from when the sun sets at around 5:30 p.m. until dawn. The right lighting supplies can make this situation more bearable. (Source)

Although I don’t completely agree with this author’s reliance on candles (what could be worse when you are bunkering down in your house than a house fire!) I do agree that they are easily stockpiled. There are also good tips and links to other articles embedded in the text. (WCS)

For the Full Article follow the link below.

Prepare for Electric Power Outages – Survive the Storm | Common sense survival tips and safety guide to surviving an emergency or natural disaster; Survival Common Sense – Wilderness or Urban Emergency Preparedness and Safety Guide.

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Disaster Archive: New York Blackout 1977

The New York City blackout of 1977 ran from July 13 to July 14 and plunged the entire city, except southern Queens and areas of the Rockaways, both of which were mainly powered by the Long Island Lighting Company System, into pitch darkness overnight.

It was not the first time that New York had suffered blackouts, not was it the most widely spread, but the 1977 blackout has become infamous for the epidemic of violence, looting and general chaos that came with it and that had not been seen in previous emergencies.

Brooklyn 'Civic Responsibility' 1977 (Tyrone Dukes: New York Times) 

Brooklyn 'Civic Responsibility' 1977 (Tyrone Dukes: New York Times)

The blackout was the result of a series of lightning strikes hitting various substations and a subsequent catalogue of unfortunate events that made it nearly impossible for the engineers to get the power back online. For a detailed analysis and timeline of the cause of the events, you can see one on Wikipedia, but in short:

  • A lightning strike on a substation on the Hudson River tripped two circuit breakers in Westchester County. Faulty maintenance prevented the breakers from re-closing and allowing the power to flow.
  • A subsequent lighting strike at Indian Point – the nuclear plant that fed Westchester County – caused two transmission lines to fail, of which only one returned, and the loss of power from the plant. A remote-start on the plant was attempted but failed.
  • Yet another lighting strike caused two more transmission lines to fail, with only one re-closing, and a massive overload of power into the remaining lines. As a result, the power provider Con Edison had to reduce the load on another major generator at East River.
  • The call came to “shed load” but Con Ed operators and Power Pool operators had different understandings of what that meant. Con Ed intended to gently lower load by a few hundred Mega Watts, PP to suddenly drop load by 1500MW.
  • The last major interconnection to upstate NY tripped due to overheating which in turn caused the links in Long Island to overload and the New Jersey interconnections to struggle with their loads.
  • A miscommunication caused Long Island to open connections (trying to reduce overloading on their own lines) to try and redirect almost twice the power through the available lines between themselves and the city.
  • After trying to protect the system by dropping customers, Con Ed automatically began isolating its self from the ‘outside world’.
  • By 9.27pm, Con Ed’s city generators could not produce enough power and the lines feeding into the city were on the verge of collapse. The city’s biggest generator “Big Allis” shut down and the city went black.

Background.

The 1977 blackout could not have happened at a more unfortunate time. The United States as a whole was suffering a financial crisis and inner city poverty was endemic. New York was in the middle of a heat wave while also slipping into to panic over the Son of Sam murders. In effect, the blackout was the straw that broke the camels back, very much like the shooting of an unarmed man triggered the London riots last year.

The violence and looting spread across 31 districts. Shops were looted across the city, usually by people from the very same neighbourhood. Fires were widespread. The airports closed for hours. Road tunnels were shut because they couldn’t be ventilated. The cost of the damages was estimated to have reached $300 million by the time order was restored on the 14th.

So what is to be learned from the 1977 blackout? Firstly I would suggest that in times of financial hardship, all it takes is for the power to go off for ONE NIGHT before chaos reigns. This is particularly apparent in built up, heavily populated areas, especially those areas that are in the lower economic brackets. In the UK these days, we have very few areas that are as desperate as central New York in 1977, but they are not unheard of. If we live in these areas it needs to be considered that a night without power could see mass panic in the streets outside our windows.

In nearly all the other respects our society is almost identical to the society of seventies America. Our economy is struggling. Immigration is causing people to become tense in and distanced from their own communities. The concepts of civic and personal responsibility are but memories. Joblessness is always increasing. Crime is increasing. What is going to be the match that lights the blue touchpaper? A (metaphorically inaccurate) blackout?

So. Taking all of this into account, what is to be done in the event of a blackout.

Read More…

Blackout Survival Tips #2

BST #2. Portable Generators should under no circumstances be used indoors or even in partially enclosed areas.

Blackout Survival Tips #1

BST #1. In the event of a blackout, immediately turn off all electrical equipment that was on before the power cut, leaving on one small lamp to tell you when the power is restored.

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