American Blackout: The Devil’s In The Details!

Welcome to a Tuesday Survive The Coming Collapse newsletter, brought to you by The Fastest Way To Prepare course–the fastest, step by step way to get you and your family prepared for 8 hour to 8 week disasters.

Good news! National Geographic really did their homework for the movie American Blackout that aired this Monday. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much but I tuned in anyway out of morbid curiosity. The portrayal of what takes place after a cyber attack crashes the grid was insightful and is filmed in such a way that the viewer feels as if they are in the middle of the action.

I’d love to hear from others who watched American Blackout. Did you feel it was realistic? Anything you feel they should have added, but didn’t? Did you feel the looting they portrayed was realistic, or too tame?

(David’s note:  I wasn’t too pleased with how they portrayed the prepper, but the fact is that a lot of preppers ARE like him.)

For anyone who hasn’t seen the show, look for the rerun tonight! It’s worth the two hours, and if you have someone in your life that you feel underestimates the potential of a societal meltdown during a grid-down scenario, you might want to ask them to join you!

(David’s note:  Even my wife…MY WIFE…was moved by watching this.  After being married to me for almost 10 years, hearing me prepare to discuss this very scenario (with a kinetic twist) a few years ago in DC, doing all the training that she’s done, learning the skills that she’s learned, reading the books she’s read and even watching the movies & shows that we’ve watched, this show struck a nerve with her and we’ve had some great conversations as a result.)

Because the material is timely, I’ve broken down the overall “big picture” of this 10-day blackout scenario, but left out the individual story lines so it isn’t ruined for anyone who plans to catch the show.

Progression of events:

Day 1

  • When the cyber attack hits the electrical grid, it happens in a domino affect, rolling across the U.S. one region at a time as cities and towns are plunged into darkness.
  • Because only around 10% of traffic lights have backup power, gridlock is almost instantaneous and the situation leads to numerous car wrecks.
  • All cell phone and land-line phones are down.
  • Electrical transformers blow and fires break out.
  • All 900,000 elevators across the U.S. screech to a halt and thousands are trapped with only 4 hours of back-up lighting available before it’s lights out.  (Some automatically return to the ground floor before stopping)
  • Trains and subways stop and thousands more are trapped, or forced to find another form of transportation.
  • Only a handful of gas stations have back-up power. It’s nearly impossible to find gas, and when it is found, fights break out over who gets what.
  • In a matter of hours, food in freezers and refrigerators start to go bad.
  • People living in high rise apartments or condos can’t use the elevators and are forced to walk. Many staying at hotels chose to camp out in front of their hotel, rather than trudge up and down stairwells in the dark. Another issue is electronic key cards no longer work, so people cannot get into their rooms.  (David’s note:  I had a problem with this one since most keyless locks are battery powered or have battery backups.)
  • People hold “Blackout” parties, unaware, or unwilling to face the long-term repercussions.
  • News broadcasts tell people the blackout is the result of a cyber attack, and authorities are unsure about how long the blackout will last.
  • All banks are closed and ATM machines are not working.
  • A family of preppers hit the road to get to their big-out (there are several characters depicted in the movie with various mind-sets and income levels, but only one prepper, of which it’s pointed out in the movie, totals 3 million in the U.S.).

Day 2

  • Party time is over! People are panicking over the lack of food, water, and supplies.
  • Some households across the nation do not have water or sewer because municipalities aren’t set up for days-long back-up power.  (In the real world, gravity would take charge and backflow preventers (check valves) would be tested.)
  • People search through closets and drawers for candles, flashlights, lanterns, matches and lighters. Some discover the batteries in their flashlights are dead.
  • News broadcasts announce store shelves are bare and many are desperately searching for food, water, candles and batteries.
  • Some of the more industrious people power up their cell phones from the battery in their laptops, and others break out windup cell phone chargers and radios in an attempt to stay in communication. It isn’t made clear whether or not they are able to get a connection.
  • It’s announced that refineries cannot process and distribute fuel because, ironically, they do not have sufficient back-up power.  Even if they did, fuel tanker trucks driving on roads without stoplights and gas stations without generators to pump gas out of the tanks would cause cascading problems if the refineries DID keep producing.
  • Millions are stranded and are unable to get to work because of gridlock, the nation-wide power outage, and empty fuel tanks.
  • Because so many are burning candles and lanterns, running generators and cooking on camp stoves, fires break out everywhere, but the fire department can’t help. There’s no water to put the fires out.
  • People shown on camera admit they regret not having any emergency food and water put aside.
  • Police are out in full force, watching for looters and criminals who are taking advantage  of security cameras being down. Authorities advise that everyone stay indoors.  (Keep in mind that in most places, the ratio of law enforcement on duty to civilians is in the 1:4,000 range.  More than that would cause budget issues, but it’s an impossibly small numbers when things go bad)
  • By nightfall on day 2, civil unrest begins in earnest.

Day 3

  • Most municipalities have run out of emergency backup power and across the nation, people are thirsty and unable to cook or shower or flush their toilets. A newscaster goes on air, requesting those who are still receiving water to conserve it for absolute necessities–it is shown on the screen that an average family of 4 consumes 400 gallons of water each day.
  • Bartering at grocery stores begin. Unable to get cash from ATM machines, one man offers his Rolex watch in exchange for what he needs, but the shopkeeper refuses, saying it is no longer worth anything. Those with cash are offering $40.00 for a gallon of water and $20.00 for a jar of baby food.
  • Fights are breaking out everywhere over food and looting is out of control, especially after nightfall.
  • Some pet owners have run out of dog and cat food and have no idea what to do about it.
  • Many stuck in elevators have not been rescued, and they are growing desperate with thirst, and hunger while they are left in the dark.
  • It is announced that urban locations have been the hardest hit by the blackout, but suburban and rural locations have suffered as well.
  • The President calls a nation-wide state of emergency.
  • The Prepper gets a visit by a neighbor who begs for food and water, but he is refused help.  The prepper allowed his daughter’s boyfriend to bug out with them and the boyfriend pipes in that they DO have food to share.
  • A dusk-to-dawn curfew is called in an attempt to control lawlessness. The police are overrun and the National Guard has been called to action.
  • A newscaster wraps up his announcement by telling his audience they are about to run out of fuel for their generator.

Day 4

  • The president calls for rationing with priority given to the military and emergency services.
  • FEMA requests that everyone remain calm.
  • Further reports tell the public that riot police are trying to control the unrest.
  • People complain of police and military brutality.
  • Parents are desperate to feed their families and fighting and looting is greatly increased.
  • The Prepper learns his daughter’s boyfriend, who he took pity on and allowed him to go to their bug-out cabin, sneaks food to the neighbor in the dead of night. The prepper is convinced now that his neighbor has been given food, he will return with others to try to forcibly take what provisions they have.
  • Thousands of fires are now burning out of control, but there is nothing fire departments can do to help.
  • The death count climbs and the problem grows worse when the morgues admit they have no backup power to preserve the bodies.
  • A teenager is shown approaching the hospital where his mother is employed as a nurse and discovers body bags lined in multiple rows in a parking lot, but he is refused entrance by a bodyguard and told they are only allowing those with life-threatening emergencies inside.

Day 5

  • FEMA warns people not drink water from unknown sources due to possible contamination.
  • Announcements are made for anyone in need of food or water to go to nearby Red Cross stations for help.
  • As food riots, looting and lawlessness increases, it is announced there will be zero tolerance for criminals and vigilante groups.
  • While people record what is happening on the streets, screams and gunshots are heard.

Skips to Day 8

  • A Ham Radio operator claims authorities are confiscating guns and food and will shoot anyone who does not comply, but advises not to give them up.
  • The President requests international aid. The U.S. does not have the money or resources to help everyone in need.
  • Hospitals are running out of fuel for their backup generators as the wounded and the ill continue to seek medical help.
  • The prepper’s young son (around age 11) watches as the neighbor and several other males walk onto the families bug-out property. They grab the boy, telling him if he takes them to the food, he won’t be hurt. Once the looters clear out the “decoy” shelf of food, they leave and the son wakes his patents. They rush to their underground shelter where 2 years of food and water supply are hidden out of sight.
  • Civil unrest has escalated and people are afraid for their lives.

Skips to Day 10

  • A London broadcast announces that a massive relief effort is headed for the U.S. with supplies and personnel.
  • The malicious code used to take down the grid is closer to being tracked down to the culprit(s), but it is said the repairs to the grid may take months or years.
  • Red Cross stations continue to hand out food and water to the ever-increasingly desperate public. Photographs of the missing take up every square inch of the wood structures of the Red Cross stations.
  • The Prepper watches from an above ground camera as the neighbor and his friends return to the compound and discover his fuel supply and other important goods that the prepper’s family need to survive–things get heated from there, but I’ll stop here so I don’t give away the ending.

Reading the day-to-day description of American Blackout, do you feel the movie realistically depicts a kill shot that takes down the grid? Was anything left out? How would you react if you were the prepper, watching your survival goods about to be looted?

For concrete, step-by-step ways to prepare yourself and your loved ones for local, regional, and national disasters like what we discussed today, check out the course, the course.

God bless and stay safe,

Survival Diva and David Morris




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  1. I have been building up my supplies but never thought about my car not running. What kind of vehicle does not have computer and will run

    • Survival Diva says:


      There is a LOT of debate about the effects of an EMP on cars and electronics. Here’s one report, that although lengthy, is worth the read:

      EMP Effects on Vehicles
      by Jerry Emanuelson, B.S.E.E.
      Futurescience, LLC
      (To read the entire report, go to:
      One of the most common questions about electromagnetic pulse is about the effects of EMP on vehicles. I have resisted writing much about this in the past because so little is known about it.

      First, however, because it is a point of so much confusion, it is important to point out that there is no known mechanism by which a solar storm would destroy an automobile, except for making fuel unavailable due to loss of the power grid. Even the most massive solar storms are not known to contain the fast E1 component, which is the part of a nuclear EMP that can destroy items that are not connected to extremely long lines.

      Astronomical gamma ray bursts that produce an huge E1 component have occurred during the history of the Earth, but the extreme rarity of a damaging gamma ray burst means that it is much less likely than a very large asteroid strike. Also, the stars in this part of the galaxy have settled into their relatively tranquil middle age; and damaging gamma ray bursts are even less likely to occur today than in our planet’s prehistoric past. The only direct EMP dangers to automobiles results from nuclear EMP (and from non-nuclear EMP weapons of very limited range).

      The question of EMP damage to automobiles is so complex that it cannot be answered definitely for the reasons discussed below. The one thing that does have a broad level of agreement among those who have studied the matter is that obtaining fuel after any kind of electromagnetic disaster would be a matter of extreme difficulty. Any particular vehicle may or may not run, until it runs out of fuel; then it will not run any longer until the fuel production and distribution system can be re-started.

      Any statement concerning the effect of nuclear EMP on vehicles would depend upon details such as how your vehicle is oriented (in other words, which direction it is facing) with respect to the nuclear detonation. It would also depend upon the height of the detonation, the gamma ray output of the detonation, the distance and azimuth to the detonation, and the local strength of the Earth’s magnetic field between your location and the detonation point.

      It would also depend upon whether your car is parked outdoors, in a concrete garage, or in a metal garage. Obviously a metal garage is best, but concrete is slightly conductive and will provide a little bit of protection compared to outdoors.

      There have been a number of isolated tests of vehicles in EMP simulators over the years. The manufacturers of the cars wouldn’t even say which cars had been tested, and the cars were usually transported to the EMP simulators in such a way that the make and model was hidden from view. So we not only don’t know the result, we don’t even know which cars were tested. One Ford Taurus was tested on video by the Discovery Channel, but that was only one particular vehicle; and questions have been raised about the editing of that segment. (Having spent most of my career working for television stations and related industries, I have learned to be skeptical of television reports, no matter what the source.) Authoritative reports, however, indicate that some cars do behave like that vehicle.

      The U.S. EMP Commission tested a number of cars and trucks. Although this was the most comprehensive set of tests on vehicles that has been done, those tests were very poorly done because the Commission was financially responsible for the vehicles, but did not have the funding to pay for any of the vehicles they tested. The vehicles were borrowed from other government agencies (most vehicles came from the Department of Defense); and the vehicles had to be returned to those lending agencies in good condition.

      Those vehicles were tested up to the level that some sort of upset occurred, then further testing was stopped on that vehicle. In most cases, after the initial upset occurred, the vehicle could be restarted. In most of the remaining cases where the vehicle could not be immediately restarted, a latch-up had occurred in the electronics, and the battery could be momentarily disconnected to “re-boot” the electronics, and the vehicle could then be restarted. This temporary electronic latch-up failure mode caused by EMP is something that almost never occurs in automobiles during a typical lifetime of operation.

      Only one of the vehicles tested (a pickup) could not be restarted after some minor work, and it had to be towed to the shop for repairs.

      Very few of the vehicles were tested up to the maximum level of the EMP simulator. There was considerable disagreement among Commission staff members about how to report on the testing that had been done. Some EMP Commission staff members believe that the wording of the paragraphs in the EMP Commission’s Critical National Infrastructures Report about the effect of EMP on vehicles is quite misleading.

      For an excellent audio discussion the testing done by the Commission on automobiles and trucks, listen to EMPact America Radio Program number 41, which contains a discussion of this matter between the Chairman of the EMP Commission and a prominent staff member of that Commission.

      In particular, the discussion about the testing of vehicles was roughly between the 46 minute and 54 minute marks of this 96-minute program.

      The following quote is the report on the EMP Commission testing of vehicles from pages 115-116 of the EMP Commission Critical National Infrastructures Report:


      The potential EMP vulnerability of automobiles derives from the use of built-in electronics that support multiple automotive functions. Electronic components were first introduced into automobiles in the late 1960s. As time passed and electronics technologies evolved, electronic applications in automobiles proliferated. Modern automobiles have as many as 100 microprocessors that control virtually all functions. While electronic applications have proliferated within automobiles, so too have application standards and electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility (EMI/EMC) practices. Thus, while it might be expected that increased EMP vulnerability would accompany the proliferated electronics applications, this trend, at least in part, is mitigated by the increased application of EMI/EMC practices.

      We tested a sample of 37 cars in an EMP simulation laboratory, with automobile vintages ranging from 1986 through 2002. Automobiles of these vintages include extensive electronics and represent a significant fraction of automobiles on the road today. The testing was conducted by exposing running and nonrunning automobiles to sequentially increasing EMP field intensities. If anomalous response (either temporary or permanent) was observed, the testing of that particular automobile was stopped. If no anomalous response was observed, the testing was continued up to the field intensity limits of the simulation capability (approximately 50 kV/m).

      Automobiles were subjected to EMP environments under both engine turned off and engine turned on conditions. No effects were subsequently observed in those automobiles that were not turned on during EMP exposure. The most serious effect observed on running automobiles was that the motors in three cars stopped at field strengths of approximately 30 kV/m or above. In an actual EMP exposure, these vehicles would glide to a stop and require the driver to restart them. Electronics in the dashboard of one automobile were damaged and required repair. Other effects were relatively minor. . Twenty-five automobiles exhibited malfunctions that could be considered only a nuisance (e.g., blinking dashboard lights) and did not require driver intervention to correct. Eight of the 37 cars tested did not exhibit any anomalous response.

      Based on these test results, we expect few automobile effects at EMP field levels below 25 kV/m. Approximately 10 percent or more of the automobiles exposed to higher field levels may experience serious EMP effects, including engine stall, that require driver intervention to correct. We further expect that at least two out of three automobiles on the road will manifest some nuisance response at these higher field levels. The serious malfunctions could trigger car crashes on U.S. highways; the nuisance malfunctions could exacerbate this condition. The ultimate result of automobile EMP exposure could be triggered crashes that damage many more vehicles than are damaged by the EMP, the consequent loss of life, and multiple injuries.


      As is the case for automobiles, the potential EMP vulnerability of trucks derives from the trend toward increasing use of electronics. We assessed the EMP vulnerability of trucks using an approach identical to that used for automobiles. Eighteen running and nonrunning trucks were exposed to simulated EMP in a laboratory. The intensity of the EMP fields was increased until either anomalous response was observed or simulator limits were reached. The trucks ranged from gasoline-powered pickup trucks to large diesel-powered tractors. Truck vintages ranged from 1991 to 2003.

      Of the trucks that were not running during EMP exposure, none were subsequently affected during our test. Thirteen of the 18 trucks exhibited a response while running. Most seriously, three of the truck motors stopped. Two could be restarted immediately, but one required towing to a garage for repair. The other 10 trucks that responded exhibited relatively minor temporary responses that did not require driver intervention to correct. Five of the 18 trucks tested did not exhibit any anomalous response up to field strengths of approximately 50 kV/m.

      Based on these test results, we expect few truck effects at EMP field levels below approximately 12 kV/m. At higher field levels, 70 percent or more of the trucks on the road will manifest some anomalous response following EMP exposure. Approximately 15 percent or more of the trucks will experience engine stall, sometimes with permanent damage that the driver cannot correct. Similar to the case for automobiles, the EMP impact on trucks could trigger vehicle crashes on U.S. highways. As a result, many more vehicles could be damaged than those damaged directly by EMP exposure.


      It is important to note that the latest model of car that was tested by the U.S. EMP Commission (as noted in the quotation above) was a 2002 model car. Since 2002, the number of microprocessors in cars and the reliance on microprocessors in all motor vehicles has increased greatly. Also, the sensitivity of the electronic circuitry to EMP has increased due to the use of smaller electronic components designed to operate on lower voltages.

      Automobile manufacturers have also done EMP testing on their own at the EMP simulator at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. There was a news release from the White Sands Missile Range web site about this testing. Since that White Sands statement disappears from the web occasionally, I have reproduced it below.(You can go to to read the rest of the report)

    • 1972ish and older is what I’ve heard and am going to get. Might as well drive a 60’s or older classic! More fun to drive anyway, easier to work on, and still running after an EMP!

  2. stormylex says:

    Thank you for supplying a forum to discuss this movie. I have valued everyone’s input.
    I have such appreciation for the knowledge expressed here.

  3. Once good water was not available, lots of folks would be getting ill drinking bad water. it only takes 3 days for this to have an effect everywhere. most people are unaware that their hot water heater has 40 gallons but it you do not shut the water off the draining municipal tanks will siphon the water out of the hot water heaters. TURN YOUR INCOMING WATER OFF in a true power outage.

  4. Lack of water will get to people before lack of food. Buy a Sayer Water Filter, about $60 and good for 1 MILLION gallons gravity fed, filters to .2 microns. Have a way to catch lots of rain water and hold it from gutters. Buy some sprouting seeds and some 25 lb bags of rice. You can survive on rice, met people in other countries that do. Just need to be able to boil water for the rice. Buy lots of cheap Ramen noodles for flavor to mix in. NOT venturing out is best. The first month everyone will weed themselves out. Would also be good to have some thick plywood to cover any broken windows that may happen. Up North, heat will be the other big issue. No electric, no heat unless you have a wood stove. Better have lots of really warm clothes to hunker down in a cold house. Lots of layers.

  5. James McDonald says:

    I have several crank-up radios, led flashlights, handheld crankup 5v generators, solar panel to charge batteries, candles, oil lamps, as when everyone is using candles you don’t want to show you have working flashlights. Have several tactical flashlights as they can blind at night an attacker, and if you own some you know the other use that they can be used for! Have a couple of cheap led lights to give your neighbors to avoid being the only one with led lights, and to keep them from burning down their house and yours!

  6. Too weak overall but maybe an eye opener for some who are not brain dead.
    Such an event would not be fixed in a few days or even a few years.
    I read most of the comments. Agree with most.
    Take-aways: preppers alone are little better off than the unprepared; civil society is only a few missed meals away from anarchy (Most of us are aware of that.); less than one percent are anything like prepared for any emergency; minor medical problems can prove deadly (guy in the elevator).
    There is a nationwide emergency management drill in the middle of this month!!
    OPERATION GRID DOWN may actually cause such a disaster.
    Have you noticed that there have been drills going on when all the troubles start?
    9/11 & Boston marathon come to mind.

    • Well, Jason would have gone hungry until he had missed the total amount of HIS food that he gave away…. If he did something that follish again I would have A) run him off forewarned that he would die if he returned. B) skipped the prelims and shot him with a crossbow. (no noise)
      The biggest problem with Americans is that we have become SOFT. When you look at what the settlers survived? Two meals a day was average, lots of stuff people today would consider garbage! Ever try cooking over a buffalo-chip fire? Tastes like…. buffalo chips! Most folk are too ignorant to identify their firewoods. Use Poison Sumac just once…. it will be your last! Contaminated water? Same thing! In a real situation like this one there will be more violence sooner. Anyone remember how crazy NYC got when the lights went out about 15 yrs ago? There was rioting and smash&grab going on inside of three hours!
      Long story short? If your neighbor is willing to rob you at knife point he is NOT a friend or a person you can trust. Resolve to do what you have to to protect your family, or pick out your resting place and start digging when the grid drops. There won’t be much time for you to finish the hole before someone puts you in it. I’m agreeing with that old cigarette commercial…. “I’d rather fight than switch!” Just glad I’m already a good ways from a major city, those folks are really going to go through the grinder. God help’um.
      Yeah MB I noticed that. I’m thinkin it’s Obama flexing his (about to be unleashed) muscles. Oddly enough a grid-down situation would pretty well put PAID to his plans as there would quickly be no fuel to “roam the land” with. Local law enforcement would not have much chance to confiscate firearms without being destroyed by looters and armed citizens. Once the druggies figure out that the courts are going to stay closed they’ll take-on the cops. That noise won’t dissipate until decent folk have settled things permanently in their hamlets, towns, and villages. Big cities? Whole different league of problems! Probly have to dig them out using CQB tactics or pick them off when they go out raiding. Might resemble the Mad Max movies for a while….. Gonna get wierd for sure! Keep your eyes open and your powder dry. BTW an empty gun is only a high tech CLUB!

  7. Very insightful – about the naivete of our people…I see it in my grandkids…give me my toys…Cell phones/games and a bit of food in my belly , a running car, and I’m good…but trying to get them into the garden, harvesting, canning…and it’s like pulling teeth!

    • Survival Diva says:


      Have them check those cell phones at the door, hold them ransom until they’ve learned something, then bake cookies in way of apology : )

      It’s truly depressing to see how many, adults and teenagers alike, live in an electronic world where the sound of another’s voice or presence doesn’t make up for convenience. I’ll stop there because it’s a pet peeve that could take pages to vent over…

      • “…adults and teenagers alike, live in an electronic world where the sound of another’s voice or presence doesn’t make up for convenience.”

        Could I bother you to elaborate on that thought a little bit? I’m not sure I understand what you said.

        • Survival Diva says:


          I’ll be glad to elaborate, and will try not to rant : )

          There are many issues I believe we should be watchful of when it comes to human interaction vs. diving, headlong, into an electronically driven world. I experienced the first red flag when a friend’s daughter was visiting me in North Idaho around 8 years ago. She asked to go along with me and my children on a beautiful country drive. Good idea, I thought at the time, since she had never visited this part of the country. This drive took approximately 4 hours, round trip, through some of the most beautiful vistas I’ve ever seen. Yet, that entire drive, this 17-year old never once looked out the window while we passed lakes, and breathtaking mountain views. She buried her attention in her cell phone as she rec’d and answered texts. She did not interact with anyone in the car, even though she got along well with all of us (when her face wasn’t buried in her cellphones keyboard, that is). I’ve watched others since then, and have seen the same disconnect from humanity. It seems as if interaction with friends and family are happily traded for texting and e mails. I feel strongly this is separating us from one-another, where the importance of hearing a loved one’s voice or being in the same room with them is being traded for keys on a computer or a cell phone.

          Another words, we have grown wholly invested in machines, rather than depending upon human interaction. One only has to look at the number of deaths caused by talking on a cell phone or texting. Common sense tells us to WATCH THE ROAD when driving or walking, yet many choose to ignore common sense. The sad part about this is the deaths it’s caused of too many who had no way of knowing another driver was NOT watching the road…and that selfishness led to the loss of innocent lives. I was once a GM of cellular years ago, and I saw the potential for abuse that was a concern, but in my wildest dreams, I never envisioned how technology would so quickly separate us from one-another.

          As a society, we have come to depend upon our computers, but what happens if the grid crashes and all of the important information we need to survive is locked in files we can’t get to? What about those how-to E-Books we expected to get us through? This is why I have suggested in several posts to download all prepper-related info and keep it in a 3-ring binder.

          Lastly, as a nation, our industries and utilities have grown too dependent upon technology, to the degree our utilities have so attached themselves to computer programs, they have opened themselves (and us) to cyber attack. This is a real-time issue that is sometimes discussed by utility and industry leaders, but rarely is the issue solved.

          • Ah, yes, I have seen a fair dose of what you mean:
            I manage a pizza store; I’m constantly having to bother my employees about how we need to get things done; oftentimes, they’d rather be texting friends or family.
            Then too, when I took some vacation last year, I was surprised to learn that my sister’s cell phone was in use a fair bit, but by her then-12-year-old daughter who was “talking” to a friend..back at home.
            ..And, if that wasn’t goofy enough, both the 12-year-old and her cousin spent a fair bit of time on their Gameboys(?) most of the way home, playing some sort of video game.
            ..And I thought VACATION meant away from all that!


            BTW, as a side note, I’ve been contemplating purchasing some deep-cycle batteries from someplace for some time. I’m not sure how my apartment complex will react to having car-sized batteries in an apartment though. I’m looking at building a small solar power system; I would like to be capable of using my PC at least briefly if the local grid loses power.

          • That is why I call this new generation the “virtual” generation. They are right after the Millenials, X, Baby boomers. Although this behavior is not limited to them alone.

          • stormylex says:

            Totally agree with Diva. Communities are getting “wrapped up in the technology” and they will “go off the deep end” when the power is NOT THERE. The selfishness and feelings of entitlement this current atmosphere is creating is something to WATCH and BEAWARE of. The SHTF Group is all too aware that “times” will be hellish if your are not prepared.

            All of the disaster movies of late; have had a truth woven in the script. Comments regarding the LAX shooting indicate the panic of the situation was overwhelming for those experiencing it. Someone commented the scare factor was like that of living in a movie.
            The “normalcy bias” is strong in this area. Even after the declaration of 15 State of Emergences over the past few years.
            There are no requests for programs to gain Preparedness Insight.
            Classes and Public Out Reach Events go unattended.

            I thank the developers of this website and newsletter for keeping us informed, thinking about the future, our families and survival.

      • Well, who’s to ‘blame’? People who had it hard and didn’t have a few modern conveniences, when they were with their parents say: when I have children they are not going to go without. So they buy this, that and “everything’. The problem with that is they don’t want to learn the basics of life. Cause people do those things for them. Along with gifts, Parents should teach them important basic things, and also Appreciation for the things they were given. It would be fantastic if people appreciated each other!

    • When people say that after hurricanes and short term blackouts, that there were few incidents of lawlessness were few is naive. It’s limited because people know it was a localized event. If there was a huge nation wide event, I predict with certainty that it would way , way worse. Like in hurricane Katrina, most people knew help was coming. But even then there was mass looting and N.O. Police Dept. had many officers leave to take care of family first.

      In an economic collapse scenario , many LEO’s would simply have their agency furlough them if they couldn’t guarantee their family’s safety and some type of compensatory benefit. Why would any police officer risk his family’s lives? And if the officer wasn’t given some type of survival benefit compensation? Think about that and put yourself in that situation and logic would dictate they will take care of their families first.

      I see the same for National Guard and even some active Military. Even they are limited on how much food they have on hand to feed their personnel and their families.

      In nutshell, it could get ugly very very fast.

      • stormylex says:

        Mark, lets add to your list of the lest prepared the fire department personnel and rescue personnel. Studies show that the “sexiness” of first responders being “johnnie on the spot” in a mater of minutes to handle a newsworthy incident; can often leave their own families “without” the necessary supplies or preparedness. I know this for a fact from a report generated after a survey of responders-firefighters etc. asking them to be truthful about the facts that they themselves had failed to set to their responsibilities of preparing their families. And often that factor, hampered their job performance-focus on their duties and sometimes volunteers just could not RESPOND TO THE COMMUNITY they serve because they needed to remain with their families. This survey taken in 2009 of 70 first responders. An entire program presentation document has been developed to help outline the need of the FIRST RESPONDERS to PREPARE. The document has been developed….few departments or volunteer organizations have followed through with utilizing it.

    • I felt there was an attempt to make FEMA and the UN look like saviors. Other than that, the rest of it seemed very realistic. I believe this could really happen on some level, or region of the country.

      • I noticed that the UN and the EU military had to come “save” us. While our military supposedly was incapable of doing anything to help. FEMA was immediately in action, as opposed to real world disasters. Also glaring was, despite the power transformers exploding all over the place the power was reestablished in 10 days in the entire country.
        Still it did show people how woefully a majority of the American populace is
        All in all I give it a B-

  8. I have to take into consideration the restrictions they placed on themselves to portray this “event”. They telescoped everything into a 2 hour movie and shortened the event to 10 days to keep it manageable. I did like the multiple perspectives. I got used to the camera and realized they tried to do this as first person perspective. I re-named it “night of the living dumb” It did give a glimpse of what could happen. and a lot of what NOT to do. I can’t count how many times I said “you idiots”.
    I started watching during day 3 and did not know the boy with the prepper was a boyfriend and not his son. I kept thinking to myself, “why didn’t he teach all the kids and spouse to use weapons, know basic tactics, have observation posts, carry side arms 24/7, set up perimeter alarms and booby traps?” Perhaps this is an example of a family who does not support the prepper. Also a lesson on losing OPSEC. Once it is gone, you can’t get it back. He was a good example of what not to do, especially with confronting superior numbers.
    I have talked to people in rural areas and read their posts on forums. Many live in areas that are infested with meth labs and other undesirables. They know their neighbors well enough to know they will probably have to shoot them. There are good and bad people everywhere. You just can’t up and move. The prepper did not know his neighbors and did not have a mutual defense group. Why was the 11 year old on watch alone? I guess level 2 means cozy in bed. I mostly have comments about him, because the sheeple act like sheeple. They investigate strange noises without any defensive weapon and yell out “anyone there” as if it is a cheap horror flick. Oh, it was. Only missing the panty shots.
    During hurricane Sandy, I saw people dumpster diving just two (2) days into the storm. YES, people in cities are that UNprepared. Looting can happen almost immediately. It does not even need a disaster, just a championship game. With moral relativism being taught for 40 years, many people are opportunists and pragmatists.
    They did depict the government as WAY TOO efficient at bringing relief. But, I think the leo’s would be all too eager to start martial law and bash some heads. Also the people at the refugee camps were much too orderly. That scramble for the water was too minor and understated.
    They minimized the sanitation and health problems as previously mentioned. They would have run out of body bags and started mass graves. Plus, now with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, we could have an pandemic that is un-treatable. The nursing homes and ICU’s, would all be tombs. Many hospital staff would be with their families like the police and firefighters.
    They also missed all the stranded commuters. Some people commute an hour each way on a good day. Walking home would take days. Travel is through roads and neighborhoods that are unknown and unfamiliar. Many would never make it home for all kinds of reasons. Plus airports, train stations, etc. all packed with stranded travelers. Once all the food at the airport is looted, they would spill into the streets.
    Prisons are locked electrically. Once the power goes out, the doors and gate are all open. That was bypassed completely.
    I hope this would be a wake up call. Especially the yuppy girl. But after reading billyboy, I am not sure. Not sure why he bothered to comment since he didn’t bother to watch. Too many will trust the government to protect them.
    Unscientific impromptu poll: Would you like to see this made into a mini series, or series for at least one season? More than one season? I think that some of the deficiencies could be dealt with given more time.

    • Survival Diva says:


      I vote for a mini-series! Enjoyed you title “Night of the Living Dumb” by the way.

      Excluding the prison breaks in the movie is unfortunate because this will be an issue for everyone…prisons are located in rural areas as well as urban.

    • “Some people commute an hour each way on a good day. Walking home would take days. Travel is through roads and neighborhoods that are unknown and unfamiliar. Many would never make it home for all kinds of reasons.”

      I think this part of your appraisal is overly pessimistic. While I can’t say I’ve ever had an hour’s commute home, I HAVE driven for 20 minutes at highway speeds for the same. I did so for a 12 mile commute. It might take several hours, but it won’t take days.
      I also don’t buy the idea that such a trip would be via unfamiliar roads and neighborhoods. It’d be much more likely to be using the same roads and neighborhoods as usual, merely MUCH slower. It would not make sense to take alternate routes, precisely because some of those MIGHT be unfamiliar.

      I don’t think people would have as much trouble walking quite that quickly after an EMP. Precisely because the grid would be down, there’d be too little communication happening for most people to know the full extent of the problem quite so quickly. ..Media outlets would be down too, so they wouldn’t be able to help drive hysteria.

      I’d say this situation would be an outstanding case for a concealed carry permit and weapon as much as anything.

      • John you are forgetting about people who have to drive distances for work.For instance my daughter has to work in a large city because she is a NICU nurse and has been for 20 years.Rather than be forced to live among A multitude of people we have chosen to live in the country 35 miles away in order to miss suburbs.We are pretty much off the mainstream.She knows in an electrical shutdown she has no choice but to watch the babies breathe their last then start walking.The first day she would be safe on the highway because people would still be confused but after that she would take a side road if we can figure out a route.So don’t forget the reall distance drivers.Also on another topic.I never knew about the automatic locks opening.That’s scarey thinking about the criminally insane being dumped on society.

      • John: I used to be one with a 90 minute commute on 95% highways. Nor was I the only one. I know of many people who live in smaller towns surrounding this city and commute to work each day. There are many more who cross a state line and various rivers to get here for work. Most all use interstates and state numbered highways to drive because they are quicker, not necessarily more direct. I drove 10 miles out of my way to stay on a 4 lane road. I also drove out of my way during college to avoid bad neighborhoods. If I have to walk, I want the most direct route possible. That may include cutting through neighborhoods and avoiding roads. After the short window of opportunity in the beginning, I think the larger roads would become more dangerous with gangs, and even barricades or abandoned vehicles. Or, there could be police blockades; and I am not surrendering my side arm. I live 5 miles from work now. One possible route is to follow the train tracks, which I don’t drive. Check out the book “One Second After” and that possible scenario with the stranded commuters. If GPS does not work, you should always have a printed map in your vehicle with alternate routes marked, Where bridges are that could be damaged by accidents or earthquake. Possible choke points. Also, good walking shoes, extra socks, mole skin, foot powder, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, rain gear, water, electrolytes, etc. etc. etc. You know; a get home bag (GHB). The idea is to move quickly, so it should be light weight. My main one has minimal food, no stove, no hunting, trapping and fishing gear. I have supplemental bags for winter and cooking etc if I have to travel beyond 1 day’s hike and need more stuff.
        I don’t think I was being pessimistic but knowing people and human nature, realistic.

      • John, think about the folks who live in major cities like LA and NYC. Do you think you would survive walking from Manhattan to Fishkill, NY? you would be going through parts of the city you had never seen as the TRAIN you rode is not a place where you can walk….. and there are “people” living in the tunnels that you do NOT want to meet! LA? I know for a fact that you’d have a difficult time surviving ANY walk of more than a mile or two due to roving gangs, smash&grab looters, and the occaisional stick-up artist. Walking city streets is NOT the same as being “untouchable” in a vehicle driving by on the freeways…. Hope you never have to test your theory on the survivability of “walking home”. I’d have to side with Mavrick, it’ll be a rough commute!

    • “Prisons are locked electrically. Once the power goes out, the doors and gate are all open. ”

      On the other hand, they might be designed with a fail-safe that would cause them to lock automatically, not open. In that case, the problem would be ensuring that someone would bring food.

      • I would like to hear from someone who designs or works in prisons and could give us the correct info on this.

        • The failsafe for electric locks is to STAY LOCKED in prisons and jails, in case of a power failure either by accident/disaster or by an escape attempt. I have worked in a prison (10 years) and a jail (25 years). Most of the employees would probably stick around work for a day or so, depending on how long they thought the event would last, but soon they would abandon the inmates (no loss) and go take care of their families.

          One comment above stated that law enforcement can’t wait to bust heads…what a stupid and uniformed comment. I speak from a lifetime of experience. MOST L.E. personnel actually took the job because they want to make a positive difference. Those FEW who slip through the lengthy screening and background process that are bullies or dishonest don’t last long, at least in the agencies I have been associated with.

          • Left Coast Chuck says:

            OTOH, I have had a cop tell me that he didn’t need to prepare, as long as he had his guns he could get whatever he needed and inasmuch as he was always armed, even when off duty, he was pretty well set. I noticed that he didn’t include his family in his little speech about his method of “preparing” and it made me wonder if he had given any thought at all to his family and their survival.

            So I know there is at least one cop in our town who will go over to the dark side immediately upon a deep emergency situation developing.

          • Survival Diva says:

            Left Coast Chuck,
            I wonder what that cop does now, when people aren’t looking. It’s telling that he never included his family in his plans. A friends son said pretty much the same thing when I suggested that he prepare. I’m glad he lives 3,000 miles away : )

    • good synopsis

    • stormylex says:

      I want to see the book…One Second After on the big screen. That is a realistic portrayal of what it will be like over an extended period of time. I could not put that book down when I started reading. Everything made sense to me.. horrible conditions but true.

  9. Alfred Ferrara says:

    The ransacking of prepper’s stores by the National Guard. Yes, I realize the depiction stopped short of showing what would follow the declaration of “Martial Law!” It didn’t go that far. It also stopped short of showing the natural progression of “dealing appropriately” with the trespassers that were holding the property owner at knifepoint… which we all know very well was to meet deadly force with deadly force. I suppose the whole thing attempted to provide a “Wake-Up Call” of mild proportions to those lulled into an Opiate-Like media induced sense of “we’re all gonna be all right… forever!” The vast majority of American consumers will always be shocked when the Government ultimately drops the veil, just like the Hallocaust victims who remained in their homes until it was too late to flee!

  10. Soylent Green says:

    I keep reading posts that state, ‘Don’t panic. I’ve been through a power outage and I was just fine! I got out my emergency supply of candle stubs and the family and I played Old Maid until the power was restored the next day.’ I wonder if they actually saw the program.

    As I’ve said previously, my cable company doesn’t carry it, so I didn’t get to see it either. But I HAVE read what David and others have said about it. I don’t think it was just about a tree falling on some highline wires and knocking out power to a couple of neighborhoods. I think there would be a WHOLE LOT of difference between the reactions of people if the whole country or a majority of it were compromised than would happen during a localized power outage.

    • Kimmeekitty says:

      I watched it on youtube. It has the entire movie and it was very easy to find and watch. You might try finding it there.

  11. Soylent Green says:

    I didn’t get to see ‘American Blackout’. My cable channel doesn’t carry. So, I read what I could about it on the web site. I didn’t read too much of the readers comments section. But, these 2 comments were near the top at the time and really amused me.

    “Having been involved with the medieval re-enactors, ie the SCA, I can live very well with out power.”

    “Uhmm I am ok with not watching American Blackout. Don’t really want to imagine all the terrible things that would happen.”


  13. I didn’t see the movie. But I do prepare for disasters. I live in the suburbs of a large southern city. I’ve been through numerous hurricanes and floods that covered buses and overturned 18-wheelers. I’ve been without electricity for weeks. During those times grocery stores were closed, gas stations were closed, banks were closed, ATMs didn’t work, street lights and traffic lights were out, etc. The basement of the local hospital flooded so they had no backup power. I’m sure the events you describe from the movie would happen. But I didn’t see the panic, traffic accidents, looting, house fires, etc. that you say were in the movie. Not in day 1 or 2 or 3 or 4. Or in any of the weeks we’ve been without electricity. Prepare but don’t panic.

    • Being former USAF Survival/PJ Specialists I guess this just is the way that I have always lived. My family not only survived Katrina in 05 but I was a volunteer first response during several Hurricanes and other Events.
      It is a fact that civilization would collapse within 72 hours of such a event. I have personally seen this happen in certain regions along the Gulf Coast.
      I watched the program with my wife and used it to explain more “What Not to Do” and why we as a nation are very much at risk.
      Remember the 5 basics of Survival ; Water,Food,Shelter,First Aid/Medical and Defense. Also remember the rule of “3’s” 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, up to 3 weeks without food. If anyone uses these two rules and apply them properly, then they will not have to spend a fortune to get properly prepared for just about any crisis. God Bless & Stay Frosty !

      • stormylex says:

        It is true military families are more likely to be more prepared than the average public; with proper supplies and a plan. Having been connected with the military even indirectly, it has rubbed off on my family. Having to be ready to deploy at a moments notice as a National Guardsman, bags packed, supplies packed for self sufficiency; to handle state declaration of emergencies that sort of readiness never leaves you even after retirement.

  14. Joseph L M says:

    I just finish watch this documentary , it very mild compared to what could happen. But it shouldn’t be taken lightly it made a lot of good points. Sadly most people are not prepare for even 2 or 3 days of discomfort in a short term disaster. I pray to God that the grid doesn’t go down but the chances are it very likely to happen in our life time . Most people that watch it will dismiss it and change the channel , a few will open there eyes to the possibility this could happen. Thank you David for e-mailing me about this documentary otherwise I would have miss it.
    I would give it a thumbs up as a learning tool.

    • I completely agree with your post. There are a number of good novels (that are based on research and accuracy) that carry the reality of this scenario further out in time. This allows the authors to really project possibilities.

      Thank you David for the email. I probably would not have known about the airing without your email. The more who are prepared means there will be fewer trying to take from the prepared.

    • Survival Diva says:


      Glad you caught the movie! I hope those who watched had a seed planted (subliminal or not) to get prepared, because as other posters have mentioned in this thread, the more that are prepared, the better off we all are : )

  15. i believe the looting will be very much worse and the gangs & mobs will be way out of control.
    the program i believe just scrached the surface but kind of gave somewhat of an idea on
    what lays ahead. don’t mean to sound so negative but that’s my take.

    • Survival Diva says:


      I agree that things could get out of control sooner than later (depending upon the emergency). Watching the news over something a lot tamer like big storm that’s about to hit a densely populated city tells the story of empty shelves and traffic jams. The good news is we can get ready now, ahead of an emergency.

  16. Eric Berthiaume says:

    After 7 days without electricity, nuclear reactor explodes and millions of people will die. sorry this is the end!

  17. Like others have noted, it was a true soft-sell when it came to hygiene, the deaths of the elderly, infirm and infants. People with chronic, life-threatening illnesses would die within a few days. Without formula and water, babies would die quickly. The unsanitary conditions of garbage, sewage and bodies would be horrific. Perhaps depicting those harsh realities would have stimulated more thought.

    I would really like to see that stats from websites and Amazon after this program aired. I wonder how many people, who had already been thinking about doing at least some minimal prep (i.e. a week or two of food, water and meds) were motivated to finally start those preps.

    • stormylex says:

      I agree…would like to get a report from the “prep-sites”, suppliers on the level of sales after this movie release. Anyone up for gathering that data…wonder if the suppliers would cooperate?

  18. I take from your comments that most of you have never been through a scenario similar to this. Within 8 days they portrayed total break down. I went through the hurricane in Pensacola, Fl. and we went 2 weeks without electricity, no stores, no traffic lights, etc. by the second day everyone made all intersections 4 way stops and to this day if the lights go out everyone automatically stops. We had no looting, shootings, and our crime was at a low. We combined food and cooked our fridge items and pulled together to clear streets and help each other. The outer areas were without for 3 weeks and no problems. Now all gas stations, traffic lights and most food stores are required to have generators. I do believe an EMP could cause similar conditions in a short period, but even then not within 8 days. There was no “bugging out” since all roads were blocked and most bridges gone. Most large cities have had bad experiences without these kinds of results. And I don’t believe the neighbor out in the middle of nowhere would be on the hunt in such a short period of time when most rural folks have support of some kind. You live in a bad area with bad people and I guess you can expect bad things. I suggest you move, but most of live fairly well. I have noticed though that National Geographic has programming made to scare the crap out of everyone with every show. I do suggest everyone get prepared for about a month. Happy Trails Americans!

    • granny mae says:

      I have been through several hurricanes myself, but you are forgetting one thing; a hurricane is sort of local. Meaning that it is a storm and damage that is localized to certain areas. This makes it a bit easier to handle because after a few days help can get to you and by all the local clearing many can get out to other areas to bring back the things they need. What they are talking about here is a mass disaster that can effect thousands of miles. An EMP attack will effect every electrical piece of machinery and equipment there is if it isn’t case hardened or protected in a faraday cage. Just trying to clear the highways of automobiles will be a major task. If a store or gas station isn’t able to protect their emergency generator in a faraday cage then the generator won’t work so there won’t be any chance of opening up. The main electrical grid would not be able to come back on line for maybe years, depending on how much and what kind of damage is done to the main generators. Most of them take a year to make just one and they are not made in this country. There may not be any kind of communication at all for quite a while. If you think you will be able to turn on the TV or the radio and get the news you are wrong. You will get your news by word of mouth. HAM radio people may not be able to use their radios either if they haven’t been protected and protecting them is a big operation. I have checked into it. You may have managed to get by after a hurricane and I have too but this is going to be a whole different animal. Don’t be so smug, be prepared. Everyone should be prepared for everything. Put away enough food to take care of your family for at least a year. To do that you will have to be able to grow a garden and that isn’t so easy for a beginner. They may starve a while before they get it perfected. You have a responsibility to take care of your family and that you should do, if you don’t do not expect others to help you, they will be busy taking care of their own. If you think living in a good area is going to protect you , then think again. When your neighbor is suffering and watching his children and babies dying from hunger he will do what he has to do to save himself and his family and if that means taking from you or even stealing from you for something to barter with then that is what he will do. All the goodness in your neighbors will be going out the door. You will do things you never dreamed you would ever do when you reach the point of desperation. When they talk about an EMP they are not talking about a short time of trouble. If it is strong enough to take out the electrical grid it is going to be a time of trouble for a long time. There will be some that will only be without for a short time and that is because they have already prepared for just such a thing. They have constructed a faraday cage for their major appliances that they can, They know how to redo their vehicles and have taken many other precautions that they can. They are preppers, and good people. So many of them have taken the time to set up you tube videos to show people how to prepare and how to get ready for any kind of disaster and they do it so you won’t be caught with your pants down so to speak and what they get for it is ridicule , made fun of and called names. Still they continue to put themselves out there to keep teaching and encouraging other people how to survive and take care of themselves. That’s OK. One day they will have the last laugh, but they won’t be laughing, they will be crying for you and all the others that wouldn’t listen. Now one more thing. Depending on just where that EMP explodes, it could physically effect hundreds or thousands of people. The farther away from that thing you are the better off you are. If the enemy decided to hit us with an EMP it may most likely be in a highly populated area so as to do the most damage. My advice to all is start collecting all the information you can on the damage from one of these things and then prepare and protect your family as best you can.

      • Preach it Granny !!!

        By the way, an emp is NOT the only possible scenario that can be nationwide. Financial collapse, hyper-inflation, loss of world reserve currency, 100’s dirty bombs throughout the nation, other terrorist attacks, false flag events, and many others that may, or may not, be probable, but are still possible.

        Will the military try to take guns and food? Just ask those in Katrina. Completely illegal, but they did it anyway.

    • 99Apache64 says:

      That may be when it is an isolated incident, but if it was a larger scale problem I think the problems would then begin to show up that these people are talking about. Maybe where you live everyone worked together during this storm but if they realized that the whole country was falling apart then panic starts to take hold and I think the community bonding starts to fall apart. I would hope that in some small rural areas or neighborhoods that small pockets of people would do the smart thing and get together to defend their areas from outside looters and possibly others that are carrying contagion if that was the problem at the time. They could have and should have planned ahead to deal with crisis such as these in advance. We live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and our neighbors all believe in sticking together with each of us possessing a different set of skills to aid the group in a time of danger, but all of us are preppers. This is rare I know but it is something I have developed by talking with my neighbors and stressing this after the storms we have suffered together over the years. Even though we have this arrangement I still have armed and prepared our family heavily in case someone inside or outside our group decides to violate our home property. In a large scale and long term disaster like a power outage of a several months or more the people who aren’t prepared will be willing to do anything to feed their families. The cities with dense populations will be hardest hit, that’s for sure, but when those are picked over the suburbs and the rural areas will be next. Hoping that the government will come through in 10 days like in this TV show is so delusional I feel sorry for the people that believe in it. I hope that this show woke some people up and they start doing some serious research on prepping and getting ready for any kind of disaster that could occur. We will see next year when the estimate of the number of survivalist/preppers is tallied.

  19. I would expect anti-rationing laws, and house by house searches … followed by a large amount of UN troups.

    Emp-protected government computers would have lists of all prepper supply companies and who bought what (i.e. Mris, freeze-dried foods, etc). Armed troups would come to gather the loot to be redistributed to the populace.

    Guns would be outlawed, and removed.

    Possible mass relocations might then be done, so as to separate preppers from their hidden stuff and guns. There were reports of a huge number of concentration camps places around the country. We would have a dictatorship or such, and govt would be willing to empty out an entire city, to solidify control.

    … Or in government-speak we would be “consolidated” so that we can be “better cared for”.

    I am not a hopeful prepper. I trust in God, and I do believe we should prepare. But in the end, governments are well versed in ending prepper challenges to their total control. Don’t forget that many individual Russians used to be well armed and such, long ago, and they lost it all.

    • AL, Orange Park, FL says:

      HERE I find that your referral to Russia and their being well armed actually is not correct, the Russians were told by their government to “register” their weapons, a few years after that was completed the government required them to turn their weapons in to the local police because it would “stop crime etc” much as Nazi Germany did, then the Russian government came and “searched” homes businesses etc of those who had registered their guns to ensure they didn’t hide any and got neighbors and even family to “tell on” those who still had guns hid. Russia went down just like Nazi Germany and the likes of obama and his communist goons are doing the same now. Please don’t make assumptions based on the lack of facts when you make these kinds of statements there are those who would actually believe what you said out right because they too had made assumptions based on the lack of facts.

  20. Some scumbags can read! And they know about the country as well. NOWHERE will be safe. Some communities will do better than others BOTH inside and outside the “stranger danger” evil cities. Everywhere will be subject to raids, invasions! No answers on how or what the best options are for you, but be prepared (lord forgive) that you and your party are willing to use whatever means is nessisary to protect yourself. Oh yeah then you also have to worry about friendly fire by other scared groups trying to protect themselves. God help us!

    • granny mae says:

      Yes God does need to help us if he will. If you are prepared you don’t need to be scared. Most of us adults are not going to be shooting at shadows but you will find many that might. That is why peppers are always trying to get others to prepare so they won’t have to go to strangers to find food for their families. But you can bet your bottom dollar if someone comes to a prepper in a menacing way they may get shot or they may even get trapped in some way, because many have booby-trapped their property. So if you aren’t prepared, when TSHTF don’t venture over onto a preppers property. He is just taking care of his own.

  21. USMC Gunnysgt says:

    As I watched the show, I’ve come to realize how little of you will actually survive an eotw situation like the one portrayed last night, tame as it was. You need guts, heart, and logical deduction skills, not to mention acute survival skills, if you want to survive. Most left wing socialists will not! If the situation portrayed were real it’s likely it would go on for years, what with our decaying electrical grid. And God forbid, what will happen if and when the dollar collapses and everything comes to a complete stand still. Your good neighbors, regardless of race creed or color will completely lose it when it comes to feeding their children. Do you even think they will hesitate in killing you??? Wake up sheeple, many, many of you will not survive. And if you wait for your government and fema to save you, oh well, if they get to you, guess where you are going??!!??

  22. Dr. Prepper says:

    I could only watch about a minute and a half of the hand held cameras bouncing around and generally making it unwatchable. Looked like a bunch of newbies doing the camera work….Maybe that was what they were going for?
    Some of you that watched the whole thing…..Did it get any better? Should I tape it and try to watch it again?

    • It was like trying to watch Blair Witch Project, but it did make you think. I personally hadn’t thought enough about gridlock without EMP—thinking that cars would be unaffected in cyberattack..i hadn’t thought about redlights. Of course, i live in a rural area, so it is not such an issue for me, but it would be impacting cities greatly. There were a few other items like that, but overall if you are a prepper, not much there. Good “i told you so” moment, and i am working on getting some non prepper friends to watch it…every household that gets more prepared is a step in the right direction for our country.

      • granny mae says:

        It sure does effect cars. Not just stop lights. Cars today are all electrical. They run on gas but they start by electricity and keep running by electricity. Ever have the computer in your car or truck go on the fritz? It doesn’t run so good does it? Well an EMP takes out everything electrical including the computer in your car or truck. Even if you don’t live near town you may find that you will have to get into town for something. Let me see if I can think of some things that may find you needing to get into town. Aside of the usual such a gas and food, how about you are in town and can’t get home, or maybe your kids are in school and they can’t get home and you need to find a way to pick them up? This sort of thing is not going to happen when we are all home safe in our homes, it is going to happen when you least expect it. My family has been concerned about this kind of attack for a very long time and we live several miles from town. We have family members that work a good distance from home and grandchildren that go to school in town, so we sat down a long time ago and decided what would work for us to make sure everyone got home safely. We have put away a little cash so it will be handy in the case we need it and we have stored up plenty of water. We did that in the beginning because of a draught in our area and there was a good chance our well was going to go dry so we decided we needed to store some water in case it did and we needed water to hold us over till we could get a new well dug. After that we decided to keep those water storage barrels for just any kind of emergency that might come our way. Haven’t been sorry we did either. Try to think of all the unusual things that could happen and then try to come up with a plan to handle that situation. Especially sit down with your family and plan how and where to meet up with each other in case something would happen. If by chance your vehicle does start and you have to get from one town to the other don’t go by the main highway. It will most likely be crowded with cars that don’t work and everyone that sees you with a running car will be trying to flag you down to get a ride and you cannot handle that. Find alternate routes off the beaten path to get where you need to go. If you have to go to the school to pick up children or grand children and you know your neighbors kids are there then bring them home with you if possible, cause they might not be able to get in to get their children. We made that arrangement for our kids and even when they were in high school we mapped out a plan where my grandson would walk a certain direction and we would do everything we could to get to him and pick him up. If we couldn’t get to him he would be able to walk the 8 miles home as safely as possible, if we could get to him we would also pick up all the neighbor kids we could and bring them home. Most of the neighbors would be busy trying to figure out how they were going to get home, so at least they would know the kids would be home safe waiting. Another thing to do is if you work out and need to wear high heal shoes, pack a pair of flats or tennis shoes in the car just in case you have to walk any distance. I watched the people from 9/11 and most of the women had no decent shoes to wear to walk in, I also took not of the hurricane Katrina disaster and took note of simple little things that if they had just packed in a bag could have made their time a bit more tolerable. I will never forget the suffering those people went through and most of it was because they trusted their government to keep them safe, whether it was the local gov. or the Federal gov. Do not place your life and welfare in the hands of anyone but yourself ever. You can take care of you better than anyone else can. You are so right that every household needs to get prepared and bless you for wanting your friends to do the same thing.

      • Soylent Green says:

        So, you think people will just sit in their cars waiting for a green light? God bless your innocent heart, son!

      • family freindly username! says:

        Also Kprepper People living in rural areas tend to come from families
        that go back generations who were neighbors for decades if not
        centuries like small farm towns in the Midwest formed in the 1800s. So
        people know and trust each other and are willing to go the extra step
        to help each other. By comparison, in the big cities with hundreds of
        thousands of people if not millions, people outside of co-workers
        friends or family small circles, are total strangers and in a SHTF
        situation would be just as willing to attack as well as help. Its not
        a race issue, its a culture issue.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Dr. Prepper,

      The film remained the same. I think they went that direction to give the feeling that everything we were seeing came from hand-held video, or cellular video from the perspective of people living through the blackout. But if you can get past that, it’s worth watching.

  23. Why did you go there with that bull**** about minority violence? Nobody but you brought up racist crap like that. Are you saying that only minorities would be violent in a situation depicted? I think you had better check your facts, because the last time I checked the violent acts man does against each other, it showed that white men were more likely to use violence upon someone quicker than the so-called minorities. And in a grid-down scenario, it showed white men going after the white prepper, and white men going after the white female yuppie penthouse dweller. You don’t have to have too much imagination to figure out what happened to her.

    GWTW, perhaps you would be better off keeping your head in that novel you are so fond of that you use it as your sign in. I bet you in a SHTF scenario, you’d probably be safer in a group of “minorities” than some other non-minority group. Can you say compassion?

    • I disagree about where you would be safer…i think rural communities would be the safest. Has nothing to do with race. It has to do with mindset–rural folks are less used to convenience of store nearby and often have some supplies, even if not preppers. They are more used to doing things for themselves vs. having stores or nearby service businesses or government deliver their needs/wants.

      Folks in the cities, minority or otherwise, are used to having their needs met by nearby stores and government. The mindset in the city is not to stockpile, but to buy what is needed fresh–which makes sense with smaller homes/apts with less storage, and in poorer communities this is compounded by less resources with which to prep and a mindset of depending on government to deliver solutions.

      So, i would say rural areas are safest based both on the kind of people that live there (not their race) and based on the fact that there are overall a lot LESS people. A rural minority group would be safer than a city based majority group!

    • “Why did you go there with that bull**** about minority violence? ”

      I can’t say I would’ve thought of this off the top, I think we all understand that all peoples will be subject to temptations toward violence. Unfortunately, as I consider the notion, I”m compelled to admit that I don’t disagree that it could happen.
      I have heard now and then about how major news networks won’t report minority violence the same as white violence; given many attitudes I’ve come across from minorities themselves, I have little doubt that such would happen. ..And be covered up, excused, or denied.

    • family freindly username! says:


      I don’t know who you are replying to but you are only partially
      correct. Yes ALL races of people will riot. However NG could not make
      the show of minority rioters because the politically Correct police
      would rip their assets about a negative portrayal about inner city
      minorities so the made the show where all crime was white on white.
      When the EBT cards had a glitch earlier this month some inner city
      residents did threaten riots if it happened again. As for my opinion
      about the Show, which I DVRD and watched it back to back days over my
      lunch hour from work, I think the final ending scene with the looters
      vs the preppers was far too tame. the looters would not have let the
      two monologue with each other. The looters would have killed the
      prepper for their fuel right away and been done with that.

  24. Soylent Green says:

    As for day 2, Don’t count for too much for too long from the police. Remember what happened in New Orleans after Katrina. The police thee were looting as much as the citizens were. Not saying it would happen everywhere, but I AM sure it would happen in SOME urban areas.
    Also, a long, long time ago, back when the Federal government’s war policy was called ‘MAD’ (Mutually Assured Destruction), I was on the Fire Department and my brother was on the Police Department. Our town of 55,000 which was considered a ‘secondary’ Russian missile target because of railroad/highway intersections and grain storage was supposed to leave and go to a neighboring town of 30,000. Once there the people were supposed to cover municipal buildings with 10 feet of sand for protection. I always wondered if they were going to tell that other town we were coming! The police were supposed monitor the traffic out by means of odd/even license tags. And then to stay here and protect stores, homes and other property that had to be abandoned. The fire department was to set up watching posts on top of the grain elevators to watch for fires. Of course everyone we knew said ‘F’ that stupid shit! If war breaks out, we’re taking OUR families and heading as fast as we can in the OPPOSITE direction! They may have lowered entrance exam test questions in order to be ‘politically correct’ since them but I’m betting that the majority of policemen and fireman of today still aren’t retarded.

  25. I think that there were some areas in the film where the situation was overstated, some areas understated and some pretty right on.
    Overstated–in the beginning, many Americans won’t realize the extent of the problem, so i don’t think there will be immediate looting by large groups, maybe just some criminal opportunists. Many won’t even know situation is nationwide or serious. People are used to short term outages, and experience more of them every year. Initially i think the city folks will expect the lights back on and the suburban folks will start having barb b ques. Our town (Baltimore) experiences some blackouts of a few days every few years without rioting, maybe a few career criminals take the chance but most folks don’t even with their SNAP cards not working. That said, it is a regional, not a national, problem and so i do agree that a few days would change things, especially with no communication.

    Understated–didn’t show effects of no garbage pickup and no sanitation for over a week. Or from folks getting sick from untreated water and unsafe food. Cholera and other nasty intestinal type problems would be rampant. Cities would be very unsanitary places after a week and one thing many don’t think about is sanitation. Those hospitals would have had tent fulls of sick people outside without nearly enough nursing and doctor staff. As mentioned above, no depiction of folks dying without modern medicine, dialysis, prescription refills and the like.
    Also, it was summer. Had it been winter, many people would have frozen to death.

    I feel it didn’t really depict how most folks would have no idea what was actually going on–in a true national grid down, very few are seeing those broadcasts, and rumor and speculation would be a huge problem. Getting out info to folks after a few days when even generators died would be a big issue.
    I agree with comment above that no way a grid this damaged comes back in 10 days.

    Right on–effects on traffic in cities and inability to get resupplied for gas or any other supplies.

    Hopefully a wake up call for those who never think about this stuff.

  26. There is no way an event like that could have been over in 10 days. That part was bogus. I went through hurricane Hugo in 1989 in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. No power for 4 months, no phones for 6 months. Looting is worse then a hurricane! My x wife didn’t get power for a whole year. Even when I left in 1993 there were still tons of work to be done on homes and businesses that were completely destroyed. To this day you can still see blue tarps on various structures. Even some of the local police and national guard were involved in the looting. I don’t ever want to see that again!

    • Survival Diva says:


      I agree with you. A cyber attack that took down the U.S. grid would take years to repair. This would make a great mini-series, actually, where it depicts the long-term struggles and dangers that it would bring.

      • family freindly username! says:

        Have you read the book by William Forestchen, “One Second After”?

        Its about life in a small southern town in the Carolinas after an EMP attack. the book goes 1 year from the day of the attack to the last page.

        • stormylex says:

          family friendly username! says:

          You got that right! We both are thinking the same. Thanks for pointing this out. Had not read your comment before making the same suggestion in several of my posts. GREAT Movie prospect RIGHT?

  27. I thought they did a good job with the movie. I do think the reaction was a little hasted. The first day, some people may panic but more would be frustrated. Losing power is a normal occurrence for many, especially during storms. The first acts of violence and looting will come after the third or forth day. My wife thought they read my book and that is where they got their blackout idea. I do hope many who watched this movie will take it to heart and prepare a little more for future blackouts. It doesn’t need to be catastrophic. People need to prepare for snow, ice, wind and rain storms that only last a day or two.

  28. the only thing is is that the blackout would only be the beginning. the relief aid could very well be troops invading our country with permission from our unknowing government.

    • Don Russell says:

      Those foreign troops. better LOOK and sound like Americans, and be wearing our uniforms, or they will be shot by the millions. 🙂 This aint somalia, nothing but hopelessly inept, poverty stricken barbarians. A bunch of ignorant Japanse didn’t DARE come here, in 194o’s, WITHOUT the risk of battle field nukes being deployed by some “low level” general. 🙂 Nobody’s coming here, guys. But that doesn’t mean that the economy can’t collapse, etc.

      • Sorry Don, I can’t agree with you. With all the illegal aliens, the left wing radicals that have no clue, and the folks who re-elected the biggest threat to the United States, we are primed for a take over of our country.

      • I disagree with you as well Don,
        Besides, there are a lot of “poverty stricken barbarians” already here in these good ole’ U.S. they don’t have to be other-than-white. Stop using racial tags to define people. We all have it in us to be barbaric under grid-down situations.

        Preparing is what will separate the civilized from the barbarians.

  29. I thought it was quite well done as far as presenting what will happen for the benefit of the currently unprepared. For myself, it reinforced 2 things – stay out of elevators and hunker down for the first 2-3 weeks after SHTF. I have already decided that I will not give up my guns and I will not go to a FEMA camp. I’m a senior and not afraid to die.

    • Don Russell says:

      I agree with the ‘hunker down” thing, but it can’t be above ground, and it won’t be for less than 6 months, either. Sprouting grain and legumes is the best long term, discrete answer to the food problem, along with some cached gill nets, trotlines etc, and cached food. You have to bury at least 3 lbs per day of typical, low cost stuff, like locally grown grain, legumes, etc. That’s 500 lbs, for one person for 6 months. That’s just 2 55 gallon drums.. But proper caching of them, to protect them from moisture and digging animals, doing it all in the dark, without a light, and leaving no “sign”, that’s tough.

  30. I’m glad for the portrayal and most anything like it these days in hopes it serves as a wakeup call, but it was fairly whitewashed on the inner city crime eruption that takes place during such mass disruption. Maybe worse, it depicted a minor fraction of the horror following the power loss imposed by a national or large regional EMP event that would take out (probably…no one knows) 90 plus percent of ALL electronics, virtually all modern vehicles with computerized controls (hence no vehicular emergency response, or way for the responders to get to their stations), some degree of aviation electronics and controls knocked out along with generators, hospital life support systems on generators or not, pace makers, computers, cell phones, communications infrastructures, etc. It’s interesting that the scenario end by the 10th day which is often used as the turning point to savagery, i.e. without food, in 3 days people will steal for food, by the 10th day they’ll kill for food. Consider checking One Second After by William Forstchen, it’s an interesting fictional depiction of an EMP aftermath minus the inner city multipliers. We all hope it will never come but we’ve vulnerable in so many ways it’s all too likely to occur, whether by foreign, domestic, or natural causes, but once again, loss of power is just one form of major disaster. There are worse. Practical preparations for survival is not extremist, it’s prudent. That’s why maritime laws require life rafts and life vests, planes have parachutes, buildings have sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers, and police, fire, and first aid services exist, they too are survival preps…

    • Don Russell says:

      They’ll be killing for other things, much sooner than 10 days, guys. As soon as they see that cops aint responding to alarms, it will be Wild West, and much worse! The gangs will turn out in full force, trying to settle old scores, secure “turf”, etc.

      In 2-3 days, most people will be FORCED to leave towns and cities, due to lack of water. Few will bother to run the “gauntlet” of gun armed people, desperate to take their stuff, back and forth from water to their homes, either. They will either stay near the water, or move on to farms and ranches, to plunder livestock, grain stores, etc. A few will last a week, by tapping into their hot water tanks, etc. But many of those valves will break off when they try to drain the hot water tanks, being corroded. Better have doubled up garbage bags ready to empty them into, with some sort of support for the bags, like clothes baskets and hampers, and something with which to tie off the necks.

      • Don Russell says:

        FIRST thing that you do, any sort of emergency shutdown, is take the handle off of the toilet, and arrange for a latrine in the yard, alley, etc, while you doing that, you need to be filling the sinks and bathtubs with water, IF the pipes still have any! People WILL flush that toilet, out of habit and there went 5 GALLONS of precious water from the flush tank! Food’s a non-issue for at least a week, but people are really stupid about most things.

    • “…planes have parachutes…”

      Uh, what planes might you be referring to?
      I’ve ridden on commercial airliners many times and flown a few private “prop-jobs” too. Commercial airliners often DO have escape “ramps” in the doors that can double as life rafts if needed; they also have seat bottoms that can float.
      I will even note that a private plane manufacturer, Cirrus, I believe, DOES offer a parachute system in some of their airplanes. That is the exception though.

      I’ve never been on a commercial airliner or flown a private plane that possessed a parachute.
      Pilots go through numerous emergency drills to ensure they know how to land a plane in an emergency instead.
      BTW, if the grid DID go down, all the ATC capabilities to separate aircraft would go down, as would the electronics and computers on every plane.
      An EMP might well induce a death toll of better than 50,000 within hours (and by the way, that might be a conservative estimate), if only from planes flying into each other or the ground. I’m sure flight crews would do their level best to separate from each other visually, but the average person can only see so much of outside the plane from the cockpit (flight deck, if you prefer). Visual separation doesn’t help so much when everyone has been moving at better than 300 MPH at 6 or 7 different flight levels.

  31. I’ve been a prepper since before I knew there was a name for it. Growing up in Southern California earthquake country it just made sense to have extra food and water available. I really ramped up my efforts after watching the Katrina/Rita aftermath play out on TV.

    Overall I found the show good for gently nudging the non-prepper in the right direction. If anything I thought it was much too gentle in its treatment of violence, looting, and general lawlessness. In the show it really didn’t pick up until late day 2 and into day 3. I think that in many places there would be rioting and looting the first night.

    I wasn’t too pleased with how the one prepper was portrayed, but it is realistic of how some are I suppose. I did find ironic satisfaction at the end when the boyfriend said to the invading neighbors that they should have prepared. He had changed his tune pretty quickly. It also confirmed my personal perspective that I need to have more people at my bug out location than just myself and my immediate family. There is no way that one adult and a kid can properly secure a location. I have a few friends that will be on board and hope to recruit a few more I can trust over time.

    I was not satisfied with the level of incompetence they showed in the various camps etc. In reality it would have been much worse.

    Overall though I would definitely recommend the show and am glad that they made it.

    • Don Russell says:

      I can’t be bothered to cache anything that goes bad. The drums I buried each have hard winter wheat, molasses, and salt in them. locally grown grain and legumes lose their food value in 2 years, but 50c per lb price (at harvest time) makes them very tempting for many, especially those with large families and room to stash such things. A barn to hide you from prying eyes, with a dirt floor, is pretty nice for such needs. However, it makes you come back to a ‘high risk” place to access your drum. I greatly prefer a thicket, near the top of a hill, and just do the caching by moonlight, with a shaded, “x”‘d out red lensed light, pointed only at the ground, for cleanup activities. Next day, casually walk by and see if you need to return the next night and fix any problems. 🙂

      • granny mae says:

        Don Russel,
        You are going to get mighty sick of eating that for any length of time. If you are going to burry your wheat and grain then do it right. Put it in mylar bags and add some oxygen absorbers and then vacuum seal everything and seal off the bags with a hot iron then put them in the drums and burry them. That way if you have to get them out you can get out one at a time and open only what you need and the rest will stay well sealed and preserved. I suggest you add some dehydrated vegetables and maybe some apples too. Good luck with your endeavors.

  32. Way too tame! People’s behavior in a real SHTF event will far more aggressive than what they portrayed in the doc film.

    However, I hope it got some of the sleepy heads thinking.

    One important point peeps should take aways is the scenario where the family left for their bug out home somewhere in CO..they ended up taking the daughter’s boyfriend.
    This should be the biggest red flag to all of you out there! Know who you hook up with, as one person who ignorant, bleeding heart liberal- tree hugging mush brain, not engaged or knowledgeable of your OPSEC will turn your plans into a complete disaster.

    • Don Russell says:

      are you ready to kill such “hanger’s on” and alienate your daughter, etc by doing so? where you THINK you will hang out, will you slaughter a group of unarmed kids and women who show up and CAN’T just “move on”. ? Stuff like this is why I prefer a very small, dugout shelter, at the local water supply. Just don’t come out in daylight, and your risks of discovery go way down.

      • Don Russell says:

        however, as soon as you take occupancy, you must begin digging a 5 yd or longer ‘extention to the dugout, with another concealed “lid”. you must be able to exit as a surprise, and QUIETLY remove dogs or people at your other entrance. Mousetraps can be rigged with little short pcs of pipe, set to fire a .22lr rd, tied to the lids, so you are awakened by people, BEFORE they toss in the molotov cocktails, pipe bombs, burning brush, etc.

      • Soylent Green says:

        ‘are you ready to kill such “hanger’s on” and alienate your daughter’

        Yep, I would if I had to. Because her getting raped, killed or starving to death is much more important to me than just getting her feelings hurt!

  33. We don’t get extended cable so wondering if there’s a way to watch it online?

  34. The phone company has backup generators for land-line service, and a bank of batteries at each central office (switching center) so land-line service would not go down immediately. The equipment used to get overloaded but so many people have dropped land-line service that it would be as big an issue now so some calls would get through, if both the destination and caller have land-line service. Many large organizations, like cities and hospitals, have gone to VOIP, relying on internet service that would fail in this scenario. That might leave only the one or two standard lines needed for fax and fire alarm systems.

    Unlikely that most hospitals would be able to go 8 days without fuel; some only have 72 hours of fuel on site, expecting a re-supply in a long term outage. Standards have been increased since Katrina. There are exceptions, I was Chief Engineer at a hospital in Nevada that had 60,000 gallons of fuel on hand. There the big issue was keeping it fresh enough to use in the generators (boilers will work with fuel that is past its prime but there is still a limit).

    • Don Russell says:

      every public elevator has an escape hatch/service hatch in its ceiling, each shaft has a ladder for the same reasons. Only the handicapped would stay stuck in an elevator. You WILL, however, need something with which to pry open the doors at the next floor.

  35. Liked the raw facts presented, but some of the scenarios degenerated into the absurd. That the prepper would invite the boyfriend and not immediately drop his fanny on his parents was foolish. That the nurse would abandon her adolescent son at home and not return for 10 days? Pffffft! I’m no electrical engineer, but it seems to me that there would be scores of communities that could get power restored quicker than 10 days. What with the hydroelectric dams, nuclear generating plants, windmill farms that could be dropped off the grid and channeled locally. I wonder how many homes have partial solar or off-grid capability?
    One thing I gleaned for sure is to keep moving forward with my preparations and keep buying ammo!

    • Don Russell says:

      If you need much ammo, post shtf, you are doing so many things wrong that you won’t make it. Not being DETECTED, and not being out in daylight, is 100x better than all the guns, ammo and skill with same in the world. a few hundred rds of centerfire rifle, a few score rds of centerfire pistol, a few thousand rds of .22 (thru silenced guns and for barter). No barter for a year, tho, and you’d better do it by dead drop and message method, so as not to get shot in the back. It will still be a risk that you’ll get blown up, poisoned, catch a disease from them or things they touched.

  36. The Prepper showed that if you try and stand as an individual instead of as a community, you’ll be as dead as the Yuppies living in the high-end condo, sipping wine and waiting for the lights to come on. I also agree that the end was optimistic. They did not show people with chronic illnesses and how they would be impacted. They did not show the elderly living alone or the handicapped. The show had transformers blowing up everywhere, and then 10-days later the lights were coming back on. Not realistic. This said, the show did create dialogue between me and my son, who said, “Dad, maybe we need more preps than we have”. From that perspective, I think the show was a service.

    • You don’t think 10 days is realistic? Come on…look how fast the programmers are fixing the code on Obamacare 🙂

      • Exactly…Transformer manufacture and replacement, for ONE transformer, at the hydro-plant in my town, is NINE MONTHS. There might be places on a map, that might not ever see power again. I don’t own a TV, so I didn’t watch the show. I’m not looking forward to a continental power outage, but on the other hand, I haven’t been fishing in a while either…

    • Don Russell says:

      Maybe, if you are dumb enough to stay above ground, don’t have cached supplies, and don’t know to avoid being out in daylight. There are many cases in history of guys or small groups living alone for years without human contact or resupply. All you have to do for shtf is remain undetected for 6-12 months. Then nearly everyone will be dead, and you can start gathering up the stuff you need. It will by lying around everywhere. Diesel fuel will be everywhere, as will diesel vehicles, generators,, anything else that you need. It will just be a question of moving your base of operations to the nearest military base.

  37. I have one real complaint about the show, and it applies to the entire show. I think they de-emphasized the extreme situation considerably, especially the violence. Experience shows that rioting and looting will likely start immediately, especially when EBT cards do not work. If not immediately, nightfall will bring out the worst. Expecting violence on Day 3 will result in a big unhappy surprise. Finally, expecting the power to come on on Day 10 to give it a happy ending is not going to happen. Too much damage by that time.

    So, too much with the rose colored glasses, but NatGeo probably isn’t going to get too graphic, even if it is more realistic.

    On the preppers at the BOL: there are lessons more important than the personality of the father. His personality was likely the reason that the family had a BOL, since strong-willed people are more likely to take control of their lives and situations than neutral or weak people. I would have kicked the low living crap out of the boyfriend. Or sent him on his way with the people that did not prepare. Harsh of me, I’m sure, but taking care of the unwilling and stupid is why our society is in trouble. He was given the gift of survival and he didn’t care. A pox on him and his family.

    The larger lesson is that this was a family that did not share the same goals. Both the wife and the daughter were passive during the whole thing. Okay, so a teenage girl might not be enthusiastic about prepping, but the wife seemed helpless. She just kept reading her book. Only the kid was enthusiastic about the whole thing. If the family is not on board, prepping will likely fail.

    There was no commitment to defense. When the husband was captured, the whole family should have come out of the bunker, armed and dangerous, and willing to kill to defend the family member and supplies. Extreme? So was the situation.

    Taking the boyfriend with them to the BOL was another lesson to learn, but I would probably have done the same thing. That being said, bringing uncommitted, or even opposed, people into the group at the last minute has a lot of risk. A lot. Preppers should spend a lot of time thinking about and discussing, since most of us think about taking friends and family that are not preppers, or worse, are oppose the idea of prepping.

    Still, I think the show had more value than most preppers think. People can watch it again and make notes on what not to do. Life will be hard without electricity.

    end of rant

    • Great points, Scott.

      I can armchair quarterback what the father did when he confronted the looters, but it was a no-win situation.

      Tactically, he could have tried to get into a defensible position and take them all out…but since he would have been defending property and not another life, that would have been murder.

      More than likely, he would not have taken them all out and then they’d have the luxury of laying siege on the compound, waiting, and taking advantage of whatever opportunities presented themselves.

      The boyfriend was a game-ender. The wife and daughter not being on board were HUGE obstacles. But those are unfortunate realities that a lot of people face. In light of that, what would you have done differently (before or during the event) with limited/no additional resources to change the outcome?

      • Dans-in-CO says:

        I’m in that boat. My wife uses our prep supply as her convenience store.
        I encourage her to use dated items, but toilet paper, paper towels and
        dish soap do not have expiration dates! After she saw what happened in
        grocery stores after our local Colorado floods, I thought she was on
        board, but no indication of that so far. I expect her to be more of a
        liability than an asset if it all comes crashing down, but I said
        “for better or worse, for richer or poorer….”

        • granny mae says:

          I understand where you are coming from! I was a bit like your wife at one time too and then my husband put his foot in my a– and down and said woman this is it, don’t do that again. You see we did replace the foods that are used but we didn’t replace the paper products so they were gone and it was quite an expense to gather them up again. Actually my husband sat me down and talked to me sternly and then told me that if we didn’t get this under control, the time would come when I would be forced to use a rag or wash cloth and that did not appeal to me so I stopped what I was doing and tried to be more helpful. lol !

        • Get her into couponing and she’ll (unknowingly, most probably) help in your prepping. You can legally get a lot of free stuff from ethical couponing, and never under estimate the rush you can get from it. It can be addictive (and that’s a GOOD thing). Find any couponing newsletter that lists everything on sale, what store and where to get the coupons (newspaper or printable) and you’ll be on business. I’ve saved a *lot* of money with couponing and that makes me very happy!

    • Joseph Bons says:

      I believe that the whole event was under played by Nat. Geo. especially the violence and looting. The biggest lessons that can be learned is that since most preppers are going it alone it leaves a huge gap in security especially against multiple intruders. I personally believe that there needs to be a way for fellow preppers to network and join together for mutual safety and security.

      • granny mae says:

        Joseph Bons you have a very good idea there.
        I did not see the show but I can see that it has stirred a lot of thought in people and seemed to be a good indication to some that will become preppers as to what they need to do. I have always been of the thought that we should be ready for all problems that could come our way. We can’t prep for everything but we sur can be ready for a lot more than we are. People just don’t act until the SHTF on any warning, be it a storm, or terrorism or anything. By that time it is too late. They always seem to think that uncle Sam will take care of them, maybe he will but it isn’t going to be as good as you would take care of yourself. I hope more people will start to prep today because of watching this show.

  38. David,
    My impression was that, if anything, the people depicted in the movie acted a lot more civil toward each other than would happen in reality. I think after just a few hours things would start getting violent as people realized that their debit/credit/SNAP (food stamp) cards were no longer working. I did smile at the ‘broadcasts’ that were keeping ‘we the audience’ informed but wondered who really would have been able to hear or see the broadcasts since no one had power to watch a TV. Radio? Yes! TV? Probably not unless some one had backup power and a TV antenna and could get an analog station as the digital cable networks would have most likely went down with the power. Ham Radio has some TV capabilities, but it is not set up nor authorized for general broadcasts. I also think that the problem of human waste disposal was grossly (pun intended) overlooked. The lack of potable water and functioning toilets is mentioned but seemingly only in passing – but by 10 days without functioning toilets and water to wash, most places in the cities would have been almost uninhabitable due to the lack of sanitation. Also those problems are multiplied to the ones stuck in elevators.
    Overall, I felt that it did depict responses and situations that would be actually played out, from the clueless high rise residents, to the bands of people taking matters of their survival into their own hands. However, I think that this depicted a very mild PG rated look at a scenario that would rapidly become X-rated due to gore and violence.

    • Survival Diva says:


      I was right there with you…people wouldn’t have been able to watch the broadcasters on TV, but radio would’ve been possible for some. I also was asking myself the same question about the non-flushing toilets. I suppose it was left out because even though we address it here because it MUST be prepared for before an emergency, the producers couldn’t get around such a stinky subject…

      • The movie did not touch upon what I feel would have been one of the greatest ‘fear factors’ of such an event, which is the lack of knowing what was really happening. One of the reasons I feel that law and order would have broken down faster than depicted is that most every form of communication that people regularly depend on would have been out of commission. The vast majority of Americans would NOT HAVE KNOWN what was happening once the grid was down and uncertainty plays on people’s minds. It would have been the worst on the East coast as that grid was the first to fail. The Texas grid users could have had some warning and the some of the West Coast grid users probably would have some idea there was a nationwide failure as there was a few hours delay between the grids going down. But the idea of the ‘unknown’ happening around them is very frightening to many people. The newscasters and the President’s/FEMA’s instructions would not have been heard unless someone was listening to a battery powered ( e.g. a car radio) or a hand cranked radio.
        I think that many people would have first become angry over their loss of phone/facebook/twitter/text/computer based forms of communication. This anger would also be fueled by the other inconveniences caused by the power outage (dark buildings, traffic lights out, no electronic purchases). Then after a short while, panic would start to set as people who cannot make contact their friends and family begin to realize how alone they are without the communication assets that everyone takes for granted today.

        • stormylex says:

          I agree that lack of communications will be the worst to handle, to be without “news” visual or audio. I am a “news junkie”…must have the tv on to listen for the “National Broadcasting Alert System” I grew up listening for. Silence in the house is not permitted. Talk radio must be on if not the tv. Yes having “windup” or solar radios on hand during disaster is the thing but…. those folks (news outlets) may not be able to broad cast their own signals after the generators run out of fuel. Unless a station is farsighted enough to maybe have solar energy protected from an EMP via Faraday Cage Properties; the “silence will be deafening”.

      • James McDonald says:

        The 5/6 gallon bucket with toilet lid(those round edges are sharp), you can buy the lids for about $12.00, well worth avoiding the ring around you bottom and the sores that can come with repeated use.

    • Left Coast Chuck says:

      Unless they have significant back up power, radio stations will be off the air too. A 50,000 watt station. Ever hear that term? Ever think about how much juice a 50,000 watt station requires?

      If it is an EMP event that causes the grid to go down, I believe radio stations will join the cascade. During the EMP in the 19th century, telegraph stations were significantly impacted and they were a lot simpler than any radio station today.

      • That’s true. An EMP event, as you mention, would have been much worse than just the cyber-attack situation shown in this program. At least in the cyber-attack scenario (as presented in this program) people with back-up generators, solar panels, battery powered receiver-only and two way radios, etc., would not have been affected. With an EMP attack, any thing that depends on some electrical device or part including vehicles with electronic ignitions or on-board computers, and which is not secured within a good Faraday cage or some deep sub-basement parking lot, would stand a good chance of being compromised and rendered unusable by the pluse.

        As things stand today, most all radio stations have some back up power capabilities, generally in the form of diesel generators, because areas do experience local power outages due to storms, etc. However the stations could not continuously broadcast around the clock for more than a few days because of fuel storage constraints.
        However, in the case of regional and national emergencies, some government emergency plans call for certain designated stations to curtail broadcasting except for certain times in order to for them to conserve power and fuel. Their broadcasts would then be limited to emergency instructions to the people in the affected regions.

        Or course, in a cyber attack scenario such as the one depicted in the program, people with shortwave capability could tune into the BBC and other stations broadcasting from outside the USA to obtain their information. In an EMP event that may not be possible.

        Multiple EMP events (such as from nuclear weapons) could cut off communication even from other nations depending on which global locations are targeted, as could a possible solar generated EMP burst such as the Carrington Event in 1859. EMP is much worse as it not only cuts off the power but actually damages the components inside the affected electrical equipment requiring components to be replaced.

    • granny mae says:

      Many people don’t have a clue as to what to do if they can’t use their toilet. Women especially and little children have to be considered. This is one idea to consider. shut the water off to the toilet and flush it so all the water is gone. Then line the toilet with a white plastic garbage bag. Place a few scoops of kitty litter in the bottom of the bag and it is ready to use. After each use place a little more kitty litter on the top. When the bag is as full as can be used then take it out and replace it with another one and dispose of the full bag in a hole dug in the ground or in a garbage pail. You can also use a utility shed and just put a hole in the floor and a porta potty over the top of it and again use kitty litter. You will have your own out house! Just make sure you dig the hole uner the porta potty big enough and deep enough so you won’t have to move it every week ! Just a couple suggestions and I’m sure ya’ll can come up with many more ideas.

      • granny mae says:

        Another thing , if you live in an apartment you need to immediately plug your bath tub drain and toilet etc. because the rest of the people in the building are going to be real stupid and keep using their toilets and before long it will back up and come into your house through the drains and then you won’t be able to live there because of the smell and sanitation ! When I say plug I mean tightly, tightly plugged !

        • Survival Diva says:

          granny mae,

          Great advice about plugging the tub drain! The idea of using a plastic bag and using kitty litter in a toilet is an excellent approach…never thought of it, but it would work, especially for children who don’t always adapt to change easily. Your idea would work for a cheap, $15-$20 camp toilet also.

  39. I felt really sorry everyone that went through all of the suffering that was portrayed by in the documentary. I pray that this nation never has to experience anything like this documentary. Unfortunately, I am afraid we are going to experience some form of this suffering in the near future. It is going to be a very unpleasant time.

  40. I thought the beginning was realistic and it even impressed those I know who are not believers in this happening. I wasn’t happy with the way the prepper was portrayed. I didn’t like the ending. It was just too simplistic. They seemed to say, “don’t worry folks, just store a couple weeks of food and water and we will come in and make everything ok”. After it ended I ask friends if it made them feel they should rush out and buy more water (it did me). They said no. I think if it had a more realistic ending it might have persuaded the people who need to start prepping.

  41. professorcbt says:

    The show was dead on to the reality of panic during a crisis. The most impressive issue was how it showed how being prepared is not something that should be taken lightly.
    The family of the “prepper’s” let”s us know that it has to be a team endeavour. Every individual of the team has to be on the same page. Bottom line…”United We Stand…Decided We Fall!!!”

  42. I found your blog a short time ago and while not a true prepper, per se, I grew up on a well and knew to have food and water for 24-72 hours.

    The post is a good summary of the show. It was difficult to watch since it made me antsy.

    While they might take guns and ammo from people, they can’t take away your hands and feet. That’s why I’ve learned and now teach self defense. We should all learn how to use easy to find weapons (bo staff, escrima sticks, etc.).

  43. GoneWithTheWind says:

    They “necessarily” underplayed the part minority violence would play in something like this. Like the Sunni vs Shia violence in the Middle East whenever the rule of law is absent or weak. There will be those who will see this as an opportunity to exact revenge regardless of real right or wrong. Anyone know if those gangbangers in the South Central LA King riots were ever brought to justice? If not would yu be wrong in thinking that would be the result of the next big riot too?

    • I’m not so sure they necessarily intentionally underplayed the possible role of minority violence. When they developed this, I suspect they approached it like most of us: a generalized view of how Americans live their lives. Sadly, such generalized views often reflect neither the best nor the worst that parts of the nation might have to offer. For identity politics and whatnot to play a role, someone would need to deal with such concerns on a daily basis, or near enough to it. I suspect most people who work for National Geographic don’t live in those neighborhoods.

      In other words, they probably didn’t attempt to downplay it, they probably simply didn’t think of it; they didn’t have enough cynicism of imagination.


  1. […] American Blackout: Made for TV, American Blackout follows the lives of ordinary Americans caught in a national power failure brought on by cyber attack.  It portrays the lives of several individuals , reflecting their carelessness, frailties and the hardship that being unprepared for grid-down can bring as individuals cope with bank and communication failures, empty grocery shelves, and lack of water that quickly leads to looting.  There is one survivalist portrayed in American Blackout, which the movie unfortunately portrays as being as dumb as a bag of rocks, but it’s an excellent wake-up call for the dynamics of what we should expect from the multitudes of “entitled” people who are going to become a Prepper’s biggest obstacle to ongoing survival.  This made for TV drama was realistic enough that we devoted a post to the multi-faceted plot entitled American Blackout: The Devil’s In The Details . […]

  2. […] comments about the National Geographic movie, American Blackout >HERE<, unveiled difficult issues that are directly related to survival; the first being that no […]

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