Grid-Down Now Has A Whole New Meaning

Welcome to this week’s newsletter, brought to you by the SURVIVE IN PLACE Urban Survival Course.  The first, and still best, guide to get you prepared to survive short and medium term disasters in your current home, whether it’s because of a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or pandemic.  To learn more, go >HERE< now.

I have to admit that until David included the FYI in last week’s post that Russia has held an “off switch” to America’s  power transmission grids, water distribution and filtration systems, oil and gas pipelines, wind turbines and some nuclear plants, I was clueless.  And most American’s will never know because the media appears to have developed sudden-onset amnesia on the matter.

(David’s note:  This is exactly the kind of behavior that is highlighted throughout the book “Election” by Former Force Recon Marine, Chris Graham.  In short, the grid and the economic warfare discussed are just the tip of the iceberg that Graham dives into in the book.  To learn more now, get it on Amazon by going >HERE<

On November 6, 2014 ABC News Radio blew the whistle with the article, ‘Trojan Horse’ Bug Lurking In Vital US Computers Since 2011.   Here is the article in its entirety:

(WASHINGTON) — A destructive “Trojan Horse” malware program has penetrated the software that runs much of the nation’s critical infrastructure and is poised to cause an economic catastrophe, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

National Security sources told ABC News there is evidence that the malware was inserted by hackers believed to be sponsored by the Russian government, and is a very serious threat.

The hacked software is used to control complex industrial operations like oil and gas pipelines, power transmission grids, water distribution and filtration systems, wind turbines and even some nuclear plants. Shutting down or damaging any of these vital public utilities could severely impact hundreds of thousands of Americans.

DHS said in a bulletin that the hacking campaign has been ongoing since 2011, but no attempt has been made to activate the malware to “damage, modify, or otherwise disrupt” the industrial control process. So while U.S. officials recently became aware the penetration, they don’t know where or when it may be unleashed.

DHS sources told ABC News they think this is no random attack and they fear that the Russians have torn a page from the old, Cold War playbook, and have placed the malware in key U.S. systems as a threat, and/or as a deterrent to a U.S. cyber-attack on Russian systems — mutually assured destruction.

The hack became known to insiders last week when a DHS alert bulletin was issued by the agency’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team to its industry members. The bulletin said the “BlackEnergy” penetration recently had been detected by several companies.

DHS said “BlackEnergy” is the same malware that was used by a Russian cyber-espionage group dubbed “Sandworm” to target NATO and some energy and telecommunications companies in Europe earlier this year.

Analysis of the technical findings in the two reports shows linkages in the shared command and control infrastructure between the campaigns, suggesting both are part of a broader campaign by the same threat actor,” the DHS bulletin said.

The hacked software is very advanced. It allows designated workers to control various industrial processes through the computer, an iPad or a smart phone, sources said. The software allows information sharing and collaborative control.

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We May Not Be Able To Avert A Cyber Attack, But We Can Prepare For It!

It’s possible that we won’t be confronted with a meltdown of the nation’s infrastructure in the foreseeable future.  The U.S. has substantial resources and it doesn’t seem like a stretch to believe we’d be ready, willing and able to return the favor of a cyber attack, maybe volleying back with a few twists and jabs just to turn the screw a little tighter.  It’s possible that’s why life as we know it has continued for the past three years.

However, we Preppers aren’t known for waiting until after a problem pops up before we prepare for it, and the potential for life as we know it to disappear without a “Dear John” letter fits the realm of possibility and certainly qualifies as a reason to prepare.

Where To Start

To get a grasp of what it would mean if the nation was rudely unplugged from the grid is best done by living it, to take it for a test run so to speak.  No cheating.  No turning on a faucet or using the toilet or surfing the web or sneaking a peek at texts. . . just bare bones, grid down survival for a week or a weekend.  Maybe some of you have already pulled the plug on electricity, running water, electronics, natural gas and communications.  There is an increasing number of folks who have gone off grid.   If that’s you, I hope you’ll share your experiences, so the rest of us currently addicted to modern conveniences can learn.

(David’s note:  I’d easily estimate that 100,000+ families have gone through this exercise since I first started encouraging people to do so in the SurviveInPlace Urban Survival Course.  If you have done it, please share your experiences below.  If you haven’t done it, please go >HERE< to get the course and go through the exercise ASAP.

Living grid-down, if only for a short while, will accomplish two things; it will prepare you for the real deal, where there is no going back, and it will unearth any holes in your preparedness plan while there is still time to come up for air and make the necessary improvements.

So, What Could Go Wrong During A Grid-Down Test Run?

Water

You may discover that your water storage won’t get you by.  If you have the problem of limited storage space, it is especially important to have already located a water source and have the means to transport it (water containers and a hand cart if you must transport water for a long distance–it’s heavy!), and to have the ability to purify water through a quality water purifier, or by boiling, or purification tablets, or iodine, or sunlight.  However you choose to purify water, it should always be assumed that open water sources during grid-down is tainted and must be purified.  Not everyone will practice common sense.  Some idiots may even decide to use waterways as a refuse dump.

Lighting

Have you stored a sufficient amount of emergency candles, oil for oil lamps, propane or kerosene for lanterns, and do you have solar lighting in place for long term grid-down that exhausts your fuel supply?  Even a short weekend spent pulled from the plug will reveal just how important it is to have redundant backups for critical goods!

And don’t forget to take an inventory of what flashlights and rechargeable batteries you have on hand, and if you have a solar battery charger, it’s a good time to take it for a test run to verify it still works.  Don’t have any of these?  It may be time to add them to your prep list.

Even when you have lighting needs covered, there remains the issue of making sure that you don’t advertise your preparedness unless you want to host a block party with all your neighbors who may or may not want to leave.   Do you have blackout fabric or dark lawn and leaf trash bags to cover the windows of living spaces?  What about duct tape to secure it?  You’ll need plenty, and when you feel you have enough. . . buy more!

And , there is always a need for matches and lighters to get those lanterns and candles lit.  Do you have a good supply?

Heating

If you live in a cold climate zone and don’t have a wood-burning stove and a storage of seasoned firewood, practicing a grid-down drill won’t be possible now that most northern zones have seen the mercury drop like a led balloon.  Here in North Idaho, we’re seeing overnight temperatures in the teens and Wednesday night, a bone-chilling, take-no-prisoners 8 degrees.   If you haven’t gotten around to installing a wood stove, you really should.  Craigslist is a good place to start if you are on a budget.  Just remember to figure in the cost of installation, stovepipe and a roof kit.  If you plan on installing a wood-burning device yourself, make sure to follow code, which includes the type of wood-burning stove that is allowed in your state.

(David’s note:  It’s harder, but you CAN do a modified grid-down drill, no matter what the temperature is.  I’d suggest it, in fact.  Last year, we lost power several times, but they all happened when the temperature was well below freezing.  You can either drain your pipes for a realistic experience or set your furnace to the lowest possible setting to keep the house above freezing, but no more.  The second method will be more comfortable, but the first method will expose problems now…when you can actually do something about them…rather than later when you can’t.  The Survive In Place course also goes into detail on how to create warm micro-climates in your house, regardless of how big and cold it might be.)

Food & Alternative Cooking

A grid-down practice run is an excellent time to make sure that you have at least a two to three week food supply easily available.  It’s true that for just a weekend or even a week-long practice run, organizing a two to three weeks food supply is overkill, but this exercise is meant to add a measure of safety for later, that should a nuclear event or heavy looting occur, you can remain in your home for an extended period of time.  (If you’ve got questions on this, the FastestWayToPrepare.com course walks people through the process of getting 6 weeks of survival food that you’ll actually want to eat for less than $2 per person per day…and a 6 week supply for 2 people will fit in 3 small stackable plastic bins.  To learn more, go >HERE<)

Practice cooking on the alternative cooking device you’ve chosen and keep track of the amount of fuel that is uses.  You may discover that you consume more fuel than you anticipated, and that’s okay.  It’s a heads-up that is much better to discover during a practice run than later when fuel may be difficult or impossible to find.

When you fire up your alternative cooking device to cook indoors, you may discover that the ventilation situation leaves a lot to be desired.  If so, skip cooking and go directly to MRE’s and canned food, which can be eaten directly from the can if need be.  Just remember to check seals and look for bulging tops and bottoms on the cans, and when in doubt, toss it!

If you haven’t put aside battery-run carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarms, why not get a few before a grid-down practice run? You now you need them. . .

Communications

Do you have an emergency radio?  If not, spending a few days without contact with the outside world will make it abundantly clear why having the means to know what’s going on locally and across the nation during a crisis is critical information.

And when nature calls, and thoughts of societal breakdown makes venturing outdoors a whole lot more interesting, the need for two-way radios and the batteries they require may suddenly become a top priority.

Hygiene

Speaking of making a nature call, the need for a simple $20.00 camp toilet will suddenly become clear if you stick to a grid down scenario!  They are a necessity for those middle-of-the-night nature calls, especially when children are involved.  While you make this grid-down practice run, another item that may need to be added to your prep list is a shovel, either a folding shovel, or regular shovel will do, but the folding style is user-friendly if your plans involve bugging out should your vicinity experience out of control looting and violence.

Laundry will need to be hand washed and hung dry.  Do you have a laundry tub, a hand agitator, clothesline and clothespins?  If not, the need for them will soon become clear as dirty laundry piles up and the washing machine and dryer is temporarily out of commission.

Depending upon your capacity for water storage and procurement, it may become clear that sponge baths may need to replace bathing for the most part, but even then, body soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, dental floss, shampoo, razors, shave cream and feminine products will be needed.  Do you have enough put aside for protracted grid-down?

Check Life Blessons for a simple, inexpensive recipe to make your own shampoo from baking soda, water, and if you like, rosemary.  It will save on storage space, and with a sufficient supply of baking soda, you’re good to go!

Body soap doesn’t require a lot of space to store and it’s cheap, but if you’re interested in making your own with pure Castile bar soap, water and glycerin, go to Tried & True for instructions to make a natural Homemade Body Wash.

Toothpaste can be replaced with baking soda, and there are some interesting alternatives to the high cost and storage demands of feminine products.  Read about one solution at The JB Bardot Archives.

Medical Supplies

Hopefully, you will not have to dig into medical supplies during a grid-down practice drill, but you might as well take an inventory to be sure you have the basics covered, which should include a thorough emergency medical reference book.  Down time may be a reminder about CPR and medical training courses that have been put off that need to be kicked into gear!

Tactical

A grid down practice run will definitely be a reminder of the need for self-defense.  There will be no avoiding the need to patrol property during a societal meltdown.  Now is a good time to have a conversation amongst adult family members or members of a group on how intruders will be treated provided you haven’t already.  It must be a plan that everyone agrees with. . . debating the issue while a looter is approaching your door can cost lives!  Take inventory of the weapons you have and make a list of what can be improved upon.

Entertainment

We don’t live life in a bubble, and although a real-life crisis will require a heavier workload than most of us are used to, there will be occasional down time.  When you unplug from the grid, even for a short time, it will become crystal clear that when the TV, Internet, play stations, texting and phone conversations aren’t available to fill down time, we’ll need something to replace these popular American pastimes.  In fact, you’re likely to find yourself spending family time together! A practice grid-down drill will offer time to discuss what entertainment alternatives might be on peoples wish list, and I’ll bet that books, board games, crafting, and outdoor activities will be a few of the favorites.

Have you done a grid-down practice run yet?  If so, did it reveal any necessary improvements that needed to be made?  Please sound off by commenting below!

God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. For body wash, I use rubbing alcohol (70%) applied to a wet wash cloth. For tooth pain, I take garlic capsules to stop the spreading infection, and put clove oil drops on a Q-tip and dab around the affected area. Those work very well. Colloidal Silver liquid is great to have on hand. It kills bacteria and some viruses for me. I gave it to my toy poodle to stop bad breath and to save her teeth. It worked very well, and she lived to be 18-years old, and still had most of her teeth. To stop “athlete’s foot” I use vapor rub, and for toe nail fungus, I use tea tree oil. If I had a wood stove, I would always put a pan of water on it for some free humidity. It is great for the sinuses and also makes one feel warmer.

  2. Grandma Joyce says:

    We did a 7 ½ yr practice run with no electric, no phone, no running water and 18 mi from the nearest town. These are the things that we learned:
    1) The world does not stop turning just because the amenities aren’t available.
    2) Use of daylight hours MUST be prioritized (gives new meaning to ‘wasting daylight’)
    3) Special care and due diligence with health related matters is vital.
    4) Learn the work-arounds that used to be common in the old days.
    a) cooking can be done without a stove (fire, solar, etc)
    b) refrigeration can be accomplished using natural resources (evaporative, water immersion and my favorite winter weather)
    c) water can be hauled or collect rain water (water discipline is a whole subject by itself, but general rule of thumb is that it should do at least three jobs before it is poured on the garden)
    d) get candles or kerosene lamps for night use (or better yet go to bed)
    e) heat with solar or wood fire or combo
    f) food preservation can be done with root cellars, canning, dehydrating (used a window screen hung above the wood stove)
    g) cleaning involved a good working relation with the broom and rags for scrubbing using natural cleaners you make yourself from what’s available.
    5) Learn ordinary daily skills (This list is endless but very much a must do if you are going to make do. Short list for examples and to stimulate ideas and definitely not everything you need to know)
    a) make your own (EVERYTHING)
    b) wash laundry manually (UV disinfection is a freeby)
    c) making those clothes and blankets
    d) animal husbandry
    e) butchering
    f) gardening
    g) hunting
    h) know the local wild herbs and edibles
    i) home remedies for any and all wounds and sicknesses
    j) cloth diapers have many uses other than a baby’s bottom
    k) learn the shortest route where ever you are going (you will be doing a lot of walking)

    Anyone want to guess why 30 yr olds looked 60 yrs old? It is not an impossible life, but it is a hard one. When you look at any individual skill it is not insurmountable. To survive a person definitely needs to be a ‘Jack of ALL trades’ and not specialized as today’s people have become. And being 18 miles from town drove home the need to plan ahead as you weren’t going to run to the store for a supper ingredient. Getting into town 3 or 4 times a year gave new perspective on what a treat that could be.

    Save your sanity and gather books you don’t mind reading and re-reading and re-reading. And in your spare time home schooling needs to be done. That home schooling is not limited to the 3 R’s if they are to follow the life style that will be required in ‘grid-down’.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Grandma Joyce,
      I’ve got to say that you have a book here that many would want to read. So much information that not many understand.. . the reality vs. planning for grid down. I appreciate your sharing this info!

      • Grandma Joyce says:

        I have been told by several that a book might be taken from that time in my life. Don’t know about that so much as I do know that when the lights go out I know what will need to be done. I am always ready to teach any serious students. And that is one big ace for me if I ever need to barter .
        You are correct in the comparison of reality vs. planning. Having lived the reality I have definitely applied it to my current preps. 🙂

    • Anyone know where you can buy cloth diapers???(no,I don’t sew,failed classes 3 yrs
      in that’). Suprisingly,my 21 yr old Grandson and wife would like to try using them for
      baby comming. (guess not all young ones are lazy’). Have looked all over,can’t find
      them to buy’ Help will be appreciated’

      • Survival Diva says:

        Hipockets,
        I found the best price at Walmart for diapers and rubber pants. Had a problem locating diaper pins until I found them online at Toys R Us. Hope this helped : )

  3. Joseph-Lee Morehouse says:

    Hello part of my group are older persons who been throw the cold war days and they have been saying we are heading into another round of chilly relations with Russia and they are saying , this time a real conflict or war could happen with less restraint from the east or west basic on all the new elements at play world wide , social,economic,globe power structures have change , even climatic change. , is adding to this structure of madness.
    My group is still busy with the last of fall canning for this year but with holidays just around the corners huge saving on all kinds of items needed for preppers, Check out Turkey and ham sales buy 2 or 3 canned the meat add to the preps.
    I came across this report that was release by the our government military it worth a look.
    National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.

  4. It’s coming and a lot worse, the Bible say’s this. We have the weakest President now than ever in History and our enemies will take advantage of it, that’s why Putin told Americans to keep their gun’s, we alone are not going to stop him without a military, if the Muslin’s don’t take over first and they have a good start, but God will destroy them off the face of the earth, the non-believing Muslin’s. But there will be a lot of suffering (it almost makes me want to laugh when these pastors and their flock think that they will be out of here, the Rapture, but not until Christ comes back shall we meet him in the clouds), there will just be 144,000 left in Israel to preach the Gospel, the rest will be killed or made slaves of.
    May God Have Mercy on our Soul’s

  5. If you don’t have a clothesline– nor anywhere to string one…. you can hang your wet clothes on plastic hangers to dry. Or, of course, do the “roll it up in a towel, and squeeze” trick.

    Both are a good way to dry clothes that really shouldn’t be put through a dryer even when one is available, too. And even clothes that are tagged “machine dry” will last look nice longer if air dried (they get “beat up” and fade in the dryer).

  6. It is a scary scenario but what makes it worse to me is that our so called government does nothing to have a backup system designed to run independent of the internet and computers so that it cannot be hacked. I am not saying it is easy but certainly worth attempting.

  7. Thanks to David’s Survive In Place course, we are well prepared in almost every area covered here. We have emergency radios but no two-way radios. One type of preparation not addressed is barter items. These can be helpful for other people in addition to maintaining good relationships with neighbors and others. One source of travel sized soaps, shampoos, and lotions has been business trips with hotel stays. Dollar stores are another source of inexpensive barter items.

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