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American Blackout

Categories: General, Natural Disasters, Preparedness

By Kristen Nordlund

This Sunday night there might be a few things vying for your attention – it’s Game 4 of the World Series, the Packers face the Vikings, and there’s a new episode of The Walking Dead. In addition to sports and the undead, the National Geographic Channel is debuting a movie about what happens when the lights go out. Literally.

American Blackout chronicles five groups of people during a ten-day power outage caused by cyber criminals.  How realistic is this scenario? Considering that since 2000 there have been more than 60 wide-scale power outages, including one in India lasting two days and affecting 670 million people, and it might not seem so far-fetched.

Although “American Blackout” may seem like an extreme example, many areas of the country have already experienced blackouts (like the Northeast blackout in 2003 that lasted up to 3 days for some areas) or other places like California that experience controlled blackouts (when a utility company shuts off power to an area).  Many areas experience blackouts after natural disasters like hurricanes or extreme weather.  Either way, being without power to control the lights, charge your phone, and use every day household appliances like the refrigerator or the heat, could become an emergency situation.  This is where being prepared can come in handy.

Nearly half of U.S. adults do not have the resources or plans in place in the event of an emergency.  So take this opportunity to check out the resources CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response have put together on what you can do during an emergency. In order to make sure viewers have information about how to be prepared in the event of a blackout, CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response and National Geographic Channel worked together to provide important personal preparedness messages that will appear during the movie.

Thanks to this joint effort, CDC is providing tips on how everyone can get prepared by getting a kit, making a plan, and being informed.  First, put together a kit with water, food, and other supplies like medications, copies of personal documents, sanitation and personal hygiene products and more.  Second, make a plan with your family or friends in case something happens.  Third, be informed by learning how to shelter in place, understand what kinds of emergencies you should be prepared for in your area and make sure you know to manage stress during emergencies.  

A wise man once said, ”Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.” Okay, so that wise man was Albus Dumbledore, but the point is if the power is out, it’s best to be prepared. Visit CDC’s preparedness website for more information and to get started.

Public Comments

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this blog is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

  1. October 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm ET  -   C. Bustamante

    I had power outrage for more than two weeks. My family and I, had to change all our routines including our meals. We generally eat everything from scratch and since my refrigerator din’t work, I had to buy already made food. It was a disaster, finantially, health related, psychologically and emotionally.

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  2. October 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm ET  -   MS

    How do people who have not prepare. Right now alone we are looking at people having there food stamps cut. There are millions of people with out job’s and a lot of home less in the first place. I find its hard to be prepared when you can hardly keep your head above water in the first place. So were do we go how do we get prepared??

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