The Austrian government has published a guide to “take precautions in the event of a Europe-wide power, infrastructure and supply failure.”
The Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence
Do you have a plan “B?
Plan “B” stands for “blackout.” It means a prolonged power, infrastructure and utility outage across Europe where suddenly nothing works. More than many people realize, our lives depend to a large extent on an intact energy supply. This is even more true in urban areas than in rural areas.
Experts expect a blackout within the next five years.
How do you recognize a Power Outage?
- Check your own power supply (RCD switch in the fuse box).
- Check your surroundings (neighbors’ lights, street lights).
- Check the accessibility of other people (cell phone, landline phone, internet)
- Check the traffic radio (Ö3, radio) to see if tunnels need to be closed.
What to Expect?
It is expected to take at least one day for power to be restored throughout Austria. For all of Europe, it is expected to take about a week. But that’s not all. It will take several more days before cell phones, landline phones and the Internet are working again. This is the only way to restore the supply of essential goods to a large extent.
The most important thing is to remain calm. Act in a considered and planned manner.
What will no be longer Working?
All networked infrastructures that depend on the power supply, such as:
- Telephones, cell phones, internet, ATMs, payment systems.
- Gas stations, traffic lights, tunnels, etc.
- Rail transport, many means of public transport, elevators, freight elevators, freight elevators.
- This also means that the supply of food, hygiene items or medicines is interrupted.
- In some cases, problems with water supply and sewage disposal can also be expected. In the
- household, lighting, refrigerators and most heating systems are affected. Emergency calls can no longer be made.
What will be working?
Only what you have prepared and is actually available. External help is not possible. Purchasing also will stop because technical systems fail and logistics collapse.
So what could be useful and helpful?
- Battery-powered radio (car radio!)
- Flashlights or headlamps (with enough spare batteries)
- Candles, lighters, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors
- Water (2 liters per person per day; 3-5 days), beverages, tea, coffee
- Shelf-stable food for 2 weeks (pasta, rice, canned food…)
- Basic medicines for 2 weeks, first aid kit
- Toiletries, garbage bags, adhesive tapes, cable ties
- Gas stove, grill, fuel paste
- Cash in small bills and coins
- Sleeping bags, blankets, warm clothes
- Games, notebooks, pens
- The car should always have at least half a full tank of gas.
- Think about what you need to make ends meet for two weeks. What special needs are there in your household (small children, pets, grooming, etc.)? Also, it’s important to use up refrigerated items quickly so they don’t spoil.
Plan as if it were a two-week camping trip from the comfort of your home.
What should be done right away?
Together with family and friends, consider what problems may arise and what possible solutions can be prepared.
Some examples include:
- Secure storage for 2 weeks
- Conduct a first aid course
- Arrange a place to meet if no means of communication works (e.g., for children at school or at another location outside the home).
- Team up with your neighbors and share specific resources or look for people who need help.
What happens after a Power Outage?
No one knows exactly what will happen after a power outage. What is certain, however, is that we will not return to our usual “daily routine” anytime soon.
The important thing is that we can only overcome such a crisis together and that it is up to each and every one of us to cope with the serious consequences of a power outage.
This starts with precautions and continues with mutual aid in the event of a crisis. So get organized in the neighborhood and in the community!