The Effects Of Long Term Power Outage: To Help You Understand How To Prepare For It

Long Term Power Outage

There are various painful effects of long term power outage that can be felt for a long time, even after the power comes back on. When in or around cities, there are special consequences during power outages. Most urban and suburban locations are very highly dependent on uninterrupted electricity. Finding alternative energy sources it will be vital.

Several areas that electricity can directly impact include:

– Transportation systems can go into mayhem.

– Water supply systems shut down

– Communication stations go off. Therefore you can’t call the police, an ambulance, police, etc.

– Surveillance and security resources can be temporarily knocked down which  could prompt rising crime rates.

– Refrigerators shut down and food goes bad.

Additional wide spread effects of long term power outage include:

Also read: Four Easy Ways to Heat Your House Without Electricity


As is experienced any time traffic lights stop functioning, the traffic flow slows down and becomes dangerous. People become flustered also rushed. Individuals will try to behave responsibly and politely when crossing traffic lights that aren’t functioning. But it only  takes a handful of irresponsible or impatient people to cause collisions.

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Minor, rural areas affected by a power outage for a limited time normally pose very small risk. However, larger areas that are affected by blackouts can have much greater effects on traffic congestion. Think of how a single car accident at one intersection affects traffic in many directions and for considerable distances. Add to this the frustration of slow moving traffic.

Increase in aggressive also risky behavior generally increases number of collisions, which has a snow-balling effect causing more frustration.

Running Water

Most locations in most suburban areas don’t have any running water after power outages. Two major items to be considered for a local water supply system are the cistern towers and the pumping stations.

Pumping stations as well as water treatment stations pull and ‘purify’ water to be delivered to houses and businesses. Many stations contain a couple or more backup generators. Otherwise they have battery banks that allow them continue to run during short power outages.


Some pumping stations can deliver pressurized water to homes and also businesses directly. If a pumping station should stop pumping, then water stops flowing. However, it should be noted that after the pumping station can no longer pressurize the water pipes, then any water remaining that is in the pipes will flow downhill (due to gravity) to houses at lower elevations. In addition, water systems closed in a vacuum will not flow as easily with no pressure.

Many small town  areas have pumping stations that deliver water to cistern towers, also called water towers. During long term power outages, this system becomes much more beneficial. This large elevated tank of water is tall and high enough to provide pressure to transport water to nearby houses and businesses. A pumping station continues to refill cisterns as long as there is power from any backup power system. In these systems however, pumping stations are less likely to contain backup power sources as compared to a non-cistern system.

There exist rare places were water delivery requires very little to no power, utilizing gravity as well as elevation to delivery the water. Systems like this have much fewer problems in power outages for quite obvious reasons.

A concern arises in some cases where the water supply systems become contaminated if the pressure is lost during a power outage.

Because of water’s importance during an emergency scenario it’s vital to store as much water as is quickly possible. After taps stop flowing, getting water becomes more complex.

Heating / Cooling homes

A home is cooled and heated using electricity. A modern home is built with expectations that it is going to be heated and cooled, as compared to old homes which weren’t. In most old homes, opening a door and a window enables a cross breeze that would naturally start regulating the moisture and the temperature of a home. Many more modern homes use this as a secondary effect instead. Even though most homes are well insulated against cold weather, often many homes become somewhat of hot boxes in warmer climates especially without electricity to circulate air through a cooling system.

Related: 7 actions to take immediately following an EMP strike


A power outage’s effects on communication systems can be complex. The primary notation however is not to expect current primary communications to work for a long term.

Cell phones have to be charged, and while they eventually run out of power, getting ways to recharge them proves to be a serious challenge.

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