However, the hearing also produced a less gloomy bit about cars working after an EMP attack. (NBC producers may want to take note).

We tested about 50 vehicles. About 10 of them—and we only tested them to 25 kilovolts per meter, which is the kind of threat you would get from more ordinary designs of nuclear weapons—about 10 percent of them stopped running when we tested them at that level. All but one or two of them could be restarted by just switching off the power and then switching on the key again. The computer basically stops the car, but it can be reset by turning off the power. There were one or two of them that actually had computer chip failures in the vehicle and had to be towed back to the dealership to have the chips replaced.

Caught in a Blackout

One of Gun Digest‘s survival experts, Scott Wagner, was part of that Northeast blackout. He wrote about the experience in this blackout blog post. Even with his years of experience, he felt under prepared:

As the event unfolded, I realized I had a large gap in my basic plans that I needed to address.

We have a well at our house with three pressure tanks, to allow the water to keep flowing in outages. I stored 30 gallons of treated water in the basement for general use including flushing toilets. The faucets and toilets worked from Friday night until Sunday. In years past it was no big deal. But, I will be 55 in August. When the faucets stopped, I reached and exceeded my fun threshold. I am getting a generator once they become available again. I put it off since we are trying to sell our house. Big mistake.

Your Turn: Are You Prepared for a Blackout? Did the TV Show Get it Right?

Whether the Revolution TV show accurately portrays reality or not, blackouts are among the most plausible disaster scenarios. How are you preparing for such an event? Do you think the fact there’s a show about a massive blackout helps or hurts preparedness? Leave a comment below.

Arm Yourself With Knowledge


SAS Survival Handbook

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Special Forces Survival Guide


  1. We had about a 12-hour blackout in our community. Things were a mess. Stop lights didn’t work, no lights, of course, no water because the water pumps didn’t work, restaurant freezers melted and ruined food causing untotaled damage to restaurant owners, and so on and so on…… And that was only in 12 hours. Oh, btw, we were told corded phones would work. Ours worked for a while, then went out. Of course, all other phones didn’t work, except a little bit on the cell phone, especially texting, but that was hit and miss also. The only communication device that worked was ham radio, and then only on the handhelds (HTs) unless you had a battery or generator for your desk radio in your house. The ham radio in the autos worked if the vehicle’s battery didn’t go out.