Letter: Emergency Preparedness


My County Sheriff called me out of retirement to consult with him and the County EMA director on these topics. I drafted this letter after several hours of discussion with them and a few other community members in the meeting.

I sent this to every County EMA director and County Sheriff in Ohio and also every EMA County and State level DHS Emergency official in Michigan. (It was sent to Michigan on the day of the recent Detroit outage, for enhanced effect.)

It would be great to be spread wider, if you could see fit to link it on your site. I would hope readers might find the way to send it to every County EMA, Sheriff, and any other public official or private industry contact they might have. I follow the wisdom of Hosea 4:6, Proverbs 1:5, and Ecclesiastes to cast my bread upon the waters.

Thank you for your service. – K.H.

EMA Director:

We are retired professionals and volunteers with a background in both public and private sector emergency response. We are concerned about the critical infrastructure of our country and are volunteering our time and resources to help educate others who are still in active public and private capacities to help to improve our responses to threats and damage against our infrastructures, communities, and families. We are not selling anything or soliciting anything from you. We are merely providing you with some free information that can help you self assess your situations and help you to strengthen your critical systems that provide the basics of life to your communities, your families, and yourself.

Every aspect of our daily lives have become extensively intertwined in the basic ordering, shipment, and delivery of all our goods and services via grid-based systems. No modern industry or production chain can run without this interconnected web of support. Almost all goods and services are ordered, routed, and paid for electronically, by systems on grid-based power. Almost all communication in modern society is grid reliant, in one form or another. Our grid is overloaded, over-aged, and in need of a major overhaul.

Recent Congressional hearings have brought to light the growing threat of Cyber attack by several foreign countries and also by criminal, malicious hackers. These types of attack have the ability to take over sections and even shut down the power grids, telecoms, pipelines, and banking services that provide the basics of modern life to our communities, families, and to each and every one of us.

Recent Congressional hearings have also shown a growing threat of Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) on the grids from several countries that currently have, and a few who are striving to achieve, the ability to build and launch nuclear weapons. These types of EMP attacks are made by the detonation of one or more nuclear bombs between 30 and 300 miles above Earth’s surface. The resulting pulse can wipe out most electronics it reaches through the atmosphere by line of sight. The pulse can also burn out the major transformers, power grid lines, most telecoms, and critical support infrastructures.

There is also a statistical probability, based on historical events, that a naturally-occurring Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun and the associated Geo Magnetic Storm induced current flowing into the earth can induce a burn out of the power grids and long line networks. These pulses to grid, whether natural from a Geo Magnetic Storm or man made as an EMP, can have the same effect in destroying the power grid and most all modern systems tied to it. Research ”Electromagnetic pulse” and “Geo Magnetic Storms” online.

A grid take down will also have a disastrous effect on the several dozen nuclear power plants in the USA that only have limited back up power to keep the reactors and cooling pools stable. Most nuclear plants are not designed to generate self-sustaining flow rates of power and must be interconnected in balance with the dynamic grid load and other power plants in the grid. If critical pump systems are damaged, or adequate fuels are not delivered to resupply the back up power generators, you will have several dozen Fukushima-style melt downs across the country.

Nuclear plants are usually only “tested” for a 24-hour outage, where all backup systems are functional. Most nuclear plants are required to only have a four to eight hour battery backup for cooling systems and a between 7 and 30 days of diesel supply for emergency generators onsite. Most research on a grid take down predicts many months or years to recovery. There is also no practical experience for a country-wide “black start” of the grid under normal conditions, let alone with many critical systems being damaged.

The large, high-voltage transformers, which are critical to the electric grid, are custom built and require a one- to two-year lead time for each one. They cost about $10 million dollars each and are primarily made overseas. Experts have estimated that all the large, high-voltage transformers and most critical parts of the power grid could be protected from a Geo Magnetic Storm or an Electro Magnetic Pulse for a total price of about $2 billion dollars– the price of a B2 bomber.

The big power companies, their lobbyists, and Congress have danced around the issue for decades, debating who is responsible for grid oversight and bickering over who pays for such improvements. Waiting on the Federal Government to solve this issue is slow and politically biased, so please contact your Congressmen and Senators and demand immediate action to strengthen our power grid and critical infrastructures.

Seventy-three years ago our parent’s generation were called into action because of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that altered the course of world history.

Just 13 years ago the “9-11” attacks happened, our generation was called into action to fight a global, guerrilla terror-based war, and it also altered the course of world history.

In both cases there were warning signs that were ignored because of the “Normalcy Bias” and the mindset that it was “Somebody Else’s Problem”, which lulls most Americans into a sense of complacency until a tragedy occurs.

Both those attacks led America into a deadly game of catch up in trying to meet the challenges brought by each attack. We are again facing threats that have the potential to kill hundreds of millions of Americans and cause total devastation to our infrastructure and country. When we are hit by an attack on our power grid and critical infrastructures, whether naturally from a Geo Magnetic Storm or by a man-made Electro Magnetic Pulse, it may be the end of the world as we know it.

We as local leaders and local members of communities will be the first (and maybe only) to respond to any local emergencies. We must take measures locally, to do as much as possible, to self assess, plan ahead, and strengthen our local assets to best serve our communities, families, and ourselves. It will be much better to plan ahead and make provisions than to be forced to try and play catch up after the event occurs.

If YOU do not work to coordinate this type of self assessment and then work with other local emergency agencies, infrastructure utilities, and vital service providers to make your systems better for your communities, then who will?

There is no fate, except that which we make for our communities, our families, and ourselves.

We are sending this letter to you to help educate you on these issues. We hope you will self assess your resources and find areas for improvement in both redundancy and resilience by planning for improvements to your various CRITICAL SYSTEMS. This will help to supply the basic necessities to your communities and families during a widespread grid down event or even a localized storm-related outage. The first critical system on the list (WATER) has been expanded below, as an example of how to try and evaluate each of the other categories.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all critical systems and is merely provided to initiate you at a local level to best evaluate your specific situations. If you find other areas of concern that you feel are missing from our sample list, please inform us of them. We realize that many of your agencies are pressed for manpower and resources. Please consider using assistance from your different contacts in law enforcement, fire, medical services, and local government to help you complete these evaluations and then plan proper responses. There are many sections of the federal, state, and local codes and statutes to help you. “Many hands make for light work.”

Here are a few links to videos and articles about some of these threats:

If you need more information on these threats, you can find much more data by online searches.

Thank you for your service.

For specific questions, please contact us by email.



  • Water source supplies, treatment supplies, distribution, and control
  • Electric power: Grid power providers and emergency backup sources– Generator, Solar, Wind, Battery, other. Critical data back up on non-volatile media, such as CD or tape and OFFLINE, COMPLETELY UN-WIRED laptops, servers, computers, monitors, and printers (all stored in a Faraday cage) and that can be hooked up on emergency power after an event to read and print data. (You might have older machines that are still functional and can serve as a back up in this fashion.)
  • Communications: Internet, land line, cell, radio– VHF, UHF, amateur radio, FRS, GMRS, CB radios. Commercial broadcast FM, AM, SW, cable stations for Emergency Broadcast System messaging.
  • Gasoline, diesel, lubricants, and parts supply sources
  • Heating: Natural gas and propane supplies and alternative (i.e. wood) heat sources
  • Sewage treatment facilities and supplies
  • Fire safety equipment and medical supplies
  • Transportation: County, township, municipal, board of education, private industry, heavy equipment vehicles
  • County, township, municipal, community, schools and/or church buildings for use as shelters
  • Food: Stores, Supply, Storage, Preparation, and Distribution
  • General sanitation and refuse disposal
  • Medical facilities, medicines, and emergency supplies
  • Private transportation of critical infrastructure personnel
  • Hard copies of personnel addresses and emergency procedures for reporting to work
  • Community roster of skills that members have that can be utilized in emergencies
  • Agreements in place with local assets for emergency priority usage of materials and facilities with critical personnel
  • Methods of remuneration through cash, barter, ledger tally, chits, or other mediums of exchange
  • Physical and personnel security measures

Example of a detailed examination for a Critical System:

Potable Water:

  • Centralized systems source: Reservoir, public well fields,
  • How is it pumped and stored?
  • Pump sizes?
  • Pipe and couplings sizes at access points?
  • Number of pumps?
  • Pump locations?
  • Spares on hand?
  • Spare critical SCADA, PLC, and other sensitive electronics stored properly in FARADAY CAGES?
  • Local sources of spare parts, equipment, repairs?
  • Voltage ranges?
  • Motor phases?
  • Amperage required?
  • Can pumps be currently wired to be more ready to hook to some portable generators?
  • If wired for backup generators, where are they stored? Spares with oils, and parts?
  • Gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane?
  • Fuel source and storage on site? (What you have on hand may be all you have for a long time.)
  • Alternate fuels in case natural gas lines shut down? Local gas wells in area?
  • Amount of fuel per hour required?
  • Water produced per hour of pump use?
  • Number of personnel to operate, under emergency situations?
  • If systems are set for auto run during grid down off of a backup generator power, can they be easily and manually turned off and on so as to only be efficiently run during critical operations, such as water sourcing, processing, and water tower filling?
  • Can you measure water production, pumping, and tank tower levels manually, without electronics?
  • Charts and flow rates printed on hand?
  • What is required for regular potable treatment?
  • Emergency standards treatment?
  • Processing machinery, hardware and software to install on spare off line machines?
  • Treatment chemical, testing materials, and supplies?
  • Spare critical machinery on hand and physically disconnected off line?
  • Building access?
  • Manual calculations and measurement equipment for batch processing, paper logs, and operation manuals?
  • Is distribution piping operations manually or auto switched?
  • Do you have the ability through valves and locks on hand to lock down distribution of the system and shut off service for emergency rationing at a few locations, if required? (People need potable water to safely drink and cook with. People can use individually sourced rainwater or other water to wash or flush with.) Think centralized source for showers, toilets, washing locations, et cetera. It will be easier to walk to a central facility than it is practical to provide everyone free and unrestricted access to water in times of limited supplies of materials and fuels. (How is your water board going to assess and receive payment in a grid down situation?)
  • Paper maps of system? Hand written live tracking of what is open and closed on the system.
  • Do you have emergency orders and procedures in your village ordinances for emergency operation and rationing?
  • Are there buildings in your distribution system that are located at key points where a water line can serve them as emergency distribution point, while general distribution lines are shut down?
  • At water points, do you have existing plumbing to serve as emergency distribution points with multiple hoses?
  • Alternative heat/ventilation maintaining treatment facilities temperature/humidity controls.
  • Physical measures and personnel for security for all components and buildings in the system?

Private Wells, Surface Collections:

  • Small generators can be used frugally to run existing pumps to efficiently draw water from wells. You can use bulk water storage tanks/cisterns/barrels to store it and then use gravity or hand pumps to draw off the bulk storage. A 12 VDC “Shurflo” style water pump, like in campers/RV’s, with some deep cycle batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, or small generators can be used to draw off stored water to pressurize existing lines and bladder tanks through a garden hose/washer connection to provide running water. Extra bladder tanks added into an existing water system can extend pressurized water supply between pumping operations. Small farm pumps, yard sprayers, or boat bilge pumps can be cleaned and converted for emergency use. Think repack kits and parts.
  • Hand pumps- Search “emergency water hand pump” online, and you will find a long list of hand pump designs in both build-it-yourself designs and prepackaged drop in kits. Do you have a windmill pump?
  • Rain water– Various collection methods can gather water from downspouts to holding tanks/cisterns/barrels. This water can be used to flush toilets by filling the tank on the back of your toilet and sending the waste to your leach beds. Search “rain barrel guide” online.
  • River and stream water can be used as a source. This water has the highest amounts of pollutants, chemical farm runoff, silts, and bio hazards from animal populations. This source will require a lot of settling to remove suspended solids. Do you have water barrel carts or sturdy buckets and shoulder yokes for carrying water?


  • Search “emergency water treatment” on the Internet for options for emergency treatment drinking options by boiling, filtering, or chemically treating. Water can be filtered with systems, like a Berkey, Doulton, or Katadyn style, that use gravity or hand pumps. Stock up on chemical treatments and research online for “pool shock that is approved for emergency water purification”.
  • Bathing by hand washing and showers are very efficient. Clothes washing and utility use of water will present a whole new set of problems. Study how your ancestors did this and how Amish or other remote world populations still do this today. Do you have wash tubs, clothes lines, and clothes pins? Search “primitive clothes washing” online. Do you have spare plumbing pipes, fittings, solvents, glues, pastes, clamps, tools, hoses, et cetera on hand?

These are not complete lists. You should encourage personnel to critically think through the various life-sustaining operations from start to finish and come up with emergency procedures and back up plans to help ensure basic services during a grid down event. Write everything down in hard copy manuals and practice how to implement procedures by drills.



#18 on the list SHOWS WE SPEND $25 billion on maintaining EMPTY AND UNUSED FEDERAL BUILDINGS EACH YEAR.

We could fix the grid 12 times over on just that spending alone. (If the grid fails, they are toast along with everything else.)





Tempus Fugit, Carpe Diem