Powering Through – From Fragile Infrastructures to Community Resilience

Powering Through – From Fragile Infrastructures to Community Resilience

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We Take Electric Power for Granted. Threats to Our Electric Grid are Real. Here’s How to Prepare. Powering Through is an action guide and contains, for the first time, a comparison of critical infrastructures that can suffer long duration outages caused by five high impact threats: high altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP); solar geomagnetic storms; cyber-attacks; physical attacks; and Radio Frequency (RF) weapons. We are accustomed to short duration power failures. However, disruptions of weeks, months, or over a year are more and more possible, yet this risk is largely unrecognized. The book examines the interdependent, and critical, infrastructures that would be threatened by a sustained electric grid failure, such as our water and wastewater systems, communications, transportation, emergency and healthcare services, government and military defense, to name only a few. Importantly, the book concentrates on consequence management, starting at the individual, household, and community levels of preparedness. If we are better prepared at home, we can better assist the organizations that will lead recovery, whatever the challenges. In addition, the book sets out a plan for forming resilient community islands which can ultimately aid in recovery. Ultimately, Powering Through offers hope, via thorough and concrete expert advice, not just to individuals, but to local, state and federal government, emergency organizations, and others, that they can prepare for this very real threat to our electric grid. And what’s more, this book heralds a call to action for these same groups to begin preparing NOW.

Publication Table of Contents

A Preparedness Initiative by the InfraGard EMP SIG
     Title Page  & Foreword
Section Title Description
Executive Summary Executive Summary States purposes; identifies authors; links five grid threats (EMP, solar storms, cyber-attacks, physical attack & radio frequency weapons) to equipment and functions at risk (see color chart)
Chapter I Introduction Purpose of the guide; intended audience; high-level walk-through of the chapters and their content
Chapter II Power Grids and  Interdependencies Composition and importance of the grid; complex dependencies and interdependencies and other U.S. Critical Infrastructure Sectors; grid vulnerabilities; projections relating to cascading and catastrophic impacts of long-duration grid failures.
Chapter III U.S. National Framework for Disaster Preparedness Background on the overall constitutional, statutory and policy framework for disaster preparedness and response
Chapter IV Enhancing Nationwide Grid Preparedness Suggested approaches and specific actions for enhancing national grid preparedness
Chapter V Enhancing Preparedness of Other Critical Infrastructures Importance of blackout preparedness across selected critical infrastructure sectors; general approaches to enhancing preparedness; suggested actions for several particular sectors
Chapter VI Resilient Communities using an Island Concept Emerging concepts for building resilience that would promote individual survival, community recovery, and societal stability
Chapter VII Key Preparedness Actors Identification of key actors in “whole of nation” grid preparedness, along with their respective roles and potential to contribute
Chapter VIII Response and Recovery in Long-Duration Nationwide Grid Failures Recommended approaches and specific actions related to post-event response and recovery efforts in grid failures ranging from weeks to months or even years
Chapter IX Conclusions A call to action for preparedness & a discussion of Version 2.0
Appendix 1 Glossary Definitions for key terms used in the guide
Appendix 2 Planning and Response: Frameworks and Tools Overview and crosswalk of different planning systems
Appendix 3 Preparedness Maturity Model A maturity model for evaluating preparedness
Appendix 4 Cybersecurity and Industrial Control / SCADA Systems Discussion of how cyber attacks target the grid
Appendix 5 Blackstarting the Power Grid A plan for restarting the grid after a failure
Appendix 6 Supply Chain Resiliency An examination of the supply chain and its ability to respond
Appendix 7 International Disaster Assistance FEMA vision for U.S. incorporation of international disaster assistance
Appendix 8 Reference Material & Organizational Contacts Select references used in developing the guide and appropriate resources for further research on preparedness
Appendix 9 Contributor Biographies Brief background on key contributors to the guide


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