Can DHS & FEMA prepare for major solar storm?

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Can DHS & FEMA prepare for major solar storm?

Postby OakRidgeStars » Sat, 13 Dec 2014 11:06:32

Personally, I think these "catastrophic solar storm" predictions are always overblown. It's more likely that Russian and ChiCom hackers will bring down the electrical grid long before a coronal mass ejection will.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security ... sun-storm/


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Re: Can DHS & FEMA prepare for major solar storm?

Postby MarcSpaz » Sat, 13 Dec 2014 16:02:53

Seeing as in how Putin said he was going to nuke the US if we send weapons and supplies to Ukraine, I would think they should be preparing for a response to that instead... but hey, I'm just a computer geek. My opinion has no value.


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Re: Can DHS & FEMA prepare for major solar storm?

Postby cdb » Sat, 13 Dec 2014 16:50:00

OakRidgeStars wrote:Personally, I think these "catastrophic solar storm" predictions are always overblown. It's more likely that Russian and ChiCom hackers will bring down the electrical grid long before a coronal mass ejection will.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security ... sun-storm/


Have to disagree, based on my understanding. Another CME of a high enough energy to damage a national distribution network is not a matter of if, but when. We've had at least two in the last 150 years, and narrowly missed a few others recently. Seems to me that the only real question is whether the timing will be such that the U.S. is directly impacted, and further if there will be adequate circuit protection in place by then to prevent a cascading failure.

NASA's Severe Space Weather Report is a pretty good read for those who are interested.

http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12507


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Re: Can DHS & FEMA prepare for major solar storm?

Postby MarcSpaz » Sat, 13 Dec 2014 19:02:25

I have to say, it has been awhile, but when I was doing Emergency Response, we trained for cyber and infiltration attacks taking down the infrastructure, mainly because there was a preventable / defense aspect to it. That said, in my professional opinion, it really doesn't matter what the root cause is from a "first responder/emergency services prospective. Though, Engineering and Defense Initiatives and responses will change based on the source and type of damage needing to be repaired.

So, regardless of the assumed source, from a DHS/FEMA prospective, the training and preparedness is a good thing in my opinion.

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Re: Can DHS & FEMA prepare for major solar storm?

Postby cdb » Sat, 13 Dec 2014 21:02:05

Yeah, it certainly makes sense that the immediate response (and training) would be very similar. I'd guess it's also similar to other non-electric infrastructure failures. There's probably a lot of interesting information you could share from your experience.

I also think it's worth while to look at the difference in long-term effects. The long-term damage from a non-nuclear hostile action or natural disaster is likely to be significantly less severe compared to a high-energy geomagnetic phenomenon, but either way there are worst-case scenarios that include damage requiring years to repair. That's a long time for anyone to be without power and power-dependent infrastructure.


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Re: Can DHS & FEMA prepare for major solar storm?

Postby MarcSpaz » Sat, 13 Dec 2014 22:37:41

You are absolutely correct. as a citizen, being prepared for extended outages is near impossible for urban and suburban residents.

The 4th largest blackout in history was in 1965. It impacted 30 million people. The second biggest blackout in the history of commercial power happened right here in the US back in 2003, in the exact same states as 1965, but affecting 70 million people the second time.

The outage in 2003 was cause by a single line of code in a program that caused safety systems in 8 US states and 2 countries to shutdown everything. Water supplies were hit the hardest and felt first. With only a few gravity towers in most regions and no way to refill them without the electric pumps working, within minutes, the affected states ran out of usable water.

Given that the average person consumes 2 gallons of water a day to drink, cook and clean with (3 if you count flushing toilets and up to 5 for cleaning clothes), you can imagine how hard it is to store enough water, just for a few days... imagine if it was weeks, or years. People is cities or with no survival skills are screwed.

The logistical planning and for DHS, FEMA, Red Cross, etc. is a nightmare when dealing with 70 million people needing water. Imaging the entire country needing water, food, and medicine, but not being able to get it. Basically, the Katrina after effects, but nationwide. If these agencies really do what's needed, there is a lot of work that needs to be done.


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Re: Can DHS & FEMA prepare for major solar storm?

Postby mamabearCali » Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:19:21

Happily the power companies who want the $$ to keep flowing in have and continue to make preparations. Not saying it could not happen but just saying private business is taking the threat seriously.

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