How do you prepare for a power failure?

Is Germany prepared for a blackout?

How does the state act?

A few hours after the blackout, crisis teams are set up in many cities and municipalities across Germany to remedy the causes of the power failure on site. Such a group of experts also meets at the federal level.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, the Federal Network Agency and the Technical Relief Organization are actors of particular importance. Together they are looking for solutions to bring electricity back into households as quickly as possible.

At the same time, everything is done to ensure the safety of the population and the maintenance of public order. Crisis teams also work with electricity; In the event of an emergency, their emergency supply enables continuous operation for a week.

Key role for fire brigade and police

As important public order organizations, the fire brigade and police are aware of the danger and possibility of a widespread power failure.

As with every catastrophe, the officers initially expect the so-called chaos phase in the event of a blackout, in which countless emergency calls are received in the headquarters, which are processed with full staff.

Emergency power generators and batteries from the network operator ensure that emergency calls are still possible in such a scenario. In this way, the effects of the actual power failure can be buffered for a short time.

However, within a very short time, many networks will be overloaded due to the sheer volume of telephone calls. In the second step, the fire brigade and police classify the danger situation: A power failure is far more problematic in winter than in summer and also at night than during the day.

In federal states in which analog radio is used for internal communication by the fire brigade and police, vehicles on patrol can also receive emergency calls from local residents and forward them to the headquarters. The emergency services are also prepared for a power failure lasting several days.

Citizens in need can be supported by direct supply, but also with the help of mobile emergency power generators.

While the fire brigade ensures the disposal of water in the sewer system, the police are preparing for a possible increase in crime among the population.

Many institutions quickly reach their limits

Central institutions such as hospitals, sewage treatment plants or prisons also have emergency power generators in order to maintain immediate operation for the time being.

But before these too have used up their diesel supply after about two days and thus no longer supply electricity, the water supply becomes a problem. After just a few hours, patients have to be moved due to hygiene problems - but it remains unclear where.

Prisons with electrical locking systems and sewage treatment plants also reach their limits in the event of a blackout lasting several days.

Everyone can prepare for an emergency

Each of us can arm ourselves to a certain extent for the consequences of a blackout. The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief recommends storing water and food for 14 days. A battery-operated radio, a flashlight and candles should also be found in every household.

Even these simple preparations could, in the worst-case scenario, reduce uncertainty among the population and relieve the emergency services, fire brigade and police forces.

So-called preppers systematically prepare for possible disasters such as a blackout. The prepper community is enjoying increasing popularity in Germany and shares its tips and experiences in forums, on websites and in social networks.

Is it all a matter of preparation?

Even if most institutions are aware of the risk of a blackout lasting several days in Germany - how well they cope with it depends on many factors. Above all, it is crucial how long the power supply fails.

The disaster management rehearsals for emergencies are limited to a relatively short period of time with a given scenario.

Even if this is very carefully thought out - whether and to what extent this scenario would withstand reality in the event of a very long blackout is only shown in an emergency.