She’s sitting quietly at the console in the soon-to-be grain storage facility. Polishing up the programmed interface that will guide the operators through their daily tasks. Around her various welders and electricians go about their jobs.
The lights flicker, and go out. She hears the groans in the pitch black, her hand is on her flashlight, but she pauses, counting her breaths. The utility company and the sparkies had been working out some problem all week, and this had been happening regularly, the backup generators should kick on soon, another second….. did it usually take this long? No.
Hers is not the only flashlight flickering on as people try to safely pause whatever it was they had been doing. Most wondering about the bleeping idiots with the bleeping generator.
The programmer moves to gather her equipment and she notices that her laptop has powered down. Curious. She quickly gathers it up. No sense waiting around to get colder in the dark. She meets up with her team on the way out. They are both rolling their eyes at another wasted day. As they exited the plant, she started hearing comments about broken cell phones. She hadn’t checked hers yet, hadn’t wanted to confirm her suspicion.
She wondered what they would find in the parking lot. Paperweights? Would some cars work? “Please let some work,” she thought. She was in South Dakota, it was November, and home was many miles to the South. It would take a week to walk home. (46 hours, of walking at 3mph, her brain interjected.) She started tallying the food in her car and bag; emergency rations and water, plus the weeks worth of breakfast foods she always brought eased her mind a little. Even if all the cars were dead, she thought she could do it. People had made it much further with much less.
Now, she thought, what to do with my team? They probably only have a granola bar from hotel check-in that morning. Between the two of them, maybe a couple of bottles of water. But, they were headed in the same direction… Decisions, decisions.
She heard it said, finally, quietly behind her, “EMP.”
Where are you right now? What if the lights went out? What do you have on you, and do you think you could make it home with that? Do you have travel plans coming up? Run the exercise using that as a starting point.
Always make sure you can get home folks, you never know what the day will bring.
– Calamity Jane