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Medical and public health effects of total power grid outage in a major city


Is your health system truly prepared for a total power failure event. It is generally accepted that without power a health care facility cannot function.

As a result health care facilities have built in reserve power generation capability via generators to bridge the gap between external power loss and restoration. But for how long can this reserve power generation be maintained – 3 days, a week, a month? And given the increased risks of prolonged outage due to a space weather event, an EMP or a targeted cyber attack what happens when literally the lights go out.

Our power grid exercise will explore this catastrophic event and its effects on health care. In addition we will also present potential preventative and mitigating interventions that would allow the health care system to better sustain prolonged external power loss. DHS and other federal agencies have become increasingly aware of these threats – it is time for healthcare professionals to do likewise.


  • Inform attendees with factual information and educational resources characterizing the current and emerging threats to our bulk power grids which would catastrophically degrade nationwide provision of healthcare and other emergency capabilities
  • Identify and discuss principal direct, indirect and cascading effects of power outage following a national-level outage event (Participants should focus on impacts and cascading effects on their organization for prevailing conditions of impacted geographies)


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Alice O'Donnell
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