'American Blackout': What if life imitated 'Revolution'?

american-blackout-natgeo-325.jpgThe lights going out could mean romance or, in the case of National Geographic Channel's "American Blackout," airing Sunday, Oct. 27, chaos.

On this anniversary weekend of Superstorm Sandy, many viewers already know what it's like to wait in endless lines for gas, sputter away on fumes and return to a cold, dark house. In "Blackout," a cyberattack destroys the country's power grids.

The movie uses news footage -- at one point President Obama asks citizens to "stay calm and listen to what public officials are saying" -- mingled with fictional accounts shot in the shaky hand-held style of "The Blair Witch Project."

As a wave of darkness rolls over the country, the film focuses on five separate scenarios: a California couple with a toddler and another child about to be born, Arizona college students stuck in an elevator, a Texas teenage filmmaker, a spoiled couple in a Manhattan penthouse, and a prepper family in Colorado.

Panic sets in very early, resulting in a tremendous amount of fighting as people grow scared, hungry and thirsty.

There is so much rancor that it doesn't jibe with what Dr. Robert Bristow, the film's adviser and medical director of emergency management for New York-Presbyterian Hospital, experienced in his travels to international disaster sites.

"People think disasters bring out the worst, but what I have witnessed over and over again is disasters bring out the best," Bristow says to Zap2it.

Tips:

• "People need to have personal preparedness plans," Bristow says. "What would they need to survive a weather event, a blackout, or a more significant event like a terrorist or nuclear event? On that list would be food, nonperishable water, preferably not candles or things that generate fire, generators if they have the capability."

• "Community preparedness gives individuals a much better chance of weathering the storm," Bristow says.

• "Try to understand what resources are available and have a realistic expectation of what the hospital can provide them," he says.
Photo/Video credit: National Geographic Channel
SHARE IT ON: