Federal Friday - 9.6.13 - "P.O.C.B.S" Edition

Blog Post created by jschim Employee on Sep 6, 2013

Well folks, that about does it. Summah is a wrap and soon enough Boston will begin its annual transformation into the planet Hoth for the next few months. That being said, I thought I’d keep it light this week so we can all get on with our weekends.


You might be wondering what the title of this week’s edition means. No, “P.O.C.B.S” is not a new department or cert that you need to know about. It is actually a lot more basic than that but can cause major disruptions to critical infrastructure that you should be aware of - Power Outages Caused by Squirrels.


In his Op-Ed in the New York Times Sunday Review, Squirrel Power!, published on 8/31, Jon Mooallem speaks in detail of his exhaustive research into the impact squirrels have on our nation’s power grid. He points out that since the beginning of the summer there has been over 50 outages in 48 states cause specifically by these critters. Apparently you can actually set up a Google alert on the topic and it will flood your inbox, especially this time of year as they prepare to hibernate for the winter season.


While this is a “fun” topic it is important to note that there are real-world consequences. These varmints have affected California’s economy somewhere between $32 million and $317 million annually, no small potatoes. Being that you cannot predict when these kamikaze attacks on our power grid will happen; it is always good to follow the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared.” Having a solid emergency plan and backup power to help restore your own critical infrastructure is extremely important. If your organization doesn't already have one in place it’s never too late to start planning for the unexpected.


While you might get a kick out of reading some of the articles online about squirrels attacking our critical infrastructure, it won’t be as funny when it happens in your neck of the woods, suburbia, or city. Having to explain to your boss, or organization, that a squirrel has effectively taken out your data center will not be a fun story to tell.


To read more on the # 5 most emailed articles this week, please head here.