Governor approves bill dealing with electrical disruptions - CBS 5 - KPHO

Governor approves bill dealing with massive electrical disruptions

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The Arizona Legislature wants you to be prepared in case a nuclear bomb goes off high in the atmosphere or a massive solar flare disrupts electronic communications and the power grid.

Gov. Jan Brewer also wants you to be ready, so she signed a bill on Friday requiring the state's emergency management agency to develop recommendations for citizens just in case of nuclear attack.

Not everyone, however, believes the law was necessary.

State Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, was one of 17 lawmakers who voted no. He expressed his frustration with the focus on a catastrophe that he sees as a very remote possibility.

"Really we already have a major catastrophe in the state and that's called our schools falling apart, our roads falling apart and we should be fixing those things," said Campbell. "Not living in some fantasy world worrying about some unquantified attack or some disaster that's not gonna happen."

Scottsdale's Tim Ralston has studied the issue extensively.

"There are really simple things you can do to give you that peace of mind," says Ralston. "The food, the water, everything has to do with electricity. And an EMP in an instant would shut that all off."

Ralston owns a shop called Gear Up. He is also a TV personality featured on the show Doomsday Preppers.

An EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, is a crippling wave of energy that could be caused by a nuclear explosion or intense solar flare activity.

It would take out electricity, vehicles, cell service, basically anything with a computer chip.

Ralston estimates less than 15 percent of the population is prepared for an electrical disruption of 30 days or more.

"I think it's fantastic," says Ralston of the new law. "I think any time we can take a proactive step to help people become more self reliant it will help that transition."

The new law directs the Arizona Division of Emergency Management to list recommendations on what to do if an EMP hits.

"There's a variety of issues we should have been focused on this session and worrying about EMPs is the furthest thing we should be worried about right now," said Campbell.

The recommendations must include the type and quantity of food, water and medical supplies that each person should stockpile in case an electromagnetic pulse occurs over the U.S.

The state Division of Emergency Management is required to post the recommendations on its website and update them at least every five years.

Senate Bill 1476 was sponsored by Republican Rep. David Farnsworth of Mesa.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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