EMP Attack Survival Guide

Prepper's Will - EMP attack survival guide  You wake up in the middle of the night and hear a crash sound outside. The lights are off and you stumble in the dark to find a working tactical flashlight. Once you get out you notice that a power outage hit your neighborhood, you check your phone but it’s dead too. That doesn’t make any sense, the street lamps are off and nothing seems to work. Then it hits you “It happened, an EMP attack happened and everything is fried.” It’s time to rely on your EMP attack survival plan and keep your family safe.

You realize that the world you knew is gone and any electronic device more sophisticated than a basic flashlight is fried beyond repair. In moments like these, you are glad you made EMP attack survival plan and it’s time to see if it really works.

Your neighborhood, your nation or maybe the world has been hit by an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and you will have to survive without the daily appliances you got used to.

What is an EMP?

An Electromagnetic Pulse or EMP is a sudden burst of electromagnetic radiation and it can be a natural occurrence or it can be triggered by man-made devices. In fact, EMPs occur every day and the sun activity is the primary cause of these events. Most of them go unnoticed, but massive pulses can destroy some of the sensitive electronic devices.

A massive EMP attack can damage the transformers that regulate our power grid. It creates a chain reaction that can destroy humanity itself. Before you make an EMP attack survival plan, you must know how likely an EMP attack is and how it’s created.

Which are the primary sources that can cause an EMP attack?

Solar Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)

This event is one of the most probable natural disasters that can hit our planet. It’s a significant concern for many governments, including the government of the United States. A coronal mass ejection (CME) is a sudden eruption of plasma from the surface of the sun, what NASA calls “Solar Storms.”

NASA keeps warning us that if a massive solar storm were to hit Earth, the EMP pulse would cause transformers to short and it will destroy our power grid. It seems that popular news channels don’t take this threat seriously. I haven’t seen our government take any precautionary measures for the general public.

I’ve seen the manufacturing process of parts needed for our power grid being outsourced to China and it’s like adding another nail to our coffin. The worst part is that these types of events happened before. Although it didn’t have such a significant impact in the past, it will be another story in today’s modern times.

This is a severe threat that most people are not aware of. Even more, most US citizens haven’t even heard of an EMP attack survival plan. They have no clue of what to do in the eventuality of such an event.

Nuclear Detonation (NEMP)

A nuclear electromagnetic pulse is a pulse created by a nuclear detonation. If a nuclear warhead detonates close to the surface of the Earth, the EMP blast is absorbed into the ground and the effect is negligible. However, if a nuclear warhead is detonated dozens or hundreds of miles above the Earth, the situation changes dramatically and the results are devastating.

An EMP attack high in the upper atmosphere will spread with incredible speed with nothing to contain or interrupt it. This is what military analysts and most scientists refer to as an EMP attack. Only in recent years, the army has developed an EMP attack survival guide. It’s becoming a threat acknowledged by army officials. The effects of a nuclear EMP attack are so precise that it damages even small circuitry and overall, makes it much more dangerous and destructive than a coronal mass ejection.

How likely is an EMP attack (event)?

An EMP attack striking the United States is a real scenario and with the addiction, we get from our electronic devices, our vulnerability increases. General Eugene Habiger, the former head of U.S. Strategic Command said at some point that an EMP attack “it is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.”

If Russia and China have the means to produce and detonate high-altitude nuclear bombs, you may think that they are the primary suspects, but the reality is different. North Korea successfully tested an EMP weapon in 2009 and Isis is planning to detonate EMP devices on US soil.

Related reading: Disaster strikes – To stay or to go?

The components needed to create a small but effective EMP device are readily available. The manpower/knowledge is being acquired by terrorists groups and extremists. Isis extremists are continually kidnapping engineers, hoping to achieve their goals.

There is a lot of information out there about their actions and how they keep the media “busy” with their gruesome videos while working on their bigger plan on the side. These hateful extremists understood that they couldn’t win unless they strike at the core of our needs (power, supplies, and security) and detonating an EMP on American soil is their primary goal.

As for EMPs caused by the sun, at the moment NASA is keeping an eye on the solar activity. Experts are continually releasing warnings and forecasts of extreme solar weather. They keep telling us that we will have no more than two or three days of advance notice should the sun emit a massive burst. They keep telling the government that people should learn how to protect themselves from an EMP attack. Such an event could happen at any time, but nobody seems to listen or care.

I can’t really explain this, but I’m assuming that the human factor is considered a more probable reality or threat than the cosmos factor when it comes to EMP attacks. Both risks should be considered and should be taken into account in my opinion.

What would happen during an EMP attack?

Scenarios are being created by scientists and there is also some good literature that can tell us what will happen during an EMP attack. The reality is that nobody knows the full extent of the damage a solar EMP would cause. However, NASA experts hypothesize that the outcome would be apocalyptic.

When it comes to the effects of a nuclear EMP attack the army knows more about this than the average citizen would think. Since 1960 both the United States and the Soviet Union have raced in conducting multiple high-altitude nuclear tests. The US Strategic Command is continuously creating EMP targeting maps for Russia, China, and other areas around the world.

The other countries are doing the same and it’s a time race to which we are simple spectators. The main point one should take away is that the US Strategic Command established that an EMP detonation at a tactically optimal location and height above the United States would erase modern civilization.

Disaster scale models are being theorized for the United States. According to some of them between 250,000 to 500,000 deaths will occur immediately following a significant EMP attack.

The main causes of death will be:

  • Commercial airliners dropping from the sky due to loss of power
  • Medical life support systems failing across the country
  • Power plants generators failing
  • Pacemakers and other similar devices failing

If you are lucky enough to be one of the survivors of an EMP attack, your chances of survival are actually rather high after the EMP attack. They depend mostly on your environment and survival knowledge. An EMP attack does not affect the human body and depending on where you live; you won’t even know it happened until you maneuver an electronic device.

All experts agree that the 2-3 years following an extensive EMP attack will claim millions of lives. Having an EMP attack survival guide and knowing what to do in the first days after the event will determine your chances of survival.

Prepping to survive an EMP attack

In the aftermath of an EMP attack, depending on the environment you live in, your health, inclement weather and the resources you have, you will need to take immediate action. In the first minutes following the EMP attack, you will need to make a decision that will drastically impact your chances of survival. You need to decide whether you bug-in or you bug-out.

Bugging in after an EMP attack

Your home should have all the essentials you need for survival, like food, water, medicine, and tools. It provides shelter and if you know your neighbors well enough, you have better chances of making it and it will add an extra layer of security. It doesn’t make any sense leaving your home if you have nowhere to go. You’re better off trying to secure your home rather than wandering in the woods.

Following an EMP attack you should do the following if you decide to bug-in:

Collect as much water as possible

The grid will be down, but you will still have running water for a short time. It won’t last long, so you need to start filling bottles, buckets and everything you’ve got. Tell your family to help you and don’t stop until there is no more running water. I’ve discussed water bricks in a previous article so having these around your house is a good idea.

Go shopping after an EMP attack hits

Grab all the cash you have and run to the local grocery store, don’t stop until you get there. Depending on where you live and if you act fast enough; chances are the stores are still open for business and accepting cash.

If that is the case stock up on the following items:

  • Dried foods like jerky, pasta, beans and rice
  • Canned vegetables and canned fruit
  • Canned meat like tuna, salmon, chicken, etc
  • Peanut butter, nuts, and dried fruits
  • Canned soup
  • Whole grain flour, oats, and salt
  • Energy bars and other “super foods”

You have a good chance of buying many of these items before people realize what is going on. I suggest you take one person with you to help you shop faster. You should also take the shopping cart with you so that you can transport all the goods back to your home.

Stock up on medical supplies

Although you should have a good supply of medical items and medicine in your home, if you have something missing like specific medication, go the pharmacy next. If an EMP attack happens your goal is to get the medicine you need and increase your medical supplies if you have the time. Get over the counter pain relievers and fever reducers and other medicine you think might come in handy.

Improvise a cooking area

Make sure you improvise a cooking area inside your home if possible because you can take advantage of the fire for heating purposes. If this is not an option, you can improvise something in your yard and dig a shallow fire pit. Having a solar stove is also a good option and you can either buy one or build one yourself. Since an EMP attack will kill your fridge start first by cooking the perishable foods from your fridge.

Establish a defensible perimeter and secure your home

Every homeowner should know how to protect his home, which are the weak points of the home and what should expect if the world goes crazy. You can’t be on defense duty 24/7 and you need your family to help you defend the fort. Besides implementing all sort of defense strategies like described in the article below, you should also know which the neighbors you can count on are. Cooperate with them and determine what area you will protect from the criminal elements of society.

Choosing a group of houses and creating a single fortified position will increase your chances of survival. If you are part of a group, you can take turns protecting the supplies. Having a defense drill should be part of your prepping plan, regardless if an EMP attack will hit us or not.

Gather and distribute weapons

Sooner or later you will have to make use of every weapon you can find. Guns and ammunition play an essential role in your survival strategy after an EMP attack and your family members should be able to use them. As a group, you should be able to distribute them for optimal security.

Always carry a tactical knife with you and don’t lose sight of your gun. You might have to use everything you have, from knives to clubs, bows and anything that can harm the attackers and keep you safe.

Related article: 5 guns every prepper should own

Scavenge for the remains of a lost era

As a precautionary measure, you should keep your most valuable electronic devices, like the iPad with all your survival books, in an EMP protection bag. Knowledge will be one of your most significant assets after an EMP attack and you need to protect your SHTF library. Search for any device that might have escaped the EMP attack, anything from power generators to radios.

You never know when you might need to use these items. You can also build a faraday cage to protect your electronic devices and there are multiple how-to videos on the internet. Some even suggest transforming your garage into a faraday cage to protect your car and other devices.

Dig a latrine

You need to find a location away from your home to dig a latrine. You shouldn’t use the remaining water for the toilets and you have to learn to do without. Dig a shallow trench about 4 feet long, 6 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Set aside a pile of loose topsoil to cover the waste. You can also improvise a bucket toilet if you have enough plastic bags to spare. Waste management will become a real problem after an EMP attack and you should think about how you can handle it.

Becoming self-sufficient after an EMP attack

Self-sufficiency in an urban environment will be difficult, but not impossible. You will need to grow your own food and container gardening is your best solution. You will have to throw out most of your furniture or use it as burning wood and make room for aeroponics installations. Gathering rainwater will be one of your main activities. Staying out of sight and protecting your family during the first 3-4 months following an EMP attack will be a non-stop duty.

Scavenging for supplies will require a lot of preparedness and precaution, as you will need to map the areas worth scavenging. Start with the close quarters and move further. It will depend on many factors, but one thing is sure, you need to have the proper survival knowledge.

 Bugging out after an EMP attack

Lack of electricity and communications will cripple law Enforcement. If you live in an urban area, you should expect a lot of riots and looting. It will be anarchy and the fight for food will create apocalyptic scenarios. When the supply chain is broken, an urban area will shut down faster.

Starvation will set in sooner in the cities than in rural areas. You have a maximum of 30 minutes following an EMP attack to decide if you have to bug out or bug-in. If you waste hours trying to decide what to do, it will be too late to take the specific steps required for your survival.

When bugging out, you should assume the worst

Even if you are wrong and it’s not an EMP attack, you will lose nothing. However, if you are right, you will gain valuable time. You will be able to shake off some of the “last minute stress.” You will be able to keep your calm and plan your next actions.

By assuming the worst, you will enter into survival mode faster and you will take decisions without overthinking them. You won’t wait around hoping things will get better if you start with the assumption that there is no turning back to what once was. Get out as soon and as fast as possible after an EMP attack.

You should have a bug-out alliance

Long before an EMP attack happens, you should form a coalition with the neighbors that you trust. An alliance is essential regardless if you bug-in or if you bug-out. You will not be the only one leaving and having trustworthy companions will make a huge difference. There is safety in numbers and even if you will split, later on, making it out of the city as a team is very important.

For this to work, everyone should be on the same page. You need to meet with people and form your own survival group before an EMP attack happens. Developing a community response plan for your neighborhood and having a survival group is indicated, regardless of what you prepare for. Discuss all the potential disasters scenarios with your group and make sure everyone is on board to survive as a community.

Recommended reading: How to form a survival group

Have an escape plan

Escaping to a safer location requires planning and you should have an escape plan that includes at least two routes. You should learn it and practice with every occasion. On survival forums, people described how they are testing their escape plans during holidays and city events when there is a lot of commotion. It’s an excellent way to see how fast you can make it out when an EMP attack happens.

Have a destination

Many preppers think about bugging out without having a bug out location or a specific target. They believe that taking the long road or going into the woods will keep them safe. If you don’t have a destination is better if you stay home and fortify the place. You have bigger chances of survival compared to living in the woods. Your target should be somewhere close to fresh water and natural food sources and within one to two days walk from your home.

Always plan for delays

Things don’t always work out as we plan them. You should assume that there will be delays preventing you to reach your bug out location. If you get injured, you will need to hide from looters, and there is always the randomness factor we should consider. You should have one or two temporary shelter sites along the route to your bug out location. Keep the map in your bag and plan for alternative ways if you don’t have any other choice.

Dress in layers when you bug out

You should dress in layers depending on the weather from your environment. It’s always good to have a spare change of clothing in your bug out bag. An EMP attack will not affect your health, but the weather will. You can wear or remove clothing items as the weather demands. You should have a well-equipped bug out bag that covers all your needs regarding food, water, shelter, clothing, and protection.

Make sure you can become self-sufficient after an EMP attack

Living off the grid long-term is an impossible task if you lack the proper land, fresh water, and useful tools. A threat to survival may well be your neighbors and having an isolated bug out location is preferred by many. Living off the grid requires a lot of work and a lot of knowledge (your SHTF library will come in handy).

Most importantly, living off the grid means learning to live with limitations and learning how to cooperate with nature. You need to be able to produce your own food and make sure it lasts during the winter season. You need to generate power so learning how to build a biogas generator might be a good idea. Living off the grid means you will have to start all over again and face the unknown.

Related reading: What no one tells you about living off the grid

If an EMP attack happens, most of the world will not be able to recover and only those who are prepared will survive. For some, it will mean survival of the fittest while for others prepping will be the only way.

Stay Safe and God Bless!

Other Useful Resources:

Blackout USA (EMP attack extensive prepping guide)

The LOST WAYS (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

US Water Revolution (A DIY Project to Generate Clean Water Anywhere)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis)

Bullet Proof Home (Learn how to Safeguard your Home)Save

18 thoughts on “EMP Attack Survival Guide”

  1. Thank you! I learned a lot from your article. You have a wealth of knowledge and I thank you for sharing it. My family has just started prepping ourselves and an EMP Attack is one of the first things we are preparing for. Not that I think it’ll be the attack that collapses the world but because I think it’s the most likely one.

  2. Would we get at least a 15 min warning if a man made EMP attack happened so we could try and get converter boxes disconnected and such?

    • A man made EMP attack will happen most probably during nighttime. By the time we figure out what is going on, it will already be too late for any precautionary measures.

      • I mean seriously they could sound the emergency alarm like for volcanoes or hurricanes. How long does it take for EMP attack to actually hit us do you know?

        • Seconds. If the burst is above the ground (likely) it’s going to have only a few miles to go to hit you (measured in miles per second, or faster.) Volcanoes and hurricanes are slow building events, they give signs of change long before they hit (days, months, years.) A terrorist flying at a couple of miles up wants to be the opposite, quick and stealthy.

          Most solar EMP/CME can be guessed but if a truly random event happens, the danger will take the same amount of time to get to us as it takes to see it happen.

          • Oh man, Thanks for the news. I was at least hoping for like 15 min or so. Well Poop thats not good news. Thanks again have a happy holiday:)

          • Actually, the effects would be felt at nearly the speed of light. So, if/when you see the bright light in the sky, it’s all over.

            What happens is called the Compton Effect. Gamma rays from the nuclear explosion stream towards earth at the speed of light, stripping electrons from atoms in the atmosphere, which stream towards the ground. These electrons create a magnetic field which is moving along with the electrons. Electricity is created by passing a copper wire through a magnetic field, or moving a magnetic field past a copper wire.

            It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of volts per meter of electric charge will be created. Plenty enough to fry the grid and anything attached to it.

  3. Excellent, thoroughly written post. With an EMP event being such a possibility, it is important to prepare. You have covered many topics that I never considered. I appreciate the time you put into this valuable resource. Thanks a ton for sharing!

  4. Understand that evacuating from a significantly large urban area, (200,000 people within a 15 mile radius), that has come under civil unrest pressures, is going to present you with some real and immediate dangers. Determining where unrest has created obstacles to travel will be hit and miss. And your first miss could result in your death or perhaps the total loss of possessions.

    The greater the distance needed to travel in order to reach a BOL, and the population density en route, the greater your chances of never arriving.

    Be prepared to look foolish because of an early bug out.

    • I totally agree. The only thing I would have some concern about and it certainly isn’t looking foolish is that if it weren’t necessary was to show who and what I was. I am as we speak working on a permanent BOL so my family is always as safe as it can be. Everyone needs to take this serious if they want to live. I am not as prepared as I would like to be but as long as I am working on it is better than most:) Thank you for bringing knowledge with out sarcasm and ridicule to those who are new or just ask a question. Take care my friend

    • Hello Linda,

      If someone has a peacemaker and an EMP attack happens, they have almost zero chances of making it. All sensitive medical equipment will be fried.

  5. I doubt a man made EMP attack will happen,the nuclear weapon would need to be detonated in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, far beyond the height that aircraft normally fly.

    And the effects of a single detonation would be fairly localized. So for that scenario you are talking all out nuclear conflict between nations,not a terrorist attack.

    • Really? The problem is getting the nuclear weapon, not the delivery system. A Scud missile, available on the open market, is all you need for a vertical launch a couple of hundred miles up. At that altitude, the entire USA is covered. (Think about the Scud being concealed in a cargo container on a ship in the Gulf of Mexico, right about New Orleans. Quick setup and launch. Good night, USA.)

      North Korea and Iran already have the demonstrated ability to launch a satelite into earth orbit, plenty high enough to put a bomb at the right altitude to cover the USA.

  6. Yesterday’s North Korean Missile test achieved an altitude of 342 miles high. A nuclear blast at 200 miles will knock out half the country. So a blast 200 miles high above Kansas could take out 3/4 of the US as well as a good chunk of Canada and Mexico. I blast of this type need not be over land. a ship can deliver a rocket for launching beyond our 200 mile limit – and explode there. Don’t think in terms ofa delivery system on a plane – Any missile that can be ground launched / ship launched that can achieve this altitude is clearly a threat.

    BTW you can put your phone or other electronics in your microwave – it will act as a faraday cage. or get a glavanized garbage can put it in your basement and put electronics in it – the steel will act as a faraday cage.

  7. Want to thank you for this information leave these are things I need to know there’s a lot of knowledge here do you put this in a handbook that can be purchased Survival Handbook please let me know I sure appreciate it

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