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 flashlight. Once you get outside 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 main cause of these events. Most of them go unnoticed, but massive pulses can destroy some of the sensitive electronic devices. A large EMP attack can destroy the transformers that regulate our power grid and it creates a chain reaction that can destroy humanity itself. Before you make an EMP attack survival plan, you must know how probable an EMP attack is and how it’s created.
Which are the main 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 and it’s a major 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 large solar storm were to hit Earth, the EMP pulse will cause transformers to short and it will destroy our power grid. It seems that major news channels don’t take this threat seriously and 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 and although it didn’t had such a big impact at that time, it will be another story in today’s modern times. This is a serious threat that most people are not aware off. Even more, most of the US citizens haven’t even heard of an EMP attack survival plan and they have no clue of what to do in the eventuality of such 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 effects 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 and 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. The components needed to create a small but effective EMP device are readily available and the man power/knowledge is being acquired by terrorists groups and extremists. Isis extremists are constantly kidnaping 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 can’t win unless they strike at the core of our needs (power, supplies and security) and detonating an EMP on American soil is their main goal.
As for EMPs caused by the sun, at the moment NASA is keeping an eye on the solar activity and experts are constantly 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 large burst. They keep telling the government that people should learn how to protect themselves from an EMP attack because such 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 threats should be considered and should be taken into account in my opinion.
What would happen during an EMP attack?
There are scenarios 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, but 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 the 1960 both the United States and the Soviet Union have raced in conducting multiple high-altitude nuclear tests. The US Strategic Command is constantly 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.
There are disaster scale models being theorized for the United States and according to some of them between 250,000 to 500,000 deaths will occur immediately following a large 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 and they will depend on your environment. An EMP attack has no effect on the human body and depending 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 a large 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.
Related reading: Disaster strikes – To stay or to go?
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 about 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.
Related article: Best foods to hoard when the power goes out
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 attacks occours 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 you 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.
Related reading: Home defense at it’s finest
Gather and distribute weapons
Sooner or later you will have to make use of every weapon you can find. Guns and ammunition play an important 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 greatest 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 closer quarters and move further. It will depend on many factors, but one thing is certain, you need to have the proper survival knowledge.
Bugging out after an EMP attack
Lack of electricity and communications will cripple law Enforcement and 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 and 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 and 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 in 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 an alliance with the neighbors that you trust. An alliance is important 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 a good 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 destination. They think 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 destination 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 and you should assume that there will be delays preventing you to reach your bug out location. You can 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 routes 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 and it’s always good to have a spare change of clothing in your bug out bag. An EMP attack will not have an effect on 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 in terms of 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 produce 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 will happen, 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!
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