Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is the most pressing threat facing the modern world right now. It could happen from a nuclear bomb, an EMP weapon, or it could happen from a solar flare. In fact, IT HAS HAPPENED in the past and it is just a matter of time before it happens again. Will you know what steps to take when EMP hits?
What Will Happen After EMP?
I’ve talked about EMP a lot on this blog, and the possible repercussions. The problem is that no one can predict for sure what will happen after EMP. First, there is the issue of what kind of EMP it will be. If we are talking about EMP from a nuclear blast, I’d be more worried about fallout than the power outages! If it were an EMP weapon, the aftermath would vary depending on factors like the size of the attack.
EMP from solar flares has occurred numerous times in the past. In 1972, a solar flare took out all long-distance telephone communications throughout all of Illinois. In 1989, a solar flare caused 6 million people to lost power for 9 hours. But these were just small solar flares.
In a worst-case scenario, we would see total outages of:
- Electrical grid
- Cell phones
- The internet
- Modern cars and vehicles (they rely on electrical components)
- Pretty much all electrical devices
That means NO electricity for your home, NO heating, NO internet, No phones. Banking records would be wiped out and you’d have no way of accessing your money. We wouldn’t be able to pump gas anymore. Without refrigeration and gas for transportation, most food production would come grinding to a halt.
Basically, the entire economy could collapse and we’d have total chaos.
Former CIA director and spy Valerie Plame warns that modern life in America could be wiped out for 18 months. Other sources put the number at 10 years. And the United States is completely unprepared for EMP.
Steps to Take Immediately After EMP
1. Group with Your Family/Team
The first thing to do is get in contact with all of your family members or team members. Hopefully you already have a communication plan in place, and have run drills on it. Remember that your cell phones and landline phones might not work. You will need to have a backup communication system, such as two-way radios which you keep in EMP bags (which should protect against the blast).
Cars will probably work after an EMP blast. But they might not. So also have a plan about how your family will gather at the meeting spot. For example, if a disaster occurs while my daughter is at kindergarten, she knows to stay put until I come and get her. If our car isn’t working, I’ve got a bike with a kid’s seat I could use to get her and bring her back home. What if it is a much farther journey? The Prepper Journal has a good article about how to get home when it is 700 miles away.
2. Gather Info
Before you go Bug Out in the wilderness or start building a fortress around your house, you need to determine how bad the EMP blast was. One simple way of gathering info is simply to look outside. Do you see any lights on? Can you still hear traffic flowing? Are there any signs of chaos? You’ll also want to try all of your devices. Test the cell phone that you’ve got in an EMP bag and try to call someone across town. If you can’t reach anyone across town, try a contact which is across the state, and then across the country.
You should also have a radio in your EMP bag. You can turn it on and get updates about the disaster – assuming the EMP hasn’t taken out all stations within signals in range of your radio.
3. Bug Out or Hunker Down?
Based on the info you gather, you will have to decide whether it is better to Bug Out to some remote location, or to Hunker Down (stay put).
For most people, it will probably be better to Hunker Down. It will simply be too difficult to travel long distances with your family/team and then live off of your wits. If you are going to Bug Out though, you better do it quickly! Get out before gangs of looters start attacking, and before the roads get too congested. Grab your Bug Out Bag and GO!
If you do decide to stay, then follow the next steps to take after EMP:
4. Hunkering Down Steps
These are the steps to follow if you decide to stay put at home instead of Bugging Out into the wilderness or a survival retreat.
- Buy Supplies: The stores will likely still be working for a while after EMP. Go and spend all the cash you have on supplies. Hopefully you already have food and water stockpiled (see this list of what to stockpile), because the supermarket is going to be crazy. Instead, use your cash to buy other supplies like tools, wood (for boarding up your home), buckets, and first aid items. Also stock up on barter items.
- Fill Up Water: You should have water stockpiled, but it isn’t going to be enough! Take the extra step of filling up your bathtub with water, and filling up any empty bottles you have in the house with water. The water might not be working much longer!
- DO NOT DRINK TAP WATER: Don’t drink tap water without purifying it first! This applies to non-EMP blackouts as well. During power blackouts, the water treatment plants can’t operate and diseased water might come through the taps.
- Get In Contact with Your Neighbors: Even if you think you can “lone wolf” it, you are better off with your neighbors on your side. Strength in numbers! I’ve already talked to my neighbors about disaster planning and we’ve got a community plan in place. If you don’t, then you will want to quickly go over to your neighbors and calmly tell them what to expect. You’ll need them on your side instead of banging at your door to steal your supplies!
- Take Stock of Your Gear: Unless you’ve built a large Faraday cage, probably a good deal of your gear is unprotected and might have been damaged by the EMP. Take stock of it all and see what works.
- Start Building Your Defenses: In any wide-scale disaster, one of the first things to happen is looting. Don’t wait a second longer than necessary to protect your home by boarding up windows, securing doors, and setting up weapons and other defenses.