4 Steps to Take Immediately After EMP

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?

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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!

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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
  • GPS
  • Cell phones
  • The internet
  • Modern cars and vehicles (they rely on electrical components)
  • Radios
  • Flashlights
  • 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 (Amazon link).

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.

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 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.

Are you taking steps to prepare for EMP?  Let us know in the comments below or join the discussion on Facebook.

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  1. Most concerning is to get home . If cars are running that will probably get you there , great . If only some types of cars moving you will walk or need something to swap for a ride . The danger factor just went up . What do you have to trade , do you know them ? Are you prepared to keep what you have? If you need to run to the store when this happens than go now. A coworker laughed at me for all the stuff I carrie with me just being nine miles from home when working , I just smiled l. I told him if I don’t need it , barter . If I do I have it. The further I go from home the more carry. The boyscout motto be prepared is what it is for a reason. My motto “ stay calm buy ammo” something to think about.

  2. How would you move to a safer area if cars stopped working due to emp? Would bike be safe? Or something self build that doesn’t get affected by emp? That’s my biggest fear : not being able to leave if we have to or being able to bring all the food/medical supplies/guns with us. How do you do all that :/

    • Did you ever test out if your microwave can leak radiation? If it leaks radiation, it will also RECEIVE information. Perfect for an EMP condition (sarcasm). If the microwave is such a good EMP proof device, why is it then, when you place your phone in the microwave and call it, does it ring? Just to remove the possibility of my microwave being a statistical outlier, I went to my local Lowe’s and Home Depot were I did the same test. I have tried this on brand new LG, Samsung, Toshiba, and Sony Microwaves. And when I put my phone (T-Mobile 4G network phone) in the microwave, it rang every time. I retested it. Again, every single microwave failed this test btw. So you should probably use a faraday bag around your device, if you are whimsical enough to even attempt this. So in lieu of your device in the microwave, it would be the same result if you put it in the toaster, because in either instance, your device would be toast. lol

      Now, I will say that every single metal refrigerator DID stop the phone call from going through. And when I quickly opened the door to get my phone, the UI on my phone said “No Network”.

      So what can be gleaned from this experiment? First, do as Tony Soprano did and put the phone next to the Capicola and Salami (lol) before you meet with the mob boss, don’t stand next to a microwave when you are reheating your mama’s lasagna, and don’t do anything risky with your equipment without testing it out for yourself. Take the information here and try it for yourself. I don’t want you to believe me. I want you to invest in the time to do it for yourself so you can find out for yourself that I am not full of ****. And then when you do, just wish me sweet dreams with lots of cannoli. Ciao! 🙂

  3. Has anyone who has built a faraway cage ever tested one.I would think as long as a item is in a sealed plastic bag electric or magnetic pulse would not make a ground.A strong magnetic field would magnetized the outside of the metal casing of a faraday cage.

  4. Once you have filled up your bathtubs, sinks, and other containers, it is a good precaution to add 8 drops of Clorox Bleach for every one gallon of water. This purifies it so you don’t have to worry about disease or contamination.

    • A tested rubber swimming pool that fits your basement or other extra room is a better plan. In an EMP event, fill that to the brim well hidden from view of prying eyes. A few lifestraws or hand held pump water purifiers is all you need. They can clean thousands of gallons. Make sure filter can be cleaned by reversing the flow.

      I might add that bathtubs have many utility options you may need to use it for in an event like this. Many households only have 1. If you have more than one sure, it’s a great option.

      *Pick up some food grade plastic barrels to catch water from down spouts!

      • Also noteworthy, a gallon of scentless bleach can purify 100s of gallons of water. Your swimming pool will need these supplies to keep the water balanced anyway, but you should also have chlorine tablets and a water tester.

        Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water.
        Volume of Water Amount of 6% Bleach to Add* Amount of 8.25% Bleach to Add*
        1 gallon 8 drops 6 drops
        2 gallons 16 drops (1/4 tsp) 12 drops (1/8 teaspoon)

  5. My husband works for the water authority in our area. He says the information you have about boiling tap water is unnecessary unless there’s a break in the line. There are millions of gallons in a reserve tank and if that ran out, the water would simply stop flowing. This is a government mandated requirement for all U.S.water treatment plants. Just trying to clarify.

    • Interesting info Alice, thanks for sharing that. Not sure this is common knowledge though, do you have a link to an official source on this?

    • TAKE NOTE:
      This depends on where you live and is not the case everywhere. This is NOT the correct answer for every city and every water system. A lot of infrastructure in the U.S. (including water) extremely old and already on the brink.


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