This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I'll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you.*
Though stories have been pouring out for at least 5 years about the weakness of our power grid, we are still woefully unprepared. And one of the most effective ways our enemies could cripple our power grid is with an EMP (electromagnetic pulse).
It would require a tremendous amount of energy, usually from a high-altitude location. But if a terrorist snuck a nuclear bomb into the country, it could happen.
Why is this collapse of the electric grid such an important issue? It would not merely be a power outage. It would be a collapse of the power grid across multiple states that would take years to fix. And by then, 90% of people in the affected area might be dead. How would you fare in a nation without power for one year?
Power affects many different things that we don’t normally concern ourselves with:
- Water Sanitization
- Communication Systems
- Waste Services
- Energy Production
- Food Transportation
- Military Defense
Losing just one of these things could result in chaos. Imagine if we lost all of them. By now I hope you see exactly how much an EMP would affect things outside your own walls. The loss of these services would undoubtedly spiral the nation and its citizens into chaos like nothing this world has ever seen. The good news is there are several items that will give you a fighting chance at survival after an EMP.
Fortunately, guns are not yet electronic. Almost every gun you can buy still works off very simple mechanics. It’s this simple design that makes the gun so appealing, and an EMP would have absolutely no effect on it.
Think of all the electronic items that an EMP would effect. Without them, there will be groups of terrified and desperate individuals who are willing to do almost anything to get what they need for themselves or their families. These unspeakable horrors might only be avoided if you have firearms to protect yourself.
After an EMP, you probably won’t be able to stay put for long (unless you have an impenetrable bunker or a remote cabin in the countryside). And if you’re on the move, you’re going to need plenty of paper maps. I recommend getting a good local map of your county and state. If you planning on driving a long distance, get a detailed atlas of your country.
Knowing where you are going is the next most important step. Hopefully, you have already chosen a bugout location that makes sense for your area and mode of transportation. You may not have the luxury of vehicles or GPS and this is where those hard, paper maps will come in very handy. Always keep them in your car or bug out bag for such an occasion.
3. Paper Knowledge
I know some preppers who have hundreds and even thousands of ebooks about survivalism stored on their phones, kindles, or tablets. That is fine, but after an EMP, all those devices will be useless and those ebooks will be gone forever.
Yes, you can keep them in a Faraday cage, but what if the EMP happens while you’re reading? That’s why I prefer to have several printed materials and books at my disposal.
Here is a short list of books to have in your library:
- The Lost Ways
- The Survival Medicine Handbook
- The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse
- Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
- The Encyclopedia of Country Living
4. Pre-1980 Motor Vehicles
You may think that old car your neighbor owns is obnoxious. It’s ugly and loud and not nearly as nice as your new 2017 model. But the problem with your new car is that it’s basically a computer on wheels that will fry during an EMP.
If you want to bug out of the city, you’ll need a vehicle that doesn’t have an electronic ignition or too many electronic components, which means you’ll need something from around 1980 or sooner. It depends on the model, of course–some early 80’s vehicles are okay while some late 70’s aren’t–so be sure to check before you buy or restore an old vehicle.
5. Faraday Cage
Above I mentioned a Faraday cage. In case you don’t know, it’s a container designed to insulate your electronics from EMPs. They’re actually not that hard to make. With just a little effort, you can put together a small cage that can protect electronic devices such as radios, satellite phones, small solar panels, and so forth.
If you want to protect large solar panels or other large devices such as power generators, you’ll need to build a larger cage. For example, you can use a metal trash can or a large box wrapped in foil. Here are some more ideas.
6. Hard Assets
Before there was electricity, there was gold and silver. Long after electricity, I must assume, it will be the same. The value is ancient and may yield you better results in buying food and resources than even paper money.
Ater an EMP, ATM machines will no longer work and people will have to use other things for trade. In addition to some precious metals, I would also stock up on several barter items. If a barter economy emerges, you’ll have a better chance at being able to trade for what you need.
7. Wit and Adaptation
They don’t bottle and sell these, but I can assure you that in a world of desperation, you will need more wit and adaptation than you can imagine. This is just a matter of thinking, planning, and being alert. After an EMP, there may not be any more relaxing nights in with the family.
Each night may pose a new and different challenge. Each interaction with the humans around you may require your total attention and suspicion. To survive in the post EMP landscape, you will need to be your best asset.
America’s power grid is still not prepared for a powerful EMP. An attack like this would kill us from the inside out. As I write this article, it has been confirmed that North Korea just tested 4 ballistic missiles. It’s time to get prepared.
Obviously, these aren’t the only things you would need to survive an EMP. You would also need a bug out bag, emergency food, and many other survival items. Preppers should try to prepare for as many types of disasters as possible. So if you’re a prepper, make sure you also have the items listed above. And if you’re not a prepper, get started!