What once was something we could only imagine is now something we need to prepare for.
I’m talking about an EMP event.
In 2011, Newt Gingrich raised the alarm about EMPs and how damaging one would be to the United States.
Gingrich said, “This could be the kind of catastrophe that ends civilization — and that’s not an exaggeration. […] The reason I began focusing on this a decade ago is there are very few events you can’t recover from. […] This creates such a collapse of our fundamental productive capacity that you could literally see a civilization crash and tear itself apart fighting … internally.”
While many initially dismissed Gingrich’s fears of an EMP event, people are now starting to pay attention and take action.
Even the United States government is preparing for an EMP event.
The United States National Security has hosted events entitled The EMP Threat: The State of Preparedness against the Threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Event.
And President Trump signed an Executive Order for Resilience Against Electromagnetic Pulses in 2019.
According to Energy.gov, "The E.O. directs action in five areas to reduce the risk that EMPs pose to U.S. critical technology and infrastructure systems: (1) identify national critical functions and associated priority critical infrastructure at greatest risk from EMPs; (2) improve understanding of EMP effects; (3) evaluate approaches to mitigate the effects of EMPs; (4) strengthen critical infrastructure to withstand the effects of EMPs; and (5) improve national response to EMP events."
In other words, Gingrich was on to something. We should prepare for EMPs.
Sooner rather than later if you consider Gingrich’s tweet last week:
“The Chinese Communist balloons could be trial runs for low visibility deliver of devastating EMP weapons.”
It is important to recognize that China has been reported to possess super EMPs.
Forbes reports, "China now has super-EMP weapons, knows how to protect itself against an EMP attack, and has developed protocols to conduct a first-strike attack, even as they deny they would ever do so. […] China used stolen U.S. technology to develop at least three types of high-tech weapons to attack the electric grid and key technologies that could cause a surprise ‘Pearl Harbor’ attack that could produce a deadly blackout to the entire country."
While unfortunately it’s not in our power to prevent EMP events, we can take steps today to prepare.
What Causes an EMP Event
The first thing you can do is understand what an EMP is and what causes it.
EMP stands for electromagnetic pulse.
Energy.gov explains that EMPS are "temporary electromagnetic signals that can disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems across large areas."
EMP events can be caused by man or by nature.
In nature, solar storms can cause EMP events, which would affect large areas of the earth’s surface.
Now, imagine the damage that could be inflicted by a man-made targeted EMP attack.
According to Insider, "Nuclear EMPs — if a detonation is large enough and high enough — can cover an entire continent and cripple tiny circuits inside modern electronics on a massive scale, according to U.S. government reports. The power grid, phone and internet lines, and other infrastructure that uses metal may also be prone to the effects."
What to Expect after an EMP Event
When an EMP event happens, you can expect chaos.
Even if the EMP only affects a small portion of the United States, that section of the United States will function as if it was hit by a natural disaster.
No electricity for weeks or months, empty grocery shelves, people unable to escape because of no fuel or ATMs, looting, rioting, crippled roads, etc.
If the EMP event was big enough to affect a larger portion of the country, we might find ourselves thrown back in time.
We may see the entire grid go down, unusable cell phones and GPS systems, broken-down vehicles, and more.
Steps to Take Immediately after an EMP Event
Since you are reading this Survival Scout, we are going to assume you are one of the few Americans who practice preparedness. Therefore, we won’t spend much time today discussing what you should do BEFORE an EMP event.
Instead, we’re specifically focusing on what you should do immediately AFTER an EMP event to boost your chances of survival.
Get home ASAP. And we mean ASAP. If you’re not at home when an EMP hits and your car still works, get home before traffic piles up and chaos ensues. If your car doesn’t work, grab your go-bag from your car and walk home. If you have kids at school or daycare, get to them as soon as possible, and then head home.
- Buy supplies. Make sure you have cash in your go-bag (use an EMP Faraday go bag for bonus points). As you make your way home, stop wherever you can and get more supplies – food, water, and batteries. Even if you have these in your supply at home, you can NEVER have enough. And, if you do have enough, you can barter these items later.
- Check for electrical fires. EMPs fry electrical devices, which can result in fires. Check your home. Look for embers. Also, check your neighborhood and surrounding areas as well for scorched transformers, downed power lines, etc. Take your fire extinguisher with you!
Check your electronics. Ideally, you will have protected your most precious electronics ahead of time by storing them in Faraday Bags. If you have, you know those are okay. Go through all your useful electronics and see what works and what doesn’t. If you haven’t put electronics in a Faraday bag, hurry and place them inside one today.
- Do NOT drink tap water. Purify it first. Water treatment plants may not operate, and that means, water won’t be purified. Investing now in water filtration systems means you’ll have purified drinking water should an EMP attack occur.
- water bank to help store water in your bathtub.
- Turn on the radio for info. Tune in to your hand-crank or solar-powered weather radio to find out what is happening. If the EMP is the result of a nuclear disaster, you will need to take additional safety measures.
- Check your vehicles and hide those that work. Check all vehicles (including ATVs and RVs) to see if they work. If they do, HIDE them as working vehicles will be a hot commodity and people will want them. Put them in the garage, behind the house, anywhere you can that they are out of sight.
- Shelter in place until you have more information. Until you know what has caused the EMP event, you should shelter in place. For example, if it is the result of a nuclear disaster, you will need to avoid the fallout to survive. If the EMP event was a man-made attack, you might need to avoid specific places. No matter the reason, you will need to know what is happening outside your door before you exit it. The roads may be impassable, and chaos may reign.
- Decide whether to bug in or bug out. Use the information available to you to decide if it is wiser to bug in or bug out. If you live in an urban area, you can bet that it will be total chaos, and you’ll probably want to grab your bug-out bag and get to a safer location. If you live in a rural area, it might be better to shelter in place.
- Gather emergency gear and food. Grab your emergency supplies and look in your pantry. Take inventory of what you already have and make notes of what you need. Hide everything you can.
Start rationing food ASAP. Start by eating perishables first, then move on to your long-term emergency food. Create a ration chart and make sure the entire family understands the importance of sticking to the plan.
- Take radiation pills. If there is the slightest indication the EMP event was the result of a nuclear event, now is the time to take Potassium Iodide Anti-Radiation Tablets. Not sure? Now is the time to use the RADTriage50 Personal Radiation Dosimeter to check radiation exposure.
- Dig a latrine and landfill. Sanitation is critical for survival. Dig a latrine in the backyard. Same thing for your trash.
- Build defenses at home. Disasters often cause people to act out of sorts. Protect your home and family by boarding windows and securing doors. Hide supplies.
Don’t panic, stay vigilant, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply