image: Starfish Prime from Honolulu

I was recently emailed the question,

I am working on a paper which is based around EMP attack probabilities, and what to do if one were to occur. What would you suggest to do in such a situation for someone who is not a prepper? Also, for the prepper, what would you suggest they stock up on in this scenario?

Here’s my response:

What to do in an EMP situation for someone who is not a prepper

If by “situation” you mean after the fact (after an EMP), I would suggest (for the non-prepper) to adapt as quickly as possible to the probable reality that the modern world without the power grid, internet, and all else electronic, is going to be very difficult if not impossible to survive.

By definition, a non-prepper has not prepared and therefore likely does not possess the mindset, knowledge, or skills to survive an EMP catastrophe.

That said, a non-prepper’s best bet is to realize and accept the situation for what it is (most will not be able to come to grips with this) and to begin a rapid and honest assessment of their present situation.

It may be initially difficult to even know that ‘the event’ was an EMP for a non-prepper because most non-prepper’s don’t even know what an EMP is or what the symptoms may be. Presuming though that this particular non-prepper knows that an EMP has just brought down our modern high-tech civilization, then hopefully this person also knows that the likelihood of survival for most will be grim.

What should the non-prepper do at this point? If they’re lucky they will have a willing prepper friend that will accept them into their group. This however may be unlikely, depending on the variables of the situation (what type of person the ‘non-prepper’ is, their assets, what they can or cannot do to help the group, etc..). There will be many preppers who will not accept a non-prepper into their group after the event. This will vary of course, but don’t count on it.

Hint: Most farmers are themselves preppers of a sort, even though they may not call themselves preppers. Do you have a relative or friend on a farm? Sounds like a better place to be than suburbia… although there will soon be security issues as that farm…

That said, a non-prepper will be pretty much in VERY deep trouble in this scenario. Priorities will be acquiring a source of drinking water, safe shelter, food, and security.

An EMP of sufficient magnitude and detonation altitude will presumably destroy much, most, or all electronics below. This essentially will mean that nearly ALL goods and services will come to a grinding halt. Modern civilization as we know it will end.

How will anyone, including the non-prepper survive something like this for long?

What should a prepper stock up on in preparation for an EMP?

Wow. That’s not something that is easily listed in a short blog post. An EMP event is pretty much a worst case scenario and to survive a long lasting impact of grid-down and a damaged/destroyed electronics infrastructure will require a lifestyle change (ahead of time) such that transitioning into a world without electricity or “high tech” will be adaptable.

This will be very difficult, even for the prepper. The sheer magnitude of providing year round sustainability is lots more than most think. While you may have a water source nearby (although many will not), procuring food – enough to sustain one’s-self for a long period of time – will require tremendous effort, the right land, climate, food preservation techniques, and the right food choices to sustain human life for such a time.

Additionally, security will become an extreme issue in a very short period of time. It WILL become extreme in this worst case hypothetical scenario (especially dependent upon where you live), and it WILL be difficult to maintain superiority defending one’s “castle” under the ensuing chaos of the EMP aftermath (desperate people doing desperate things, as well as organized efforts to “take”).

Tip: Read and search this blog for all sorts of information on preparedness,

Note: EMP Category on Modern Survival Blog

Read this book for EMP preparedness motivation:
One Second After

Hopefully my short answer above will inspire the questioner to dig deeper. For someone who is concerned about EMP preparedness, I will suggest to start with the basics. Why? Because you will quickly become overwhelmed as you discover the magnitude of survival during the aftermath of such an Armageddon.

You might choose a quick fix by purchasing a ready made large quantity of survival food (see our advertisers listed on the right hand side of this page). There’s nothing wrong with that. However there will be other very big issues to deal with too. Assuming that you have acquired enough food and have a nearby water source, your biggest immediate subsequent problem will be maintaining a safe shelter – a safe home. Are you prepared to defend that? How?

And then, assuming that you survive the initial die-off and chaos, how will you sustain yourself and/or your family with enough food production throughout an entire year? What happens when your fuel runs out? How will you heat your house? Etc., etc… Not a pretty picture.

So don’t overwhelm yourself. Start somewhere. Start small if you must. Just start…

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