If an EMP attack occurred in the United States, it could send our modern world back into the ages that existed before the industrial revolution. I am often amazed by how little anyone knows about EMP attack potential. In recent weeks, EMP attack potential has made its way into the news due to North Korea threatening to EMP attack the United States. What’s worse? While North Korea is commonly a windbag, in the case of their capability to carry out an EMP attack on the United States, they are bit more grounded in reality than usual. But specific cases regarding the potential for EMP attacks isn’t what we are talking about now. What we want to go over in this article is what is an EMP attack? What are EMP attack targets? How to survive an EMP attack.
What Is An EMP Attack?
An EMP attack is an explosion of electromagnetic energy. It is caused when charged particles burst into the ionosphere. Solar storms, nuclear weapons, and even good old-fashioned lightning can enable an EMP charge and result in an EMP burst. Now, we would not consider lightning activity or a solar storm to necessarily be an EMP attack. But, for the sake of simplicity and in order to understand how to survive an EMP attack, we will group them. An EMP attack is more specific. For example, North Korea could send a nuclear weapon well into our stratosphere and set it off above the United States. The EMP charge would effectively disable much of our modern technology.
When a particle surge is sent into the ionosphere, it will cause electrical based technology to short circuit. When we think of an EMP attack, the main concern is our power grid. Our power grid runs from power transformers. If you’ve ever watched a tornado, hurricane or earthquake footage, those big bursting flashes in the night sky are often the result of transformers blowing up. Sometimes, power companies will short the transformers themselves, other times, the power emanated from the catastrophic force of nature prompts the event.
An EMP charge can essentially bring down major airline carriers (so no, you would not want to be flying during one). They can cause power lines to explode.
Many people believe that EMP attacks are the word of conspiracy theorist. They are wrong.
An EMP attack in the United States is a very real and substantial threat. If you are not an EMP prepper, you likely will be by the end of this article. In 1859, an EMP attack likely occurred. It is known historically as the Carrington Event. Astronomer Richard Carrington is the basis for the name as he was a scientific onlooker to the event. This is covered in-depth on National Geographic. It was the result of a solar storm. When the Carrington Event happened, the northern lights were able to be seen all the way from Honolulu and even, reportedly, Cuba. Both of those destinations being so far south puts on the display of EMP. Telegraph operators in the United States have claimed that sparks burst from their devices. Imagine what that would mean for today’s modern technologically based world? We are more than telegraphs, our survival now depends on devices.
The Star Fish Prime test of 1962 is another EMP incident on record. The United States government launched a nuclear missile over the Pacific ocean, but the warhead emitted powerful EMP currents and took the government off guard. It was not intentional, but Hawaii’s lighting systems began to fail. Imagine driving down a road and all the lights, including stoplights, fail.
There have been nitrates found in ice shelves that have been considered evidence of ancient solar flare EMP distribution. Because an EMP incident can occur both militarily and naturally, our modern world is excessively prone to an EMP attack.
But isn’t our power grids protected from an EMP attack?
No, they aren’t. And this is where that big bag of truth hits you right over the top of the head. Expect it to hurt. If our power grid is attacked by an EMP event either naturally or militarily, it will crash for months and probably years. The modern world would plunge into a cave of lightlessness immediately. We couldn’t get clean water. Food delivery would crash. Your bank account would be dead. There’d be no money other than the currency, by way of cash or gold or silver or trade, that you have on you. You’d have no protection from violence other than yourself.
“I think that would be a bare beginning,” said James Woolsey, a former CIA chief from the 90s. “Most of the estimates I hear from people [to strengthen] the grid and the web as a whole is in the tens of billions.”
And we aren’t really working that hard to fix the situation.
The take away: An EMP attack can be a natural disaster or a strategic act of war by a foreign organization. An EMP attack has the potential to devastate our modern society. An EMP attack is capable of sending us directly to a dystopian world in a matter of just a few moments. To prep for an EMP attack, you prep for the potential of years worth of survival time.
What Are EMP Attack Targets?
Major cities and urban areas are susceptible to EMP attack fallout. The North Koreans have threatened to take out our entire country via an EMP attack. Nowhere is safe. Remember, a terrorist could essentially “dirty bomb” EMP attack a populated area. By taking out local power, criminals or terrorists give themselves a lot of opportunities to carry out further criminal acts.
How To Survive An EMP Attack
If you live in a city that is attacked via EMP, I suggest you grab your bug out bag and hit the road if possible. Make sure you have some MRE Meal packs for your bag because you will need to eat, even in the short term. The other solution is that you prepped your home with food, water, and security (more on this below). Three things are going to happen in the following moments of an EMP attack.
- There will be no power, which means food will begin to spoil
- Water may stop working
- Communications will be down
Let’s deal with each of these because they will serve as the most urgent issues.
Have prepper food storage ready to go. You can achieve this either with true prepper food storage products such as Chef’s Banquet 30 day emergency food survival found on Amazon, or you can create food storage using canned foods. I have a prepper food list you can refer to as well. There is also the option for heirloom seeds. This is truly a personal choice. The prepper food companies make it easier, but canned foods will do just as well. If you choose to use canned foods, make darn sure you understand how long they last and rotate the cans as you collect more so you understand which cans are the oldest. When it comes to food, you will need short term solutions first:
- In the short-term, eat what you can before it spoils.
- In the long-term, you will need to utilize your food storage plan.
- Food storage can cost a bit, but you could just order some every month rather than buy years of food storage all at once.
Water is essential. Without water, you die. It really is that simple. So you MUST have a water plan. It should include an ability to purify water (I suggest water purification tablets) and possibly stored water. You should also have water filters such as a Berkey bottle on hand. I know too many preppers who simply don’t prep for water supply enough. There are too many instances that can compromise our water, an EMP attack is just one case. You can read my best survival water filter guide as well.
Device a bug out plan now. This can solve your communication issue, also. When you come up with a bug out plan, you not only forecast your potential escape routes, you also share this plan with family and friends. This can help you establish a meeting place so that everyone can be reunited. You might consider looking into a bug out vehicle as well.
How To Survive An EMP Attack – Long Term
In terms of the long-term: Civilization may go the way of dystopia. The cold hard reality is that people who become desperate are likely to use violence as a way to benefit their own survival. I know people don’t always enjoy talking about weapons (even preppers, believe it or not), but in this case, you may not survive if you don’t have a way to defend yourself. I recommend you read my best SHTF gun article. In short, there are several takeaways from that article.
- Buy an affordable SHTF gun
- Stockpile ammo for that gun
- Learn how to use that gun (this should be first, honestly)
Additionally, and as I mention in that SHTF gun article, you may need to hunt for food. Maybe this isn’t an immediate concern, but as weeks, months and years mount, it might become reality. Your SHTF gun should be able to take down an animal at long range.
I also believe you should have one of the better fixed blade survival knives. Not completely for self-defense, but more because you will need a knife that can potentially cut rope, wire, carve spears, skin an animal for food.
You should also prep for long term medications. Do you have any need for prescription medications? You may need long term solutions for antibiotics, such as fish antibiotics. Here is an herbal antibiotic guide on Amazon that might help you figure this situation out.
If you live in the city, get out
Following an EMP attack, you do not want to be anywhere near urban areas. Urban areas are ultra-reliant on the electrical grid. Without functioning power, civil unrest such as looting and violent attacks are likely to erupt with immediacy. Those without means will see the downed power grid as opportunity. As days go on, people will get hungry and thirsty. Cities such as New York City may become impossible to leave after a given period of time. While NYC has tough gun laws, I doubt that the criminals and thugs have been compliant (just a guess, friends). You should get out of the city even if that means by walking.
Places such as grocery stores and pharmacies will be ground zero for violence so stay away. Police and fire department responders will be incapacitated and you won’t be able to rely on them. Hence, have your self-defense situation worked out.
You Can EMP Proof Your Bug Out Vehicle
Yep, if you are willing and motivated, you can create a bug out vehicle that can endure an EMP attack. Why is this important? Well, remember, if you have a modern vehicle that opens doors or starts the engine with an electrical device, that vehicle may be useless to you. An EMP proofed vehicle would be an old school vehicle that doesn’t rely on any modern technology to run it.
You Can EMP Proof Your Electronics
If you heed the warnings and advice in this article, you should now know how to survive an EMP attack, both for the short and long-term. Remember, most people will not prepare. By taking even a few preparations, you increase your prospect for survival ten-fold.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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