Explaining EMPs: How to Survive an EMP Attack at Home for Beginners

You’re in a grocery store doing your weekend shopping. It’s late, you wish you had done this earlier.

Suddenly, the lights go out.

Darkness.

Panic is rising. People are screaming. They’ve realized their cell phones don’t work.

You check your phone. Nothing.

Slowly, you make your way outside with everyone else. The whole city has gone black. There’s no light anywhere.

Peoples’ cars aren’t starting.

The threat is real. The chaos is inevitable. The damage is catastrophic.

Do you know how to survive an EMP attack?

Here’s what you need to know.

What Is an EMP Bomb?

EMP stands for Electromagnetic Pulse. A weaponized electromagnetic pulse is designed to cause chaos by wiping out all power and electronics within the effective radius.

There are two types of EMP attacks: nuclear and non-nuclear.

The least devastating EMP attack would come from a non-nuclear, or improvised, EMP Device. These have a very limited radius and only impact a localized area.

However, if these small-radius EMP devices are detonated in the right location, such as a major power plant, it can have a much larger effective range. 

Despite their non-nuclear properties, improvised EMP devices still pose a large threat because they are easy to hide. Additionally, the required components for an improvised EMP device are much easier to come by than that of a nuclear device.

A non-nuclear EMP attack has its limits. Even if an entire city’s power is shut down, the rest of the state can still respond and offer support. It would be similar to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

A well-coordinated EMP attack could produce effects of cataclysmic proportions. It would be a mess, sure. However, recovery is possible and people would not be left entirely on their own.

Nuclear EMP

The most catastrophic damage by an EMP Bomb would be caused by a nuclear explosion.

A nuclear bomb tested in 1962 by the United States disrupted and damaged electrical equipment almost 900 miles away. With the advancement of science and technology in the last 60 years, however, it’s rational to think the effective radius of a nuclear blast can achieve much greater distances.

In 2008, for example, the EMP Commission (yes it’s a real thing) reported some horrifying news. The commission theorized that an adequate nuclear device detonated at the correct altitude above the US could potentially wipe out the entire country’s power grid. 

While many scientists and experts have declared these claims unfounded and incredibly unlikely, EMPs pose a very serious threat.

Ways to Protect Your Electronics from EMP Damage

If an EMP is detonated and you are outside of the fatal blast radius of whatever device was used, you don’t need to be left helpless.

Fortunately, science and technology have found ways to protect vital equipment from EMP currents. More fortunately, those products are available to the public.

If you have never heard of Faraday EMP Bags, this might just be the most important article you read this year.

Faraday bags protect your electronics from electromagnetic fields and pulses.

Some companies, even design their bags so that they can fit inside other bags. This may seem redundant, but technology is growing and EMPs are growing more powerful.

Tech Protech recommends putting incredibly vital equipment in double bags to protect them in the event of a super-EMP.

What Will the Aftermath of a Non-Nuclear EMP Attack Be?

If placed in the right place, even an improvise EMP bomb can do severe damage. In the right location, it can shut down an entire city’s power grid.

In this scenario, you can survive the aftermath in your home.

The city will be in chaos. Stores will probably suffer hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and theft. Unfortunately, there are people out there who will take advantage of the situation.

Not fully understanding what is happening, it won’t take long for people to start looting stores. Some will be looting with the intent of stealing expensive items, while others will let panic get the better of them and loot survival equipment and food.

Those people are not completely out of line, they don’t know how much of the world has been affected by the power outage. They are just looking out for their own survival.

However, with the effects being limited to such a small location, expect help to arrive soon and order to be restored. There will be a mess of epic proportions to clean up, but the city will be salvageable.

The most important thing is to stay in your home and away from the chaos.

How to Survive an EMP Attack at Home

Food and Water

It is possible to endure a non-nuclear EMP attack in your own home. The key to your survival, safety and comfort will fall entirely on your preparedness.

First and foremost, you won’t know how long you’re going to be without access to food. Make sure your home is well-stocked with non-perishable foods. Try to have at least one month’s worth.

The food in your fridge and freezer will expire quickly. If possible, eat this food first as it won’t be edible for long.

Make sure you have plenty of water. With catastrophic power failure, the city’s water system may either lose pressure or become contaminated. Have at least a month’s worth of water as well.

Equipment and Supplies

It’s going to be important that you have necessary survival gear, even in your own home.

Should an EMP attack occur during a cold winter, you are going to be without heat and it’s going to get cold. Make sure you and your family aren’t going to be susceptible to hypothermia.

Flashlights, radios, walkie-talkies, and watches are going to be essential to have on hand. These items must be protected from the EMP blast.

As noted above, Faraday Bags will protect your electronics from the damaging pulses from an EMP detonation. They are an absolute must for any survival kit.

Safety

Deep down, we are all animals. When backed into a corner, we will do what we have to to survive.

Some people will only be violent in defensive situations while others will seek it out. To protect yourself and your family, make sure your home is well guarded. All possible entryways may need to be reinforced.

You should also set up some sort of early detection system to alert you if someone is approaching, such as tin cans attached to a fishing line.

Ensure you have some form of protection. Ideally, this would be a firearm. Hopefully, you will never have to use it, but not to have one when you need it would be devastating.

Coordination and Cooperation

Have a plan in place.

Whether it’s you and some friends or you and family, have a plan in place in case communication and power goes down.

Have a predetermined meeting location, this will limit confusion and chaos within your own group. It will also ensure valuable time isn’t wasted trying to find someone or decide on a plan in the heat of the moment.

It may sound silly and unnecessary, but you need to run drills with your family. It’s easy to remember a plan when you’re calm and comfortable. However, when adrenaline is coursing through your body,  your mind doesn’t function the same way.

Make sure your plan is engrained in every single member of your family or group. Leave nothing up to chance.

What Will the Aftermath a Nuclear EMP Attack Be?

In the event of a countrywide nuclear EMP attack, life is going to get a little rough.

Other countries will likely provide aid, but let’s be realistic. There are over 320 million people in the US, your odds of being saved are very unlikely.

If you are eventually saved, it won’t be for a very long time. Be prepared to get dug in.

The Initial Chaos

Immediately after an EMP detonation, the country is going to be in complete chaos.

Without electronics, people won’t be able to get a hold of their families or friends. There will be no calling the authorities for help.

You won’t be able to check the news to see what’s going on. You won’t be able to look anything up on the internet or ask Siri how to survive. You will be on your own.

Shortly after the initial shock, the plundering will start. Commercial stores will be hit hard.

Intelligent people will go for food, water, and survival gear. The most intelligent people will have everything they need already stowed away. Some people, however, will foolishly focus on grabbing expensive stuff that will be useless for surviving.

During this time, it’s reasonable to expect violence to break out. Especially as stores start to run out of supplies. The competition will get more and more fierce as time goes on.

After a few months, there won’t be much left to loot.

People will have formed groups by now, with the main focus being survival. However, just like in most movies and TV shows, there will be groups whose goal is to dominate other groups.

The violent groups will seek survival at the expense of others.

Be prepared to get dug in. Rescue may not be completely out of the question, however, it is still unlikely to be soon.

How to Survive a Nuclear EMP Attack at Home

Obviously, knowing how to survive an EMP attack means knowing how to prepare for one.

Protecting Your Equipment

You need to create a list of equipment that will be necessary for your survival should the power grid fail. This is where those handy Faraday Bags come in handy.

Even though a solar system will be affected by EMP currents, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a solar generator. Make sure you have extra solar panel diodes and protect them in the Faraday bag, as these are what fail in solar panels in the event of an EMP attack.

Flashlights, fire-arm equipment such as red-dot sights, extra batteries, radios, walkie-talkies, extra cell phones, and laptops can and should be stored away in Faraday bags.

Preparing a Safe Location

Having a safe location may be the most important aspect of surviving an EMP attack or any other cataclysmic event.

If you live in the middle of a large city, you’ve got problems.

With food and resources limited, survival will not be guaranteed. Your world is about to become an immensely competitive environment.

Long term survival is going to mean living in a place away from the rest of civilization. You need a place where you can grow your own food and live off the land, including a reliable water source.

A total power shut down means no operating groceries stores and no fridges or freezers. Food will not last long.

If you don’t already have a place that meets these requirements, make it happen, even if you don’t choose to live there yet.

Protection

In an extreme world, only the extreme will survive.

Part of survival means protecting yourself, your friends and your family.

As food and resources become more and more scarce, things are going to get ugly. People are going to become dangerous, especially if you have something they want.

Take the time and money to invest in self-defense classes. These are skills that could mean the difference between living and dying.

Know how to handle a gun. Learn how to shoot accurately in life-like scenarios. FYI, standing or sitting indoors while meticulously aiming between shots with no cover is not life-like.

Getting used to shooting as you would at an indoor gun range will get you killed.

Secondly, know how to handle a knife and other hand-held weapons. Unfortunately, bullets have the audacity of only being able to be used once. You’re going to need to know what to do once the gun runs dry.

Finally, hand-to-hand combat can save your life. Knowing how to get out of holds or avoid punches and deliver your own is going to be important.

It’s better to have something and not need it than need something and not have it.

Don’t leave you and your family’s safety up to chance.

What is the Likelihood of an EMP Attack

In the event of a massive EMP attack, 90% of the American population would be wiped out. Therefore, it is vital that you learn how to survive an EMP attack.

Keep in mind that in order to produce an EMP wave powerful enough to affect all of the US, a nuclear detonation is required. Therefore, even without the EMP effects, mass destruction would be imminent.

The likelihood of nuclear war is contested across the board.

With more and more countries and groups gaining access to nuclear technology, some say it’s inevitable.

Others say it is very unlikely, stating that the benefits of engaging in a nuclear war would not be worth the backlash the initiating group would receive in return.

Whatever camp you pitch your tent in, one thing is certain. If you are not prepared, your loved ones will most likely become casualties.

You owe it to yourself and your family to be prepared.

If you have any more questions about EMP bombs, EMP preparation, or EMP protective gear, visit our blog

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