Of all the potential disasters that face us, an EMP is probably the scariest and the most dangerous. While there are plenty of other TEOTWAWKI events that can cause grave problems, none seem to have been studied as thoroughly as an EMP. After all the government established a commission to study it; they haven’t done that for the Yellowstone super-volcano. And the EMP Commission’s study determined that as much as 90% of the population would die in the wake of it.
Part of what makes an EMP such a scary proposition is how completely it would change life as we know it. Without electricity and without the prospects of electricity being restored any time quickly, we would have to adapt to an extremely different “new normal” very quickly, if we expect to survive.
How well we are prepared is going to have a lot to do with our ability to survive the years following the EMP, both in the sense of how well we can survive and how long we can survive. That preparation doesn’t actually have to stop when the power goes off, as it will take time for others to know what has happened. In fact, you might end up being the one that has to let them know what has happened.
But before you do that, there are a few other things you should do:
#1. Verify the Facts
It’s probably going to be hard at first to tell if an EMP actually happened, or if it was a normal power outage. For the average person, sitting in their home or office, the two don’t really look all that different. The real difference, besides the cause, is in the scope of the EMP. Normal power outages don’t affect the whole country.
So the first thing to do is determine whether it really is an EMP, by attempting to check and see how far-reaching the power outage is. This will be tricky, as your local power will be out, impeding your ability to communicate with the rest of the world. Nevertheless, try the communications means you have, attempting to make calls to friends and relatives who live far away, and checking HAM radio for any news.
In addition, check out the battery-operated electronics around your home and whether or not your car runs. If they work, it doesn’t necessarily disprove that an EMP has happened, as there is some disagreement about what electronics could survive. But if it doesn’t work, it’s more evidence that an EMP has occurred.
#2. Take Care of Your Family
If your family is scattered at work and school, then it will be necessary to get everyone home. Hopefully you have a plan in place for that, where everyone knows that they need to head home. IF not, you’ll need to go round them up. If your car doesn’t run, that means doing so on foot.
The problem with going to round your family up, is that doing so will keep you from doing other things you need to. So unless you have small children who you need to pick up from school, you need to work to eliminate this action item, by making sure that everyone knows under which circumstances they need to head home and making sure that they have the means to do so.
#3. Your Water Supply
In most cases, the water pressure in our pipes comes from water tanks. With that being the case, water won’t stop flowing right away. But it will stop flowing within a day or so. Don’t assume that water flowing right after the EMP means that you’re going to continue to have water. Instead, take advantage of it and fill every water container you have, every bathtub you have and if you have a swimming pool and it’s not filled, fill that too.
#4. What Do You Do with Your Cash?
At first, stores will still accept cash, even if their cash registers are down and they can’t take credit cards. The problem is going to be that they probably won’t know what anything is worth, without their cash registers being able to read the bar codes and give them a price. Because of this, your chances might be better at small, local stores, than the big chains.
Nevertheless, whatever cash you do have on hand is going to lose its value within days, if not hours. So you may as well try and use it while you can. Go to whatever local stores you can get to and buy anything you might be able to use, especially non-perishable food.
One way to overcome shop owners’ reluctance to sell, without knowing the retail price of what’s on their shelves, is offering to pay too much. Remember, that money is going to be worth nothing in a few hours, so anything you get for it is to your benefit, even “overpaying”. Offer them enough and you’ll probably convince them to sell.
#5. Your Survival Team
If your survival team doesn’t already live together, this is the time to gather them. Hopefully you’ve got a survival retreat already selected and prepared, which is big enough for your whole team. After all, if your team isn’t together, how can you call it a team? What good can you do for one another?
#6. Put Your Survival Plans into Effect
Regardless of where your survival retreat is, in town or in the country, this is the time to go there. If you’ve determined that it truly Is an EMP, then you know what to expect. There will be a general breakdown of society, as people come to grips with the fact that they can’t find the things they need. You’ll be better off out in the country, in a remote survival retreat, than you will be in the city.
Of course, getting to that survival retreat may be difficult, especially if your car isn’t working. It will be even worse, if you have to move a lot of stuff with you. That might require several trips on foot, even with using some sort of a cart to transport your things.
#7. Establish Security
At the beginning, there probably won’t be any security problems to speak of, other than normal criminal activity. The real risk will happen once supplies run out and people begin to get desperate. Nevertheless, you’ll want to establish your security and get in the swing of keeping things safe as soon as possible. There’s always the chance that existing criminals will see the situation as an opportunity and try to take advantage of it.
Keep in mind that there will probably be a mass migration, once people in the city run out of supplies. When that happens, they’ll come knocking on your door, looking for food and other things they need. That’s when you’re really going to need your security. It will take a few days, maybe even a couple of weeks before that happens, but you want to be ready when it does.
#8. As Far as the Rest Goes
Once you’ve done everything you can to make sure that you and your survival team is as ready as you can be, you should tell others about what is happening. Some would certainly say that you should do that sooner, so as to give everyone else as much chance as possible to prepare, but to put it bluntly, those people aren’t your responsibility. Even now, after having taken care of yourself and your team, there are many who would say that it’s not your responsibility to take care of those others.
The people I’m recommending you tell about the EMP are those in positions of authority. While you may have trouble getting in to see them and they may not believe you, there’s a chance that you will be providing an important confirmation to what they already suspect. Just be ready to back up your statements, with the investigation and evidence that you have collected.
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