Common-sense emergency preparedness from a combat veteran

How to survive an EMP/CME – Part 3: How to prepare

The threat of an EMP/CME to our society is very real and most people and governments are woefully unprepared. Here's what you should do to start preparing. - the first two parts of this series, we looked at what an EMP is, and what effects it would have on us. In the final part, I’ll look at some things you can do to be prepared should we ever experience one.

Now for those of you who are hoping for a detailed check list of what you can do, I’m sorry to disappoint you. But as I mentioned in the previous two articles, there are simply too many variables and unknowns to accurately know what could happen.

And each person’s situation will be different. If you asked me what you should pack for vacation, I could tell you to take your swimwear, a beach towel, water shoes instead of flip flops, and some sunscreen. Well that isn’t sound advice if you want to go to Aspen Colorado for a week of snow skiing. (This is why I don’t tell people what to pack in their bug out bag, other than some general items.)

Instead, I want to give you a few “What-ifs”; some possible scenarios for you to think about. And I’ll offer some general knowledge on EMP preparedness. But ultimately, it is YOU who is responsible for your well-being. To me, being prepared is more about becoming self-reliant than it is following someone else’s check list.

Preppers stop and think all the time about what they would do if their power grid goes down. Books have been printed on it.
Hundreds of articles have been written on it. But how many of them talk about what would happen if the grid went down in areas other than your own?

I mentioned that the US power grid is divided into 4 sections. What happens should the grid go out in one or two sections, but not yours? For the time being, you still have your car and a running refrigerator. But stop and think about the impact of that versus you being in the middle of the affected area.

The price of fuel would sky rocket, especially if the affected areas included large numbers of oil refineries. So you MIGHT still be able to obtain fuel, but at what cost?

What about food? Even if a large portion of the US’s farm land wasn’t hit, the food distribution would be turned on its ear.

How would it affect cell service? The internet? Communications? Just because your TV works doesn’t mean that you can watch what was going on.

If the effects hit a coast, be it east or west, many of the items we need in our daily lives are shipped from overseas into ports that now have no power. Things like medical equipment/medicines, and machinery parts now can’t get into the country, or are severely limited. (Include fuel shipments as well.)

The economy would most likely tank…or at least take a HUGE dive. Private sector jobs could dry up overnight. So now you have a car and running water, but no job.

And banks? Your savings accounts?

This is just the tip of the ice berg.

Ok, let’s take this in a different direction. Say that an EMP doesn’t hit the US, but instead hits a big part of Asia. China…Japan…the Koreas. That would have HUGE implications on the global economy. I’m not an economist, so I’m not qualified to even venture a guess as to the impacts. But I know it would be bad.

How else could it impact us?

Say that half of China is affected. The costs to them would be enormous. As a result China wants to call in the $1.25 trillion dollar debt owed to them by Uncle Sam. Now what?

In addition, China losing say, half their grid, would directly impact their projection as a world leader and major influence in the region. How would they respond?

How would the completely unpredictable North Koreans respond?

What happens to the global climate when the nuclear reactors in that region no longer have power to run their cooling systems? We could eventually have multiple nuclear reactors in meltdown if the backup diesel generators run out of power.

Ok, now imagine that instead of Asia, an EMP hit Europe. Again, global economic implications that I cannot even begin to fathom. And the same possible issues with nuclear reactors in the region.

Much like China, if Russia lost a large portion of its grid, how would they respond?

What if Russia is largely unaffected, but a large portion of the rest of Europe is hit? Do the Russians now feel even more emboldened to pursue former territory? If so, many of those countries are now a part of NATO. Under Article V, we would be compelled to come to their defense. Would we?

And the scenarios could go on and on. I’m sure there are plenty that I have not even thought about. Hopefully you see that the impacts of an EMP could be multi-faceted and may not directly effect your power supply.

Now the last thing I want to do is generate fear. I HATE fear mongering. These articles and scenarios are meant to educate. Hopefully you realize that you can’t focus on just one or two possibilities. Graywolf wrote an excellent article on not knowing what would happen if SHTF.

As I mentioned before, there is no itemized check-list for being prepared for an EMP/solar storm. Really, being prepared for an event like this is simply doing the things you are already doing to remain prepared. But in this situation, you might think about taking it a step further.

Having a month’s supply of food and water is good, but….

As I stated in my previous EMP articles, rebuilding the grid could take months or even years. At some point, you will run the risk of your stores and stockpiles running low or even out regardless of how much you have. Be it spoilage, infestation, etc.
So I would encourage you to start looking at ways to become more self -sufficient. Having renewable sources of food and water will always trump having a finite stockpile. (Having both is even better.)

Having a small garden in your backyard might be a good way to start. Many cities are now allowing home owners to raise chickens in their back yard. If so, you might explore maybe starting small with just a few, and then slowly increasing your numbers as you become more comfortable. Be sure to check your local ordinances to ensure your are compliant with local and state laws.

I would also encourage you to identify areas where you are too dependent on the grid, and find ways to change that. I’m not saying you have to live completely grid free, hell I don’t and prefer not too. (No desire to give up cold beer, warm pizza, and football.) But the more self-reliant you can become , the better off you will be in an emergency.

For example, on my homestead we raise chickens and rabbits. Both are a great source of renewable food. But I noticed that we were purchasing and hauling in A LOT of feed for our livestock. Feeding them would be a HUGE problem were we to lose the grid. (It is also an added expense we could do without.) So I began looking for ways to feed our livestock independent of the grid.winter

Currently, I am in the beginning stages of building worm bins, and will grow my own worms to feed our chickens. We allow the chickens to roam and forage during the day, and they eat quite a bit on their own. But winter is coming, and the bugs and plant life they feast upon will soon be gone. So being able to feed them something self-sustaining  makes me feel a lot better both financially and prepared-wise.

As for the rabbits, we just butchered a large number of them, keeping just the breeding stock. But I am looking into growing corn and maybe “Timothy grass” next spring in hopes that we will be able to be more self-reliant when feeding our rabbits.

As for water, we have several large (250 gallon) rain barrels that collect rain water. We also have the ability to purify it. In addition, we are looking at adding a manual pump to our well. Both would come in quite handy should the power go out. I’m always looking at ways of expanding our ability to have fresh water.

I will end this article we a little information on Faraday cages. If you read the first two parts of this series, you would know that you do not need a faraday cage for a CME/solar storm. However, a faraday cage would help protect your electronics in the event of a nuclear EMP. So I have included a video below on how to build your own Faraday cage. It is actually fairly simple. No, that is not me in the video. That is Arthur Bradley, PhD and author of the book Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms.

Graywolf -

Here are a few books you may be interested regarding dealing with an EMP/CME.

EMP/CME Fiction books:

EMP/CME Non-Fiction books:

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