An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a burst of high-frequency electromagnetic energy that could possibly cause society’s collapse. A powerful EMP can shut down almost anything that runs on electricity – from electronic devices such as smartphones, appliances like refrigerators, to public infrastructure like power grids, telecommunications systems and water systems.
An EMP attack can occur in a variety of ways. A nuclear bomb or an EMP weapon can set off a pulse of energy that short circuits every single electronic device close by. Alternatively, an EMP attack could occur naturally through solar flares and coronal mass ejections that can wipe out every electronic system on Earth.
You can possibly protect yourself, a little bit, from an EMP. A Faraday cage, for example, can protect anything inside it from the pulse. Storing a few electronic devices in a professionally made Faraday cage isn’t a bad idea, especially if you have the resources to invest in one.
However, the best way to truly protect yourself against an EMP is to prepare the supplies and devices you will need to survive after an EMP attack.
Hand crank devices are some of the best resources you can procure for surviving after an EMP attack. Hand crank radios and lamps can easily deal with your communication and lighting needs – provided that your radio is within range of somebody who didn’t get hit by the EMP. Other non-electric lighting options to consider are basic kerosene and oil lamps, which can double as sources of heat.
If you do have a Faraday cage, you can store small, portable generators in them to provide you with some electricity, especially if you have other devices that aren’t fried by the EMP.
Keep in mind that both lamps and generators will require a lot of fuel to maintain. Eventually, it will become too difficult to find oil, so stock up on as much fuel as you can.
You will also need tools, such as for repairing your household appliances and systems that can be repaired, medical kits for first aid emergencies, and self-defense equipment like pepper sprays, bows, knives and swords and, of course, guns.
Lastly, you may not have access to the internet to look up how to do or repair things after SHTF, so consider stocking up on printed manuals. These thick, boring books may be the only resource you have left once electricity goes out. (Related: 10 Ugly truths about long-term power outages and how to deal with them.)
According to the survival rule of threes, you can’t survive after more than three days without water, and three weeks without food. You can have all the gear in the world, but you won’t make it after a few days if you don’t have a safe and reliable supply of food and water.
Make space for food supplies in your home. Make sure to get nutritious and organic foods that have long shelf lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests stocking up on at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods. This means ready-to-eat meals of meats, fruits and vegetables, protein bars, granola and cereals, dried fruits, non-perishable milk and some healthy comfort snacks.
Resupplying will be another issue. Going to the grocery store will be out of the question, as they are most likely already empty by the time you get there. The best that you can do is to form strong, trusting bonds of solidarity with your neighbors with whom you can barter after SHTF.
Nobody survives alone, and the world after an EMP attack will require you and your neighbors to stick together to weather any storm.