SHTF survival: How to get home after an EMP attack
By Zoey Sky // Feb 13, 2023

When preparing before SHTF, make sure you also have plans on what to do if you get stuck elsewhere after an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. This ensures that you have survival gear and that you can safely get home even if things go south. (h/t to

What is an EMP?

An electromagnetic pulse is a burst of electromagnetic radiation from large explosions, especially nuclear explosions or from a magnetic field fluctuation.

EMPs can produce damaging current and voltage surges within electrical systems, which can put your appliances and gadgets at risk.

In Ted Koppel's book "Lights Out," the author warned that the nation's leaders have done "virtually nothing" to protect the power grid from "any type of attack, nor are there effective plans in place to help the millions of citizens who will be completely unprepared."

When researching his book, Koppel interviewed people in the know, such as Janet Napolitano, Leon Panetta and Admiral William Gortney, who spoke during a Pentagon news briefing in 2015 about power grid vulnerability.

Tips for creating your plan to get home after an EMP

When finalizing your EMP emergency preparedness plan, you should figure out how you're going to get home after an EMP attack before you travel. Planning ahead gives you the time to assess your particular circumstances.

Before SHTF, prepare get-home bags and leave one at your office and keep another one in your car so you can access your gear if something happens while you are on the road. (Related: How to prepare for an EMP strike.)

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Here are six variables to consider when drafting your plan:


Do you plan to walk all the way home if SHTF? If this is your first option for transportation, you need to make sure you are in shape.

You need to be healthy enough to walk several miles while carrying your get-home bag. Exercise regularly and get quality walking shoes or boots and pack several pairs of socks.

Keep some Shoe-Goo in your emergency kit for quick repairs and for a quick waterproofing job. Prepare a basic first aid kit and include moleskin to protect against hot spots and painful blisters on your feet.

Weather and terrain

The weather and the terrain might change as you travel.

Can you stay dry if it rains? Do you have enough water in your bag to stay hydrated on a hot day?

You should also look for alternate routes that might be easier to travel or would allow you to avoid populated areas if people rush to escape the chaos of an EMP attack.


Where you are stranded and the terrain between you and your home will determine if you can access clean water for your various needs.

If you're not sure you can find water, stay where you are. A one-gallon container of water weighs eight pounds, but you can keep your bag light by getting a water straw.

You should also have something that allows you to filter larger quantities and carry some water with you until you find a new water source.


Here are some food items and snacks to pack in your get-home bag:

  • Cheeses (Choose cheeses with a stable shelf life.)
  • Chicken, salmon and tuna packets
  • Crackers
  • Dried fruits
  • Dried meats
  • Energy bars or breakfast bars
  • Nut butter
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Tortillas
  • Trail mix

However, if you're on the road for several days, your food will eventually run out.

Before SHTF, make sure you know other ways to find food safely. You can learn how to set traps and hunt and fish using alternative methods.

Another option is to learn how to forage and identify edible and medicinal wild plants.

Other essential prepping skills that will help with finding and cooking food include knowing how to start a fire and how to purify water. Pack something you can use as a cooking pot and a tiny, lightweight camp stove, if possible.


If you think you will be traveling for several days or more, learn how to set up a sturdy shelter. You can also bring a small, lightweight tent in your emergency kit so you can sleep comfortably outdoors.


Lastly, you should be able to defend yourself. You can either learn a martial art or learn how to use a self-defense weapon like a gun or pepper spray.

When SHTF, you might be surrounded by people more desperate than you so you need to be able to fight back if escaping isn't an option.

5 Ways to increase your chances of survival in a post-EMP world

You don't have a lot of options if you are stranded far from home after an EMP attack, but it doesn't mean your situation is entirely hopeless.

Before an EMP event, you should have several options in case the worst happens and you are dozens or hundreds of miles from home.

Head home with your survival gear or whatever you can find

Survival novels often feature determined men who make their way home to their families while traveling hundreds of miles. This option is possible if you are in good physical shape, have no health issues and are lucky.

If you're lucky, the terrain between you and your family might have several clean bodies of water.

Stay put and keep your head down

If you have the necessary survival skills and knowledge, set up a wilderness camp and use your skills to live off the land.

How long you survive will depend on how skilled and creative you are.

Stay put and try to join another household or group

If you have many prepping and survival skills like gardening, food preservation or medical training, you can try to join a survival group.

As the infrastructure begins to be rebuilt, you can go back on the road and begin heading home.

Do a bit of both

If possible, keep traveling and try to seek shelter with several families or communities. Some people might be willing to accept another survivor if you have useful skills or if they need additional help with physical labor.

Stay put and start a new life

This option may seem pessimistic, but depending on your circumstances, you may have no other choice but to stay where you are and start a new life.

Before SHTF, make plans and prepare your get-home bag with the necessary survival gear. Learn more about your surroundings and look for safer alternate routes to travel, be alert and avoid danger and always have a backup plan in case things don't go as planned.

With a detailed plan and the right supplies, you can get home safely if you are stranded elsewhere after an EMP attack.

Watch the video below for tips on how to prepare and maintain your get-home bag.

This video is from the Survival 101 channel on

More related stories:

Personal safety and survival: 15 Things to do after an EMP attack.

SHTF tips: How to survive an EMP attack that brings down the power grid.

12 Tips to survive an EMP attack.

Sources include: 1 2

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