SHTF basics: 7 Mistakes you should AVOID after an EMP attack
By Zoey Sky // Jun 09, 2023

An electromagnetic pulse attack (EMP) is one of the most devastating and long-lasting disasters that people could face.


To increase your chances of surviving an EMP attack, avoid common mistakes like not stocking up on supplies until it's too late. (h/t to

An EMP attack (or solar flare from the sun) would knock out all electronic equipment over a large area. Depending on the intensity of the EMP blast, all communications and electronic equipment would be knocked out. These include the power grid, most cars, electronic devices like your smartphone and laptop and kitchen appliances.

In short, an EMP attack could bring America back to the Stone Age. It would take years after an EMP attack before anything resembling a recovery "back to normal" could be made.

If you've been prepping for a while, you already know what to do before an EMP attack, such as stocking up on supplies and investing in a Faraday box or cage for your devices. But you should also know the mistakes that you need to avoid after an EMP attack. Here are seven of them:

Waiting until it's too late before buying supplies

After an EMP attack, it will only take several hours before cities and towns within the radius of the blast descend into chaos.

Most cars won't be working and many people that were driving will crash into one another. Some may start panicking and attack one another out of confusion and desperation, while stores will start to close up.

If you want to make a final store run, do it immediately after the EMP has gone off. And if you risk going out during this dangerous time, be very careful.

Since credit card processing machines will not be working, you must use cash. Head to the nearest grocery store or supermarket and buy as many items as you can, because it could be the last time you can do so for months if not years.

If you would like to stock up on supplies before things go south, here are some items that can help you get through a food shortage:

  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Beans (Dried and canned)
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned meat
  • Canned soup
  • Canned vegetables
  • Dried fruit
  • Flour
  • Lentils
  • Noodles
  • Nuts 
  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Peanut butter
  • Powdered milk
  • Rice
  • Salt
  • Spices and herbs
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable oil or olive oil

Letting others know you have a stockpile of supplies

This should be common knowledge, but even some preppers forget that it's better to be quiet about your preps. This ensures that when SHTF, desperate people won't target you for your supplies.

This means not posting pictures of your stockpile on social media, where anyone who sees your posts can tell that you have more food hidden in your home than they have in their pantry.

If you are going to discuss your preps, do so only with family members and close friends that you trust with your life. (Related: SHTF bartering must-haves: 13 Things that will be in demand after an EMP attack.)

Not trying to contact your loved ones

Most "traditional" forms of communication like the internet and cell service will be knocked out after an EMP attack.

Before an emergency, it's best to learn backup communication methods like CB radio.

Eating food from your stockpile first

After an emergency like an EMP attack, eat the perishable food in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry first. When you're done, you can start eating food from your stockpile.

Doing this means that you don't let the food in your fridge or pantry go to waste. This also helps make your stockpile last for as long as possible.

Letting the water in your pipes go to waste

After an EMP goes off, it would be a mistake not to collect as much water as you can in your sinks and tubs. This is important because it won't take long for the water pumps to stop working.

As soon as the EMP attack happens, plug up the drains to your tubs and sinks and run them until the water stops running.

This will help you collect a fair amount of water for drinking and cleaning purposes that will become valuable later, especially if you don't have that much water in your stockpile.

Leaving your home defenseless

Most suburban homes are not very secure. Meaning, a determined burglar can easily break into them.

That’s why it's best to fortify your home before SHTF. Replace all doors leading outside with steel doors and change all hinges with heavy-duty hinges. You can also replace all windows with more durable acrylic glass windows.

After an EMP attack, the defense of your home will be one of your biggest priorities.

Desperate people might target your home to steal food and supplies. Arm yourself and learn how to use your chosen weapon properly and effectively so you can defend your family and your property if SHTF.

Bugging out

Is it safer to bug out after an EMP attack?

While is true that most cities and urban centers will become more dangerous as society starts to break down, your chances of survival out on the open road aren't better.

For example, if the blast from an EMP is strong enough, most vehicles will be knocked out. This means you may have to travel on foot to reach your bug-out location since many cars could be blocking the roads.

Are you confident that you can protect your family from people who may attack you out in the open? In most cases, it is much safer for you to bug in at home, especially since this is where your stockpile is.

Here are some instances where it would be safer to bug out after an EMP attack:

  • It's too dangerous for you to stay in your neighborhood.
  • You have a predetermined bug-out location where you can meet up with friends and family members and have multiple safe routes to get there.

When preparing for an EMP attack, it's worth investing in items like an EMP Cloth. This item can help protect small devices and equipment from the destructive effects of EMPS, ensuring that vital communication, power generation and navigation capabilities are still intact after an emergency.

While an EMP attack is devastating, avoiding the mistakes above will help increase your chances of surviving.

Depending on the intensity and scope of the blast, an EMP attack or solar flare could last for months or even years. Whatever happens, it's better to stock up now and fortify your home to keep your whole family safe after SHTF.

Visit for more tips on how to prepare and survive after an EMP attack.

Watch the video below for suggestions on minimalist survival food to try after an EMP event.

This video is from the Cahlen channel on

More related stories:

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

How to prepare for an EMP threat.

Prepping before SHTF: 16 Items for your survival first aid kit.

Sources include:

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