It has been well established by military experts, congressionally-commissioned studies, and intelligence reports, that an attack on our country by electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is as close to an inevitability as any possible mode of attack. It is also the consensus of all that an EMP burst centered 250 miles over the center of our country would virtually destroy the power infrastructure, knocking the USA back to the pre-electrical age. The dirty little secret is that most EMP aftermath assessments, propagated by these experts, project a population survival rate of between 10% and 20%.
The reports by these experts are very clear in their predictions of the scope of destruction in the aftermath of an EMP attack. Following a well-targeted burst, an electromagnetic field will rain down and will be immediately drawn into electrical lines within its line of sight. The cascading effect of the intricately linked power grid will overload distribution and transformers in all directions, from the target center to both coasts.
It is projected that resumption of the power supply couldn’t even start for several months to a year. Most all battery-based technological devices, including computers, cars, and communications will stop. All production and delivery, including food, water supplies, manufacturing, and medical supplies will cease. Many of these findings don’t hide the shocking projection that as much as 80% of the population will perish over a two to three year period due to starvation, disease, murder, and suicide.
What the reports don’t describe (and this is the crux of the whole matter for us) is the cold, dark world of survival facing a population of 350,000,000 starving citizens. Even the prospect of hunger is enough to turn law abiding, conscientious people into contemptuous criminals. In the history of societies where hunger reigns, lawlessness remains. As starvation takes its hold, in just a matter of days or weeks, there will be no home, farm or mountain retreat that will be defendable from a continuous onslaught of assaults.
Is there any chance of surviving a direct EMP hit?
Even the most ardent The End of the World As We Know It TEOTWAWKI preppers may be ill-prepared for the EMP aftermath. Unless there is at least a two to three year supply of provisions stockpiled into a well-equipped doomsday bunker, 35 feet below the surface, chances of survival are greatly diminished.
Assuming that the chance of survival for non-preppers is slim to none, there are steps that can be taken ahead of time that can improve survivability for resourceful preppers. The cost and effort required for creating absolute invulnerability is prohibitive for most, however, each step can take survivability up a notch. For most TEOTWAWKI preppers, it’s a matter of re-imagining the unimaginable and taking the added measures they may have only considered. Those skilled in the tactics of evasion and concealment, with the means of doing so, stand the best chance.
Consider where you live. Within a matter of weeks your home will become a target for looters and refugees. Even the most fortified house can eventually be overrun. Homes located in suburban tracts and rural locations should be considered highly vulnerable. Small, close-knit, and well-armed communities located on large bodies of water can provide a collective defense against all but the most massive groups of intruders. A home in the close proximity of a military base would be a target of last resort as long as the base remains active.
How deep can you hide? A house or retreat stocked to the hilt will be no match for marauding neighbors and gangs unless it exists in the very most remote locations or 30 feet below the ground. Evasion is the best of all survival tactics and it must be applied for at least 6 months to a year to allow for the thinning of the hungry throngs. Where it’s not practical to build your own shelter or cave dwelling, there may be a better opportunity to combine resources with other preppers in the construction of a remotely located bunker. Consideration for surviving the travel needed to get to the bunker needs to be a priority.
Shield your electronics. In a post-EMP-blast world, there will still be uses for certain electronic devices such as your HAM radio. You do have a HAM radio don’t you? Even computers and satellite phones will have eventual application. Battery-operated medical equipment may be essential for some. While many preppers have taken the measure of insulating rooms from electromagnetic pulses, a simple investment in a Faraday cage may be enough to protect your equipment. Materials such as Mylar™, aluminum foil or copper mesh can all be used as a protection shield as well.
Study pre-electric society. High-tech knowledge and skills will become virtually useless. Studying the skills and applications of the most recent pre-electric society (the late 1800s) would be more essential. The obvious need for this knowledge is for establishing a life without electricity. In the long run, as the underground society emerges, such knowledge and skills will be valuable as a currency.
How much is “enough”? Assuming you have the capability of hiding or defending your food storage in enough time, storing enough food and provisions to survive an apocalyptic, post-EMP world is problematic for most because it requires a lot of space and shelf life. Foods requiring refrigeration will only last a few days. Many canned foods such as stews, beans, fruits, soups, and sauces can survive well beyond their typical one to two year expiration date, but they should be treated like gold and shelf-managed based on expirations. Dried beans, legumes and grains can last the duration. A variety of rice is always a good staple. Oatmeal is also a durable, nutritional food. Dried wheatberries keep forever and can be ground to make your own wheat. Honey is always thought of as a great, long-term survival food.
Possible food lists are too much to cover here. The key to storage is recognizing that heat and air are your biggest enemies. Having a method to seal grains in a vacuum and cool storage is essential. Water will be a critical issue. The best way to store grains and beans is sealed, ideally under an inert atmosphere (nitrogen) or vacuum, and in a cool place (e.g., root cellar).
Water is a critical issue. How much is enough? One gallon of water per person, per day, is considered a minimum, so do the math. Creating a renewable water source is as important as being able to store a year or more of supply.
Increase your health IQ. For people with medical issues, the prospect of depleting necessary medicines is potentially life-threatening. Most medicines have a limited shelf life and are not available in large supply. The best preparation for long-term medical care or needs is preventative health care. Increased knowledge of nutrition and natural remedies can be life extending and increase the quality of life in the bunker. Understanding how natural herbs and oils can mimic the healing effects of pharmaceutical compounds is essential to treating or preventing the onslaught of ailments and disease. Your food list should be prioritized for nutrition and building immunity.
Some would consider a quick death by the direct hit of an incinerating, nuclear bomb blast to be more preferable and, ironically, more humane than living in the aftermath of the more sinister EMP blast. Who would consider themselves “lucky” to be a survivor in such unfathomable conditions? It’s perhaps those with the will to continue in such a world and the foresight to prepare for it.