How To Survive An EMP Attack [Preparing For The Worst]


You are at work, and all of a sudden the computers and machinery goes dead. All of the lights go off, and the lift does not work. Your take out your phone and it is also dead.

You then go outside on the street, and everyone is out of their cars. The traffic lights are off, and people start to panic. You then look up into the sky and witness an airplane free falling and hitting one of the skyscrapers.

Guess what?

You and your city might be a victim of an EMP attack. In this article, I am going to teach you everything I know about EMP (Electromagnetic pulse) attacks.

Because this event will disable all electronic devices, I will teach you how to survive an EMP attack. I will cover aspect such as how to live without using power, how to prepare for an attack, how to produce your own food for the long haul and what to do precisely after such as event.

Everything on EMP attacks

Before we can plan and prepare for an EMP attack, we need to know with what we are dealing with. In this section, I am going to share with you the different classes of an EMP attack, the first signs and also the aftermath of such an event.

a) What is an EMP attack

EMP stands for “electromagnetic pulse” which is a highly powered burst of electromagnetic radiation. An EMP attack has several sources which might include a nuclear detonation high above the atmosphere and it can also come from the solar flares released by the sun.

It is much worse than you think.

An EMP attack tends to knock out all electrical components, and it can collapse the entire electrical grid. Today we are more reliant on electrical appliances for survival which is terrible news for us.

Einstein also quoted that: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

Another harsh statement from a very smart person.

We are entering the age of nuclear weapons which can wipe out nations. To make it even worse, some countries do not have a problem using them.

Let me explain how EMP’s work.

Almost all electrical components make use of a circuit board with microscopic wires built inside. These wires are used to send signals to the interconnecting components. If a massive electrical surge is transmitted through these wires, what do you think will happen?

The circuit board will most likely be burnt out and be made unusable.

b) Types of EMP attacks

EMP attacks can be categorized into 3 groups which include E1, E2 and also E3. Below, I will discuss each one in more detail.

EMP Classes

  • Type E1 – This type is the most damaging of all of them. The E1 class is also the most intense and the fastest one of all. It can last a microsecond, but the burst is so high that most electrical components will not be able to handle very high voltages. It is also so fast and sudden that most normal protectors will not be able to handle the unexpected surge. This type of burst happens when the nuclear blast strips the electrons from the atoms in the upper atmosphere. Atomic weapons are known for splitting atoms which creates an enormous amount of energy. Once the electrons are released from the atoms, they will move downwards at an incredible speed.The earth’s magnetic field will then distribute these electrons across a larger surface area which in turn will cause more damage.
  • Type E2 – This class of EMP pulse is slower than the E1 but also faster than the E3. This type can last for up to 1 second and is produced by gamma rays from neutrons. This type is also similar to lightning strikes when it comes to the electromagnetic pulses generated.The E2 type does not have the same damaging ability than the E2 type because most electronic hardware has protection against the E2 class. This is because most systems already have protection against lightning strikes.There is one problem though.The E2 type usually follows the E1 class during an EMP attack where the E1 type will render most electronic parts vulnerable to the E2 type. The E2 type alone does not have the capacity to damage electronics but can be lethal if it comes directly after the E1 class.
  • Type E3 – The third type of an EMP attack is much slower than the previous two mentioned. This class can last for up to a couple of minutes if not hours and is most critical to power lines where it will take out the transformers.This type usually comes from geomagnetic storms created by a solar flare. It is important to know that solar flares only creates the third type of EMP attack and lacks the E1 and E2 types. Nuclear attacks will include all 3 classes (E1, E2, and E3).

c) EMP Attack aftermath

It is easier to talk about the amount of damage that an EMP attack can inflict, but it gets harder to talk about the influence an EMP strike will have in our daily lives. Some people even talk about an Armageddon but is it that bad?

Below, I will go over some of the areas that might be affected by an EMP strike.

1. The power grid will be offline

The power grid is one of the first sectors that will fail after an EMP strike. It is also important to note that once a power grid has failed, that it will take a couple of months for it to restore. I am not even talking about the amount of repair that needs to be done after the strike. Everything that is connected to the grid will not work anymore.

Yup, it is that bad.

Your lights, geysers, cooking appliances, anything that needs to be connected to the power grid will not work. This does not exclude traffic lights and water purification.

2. Automobiles and transport will be disabled

Most cars are reliant on electronics for it to work — especially the newer models that make use of fancy gadgets, etc. This event will disable your ability to drive your car. Let’s not forget that all grocery and retail shops make use of transport to distribute fresh goods.

transport after EMP attack

It is only a matter of days for all of the shops to run empty on supplies after such as a strike. Transport is also not limited to the retail industry but gas stations as well.

Let’s say you were one of the lucky ones which vehicle was not affected by an EMP strike, where will you buy gasoline if almost every gas station is empty? If these stations transport is compromised, how will they be able to refill their gas storage?

3. Your food will spoil

If you are making use of fridges to preserve most of your spoilable goods, then I have bad news for you. Refrigerators will also be among the appliances that will fail after an EMP attack.

Do you even have a food preservation plan that does not make use of power? If your answer was “no” then I will show you exactly how to preserve your food without the use of electricity.

4. Airlines will be offline

I feel sorry for the passengers of planes that are already in the air. Most jets also make use of electrical systems that will include navigation and engine control. There is also a high chance that the engine will not work after an EMP attack and the pilot must then try to land the plane.

crashed airplane

The airplane will then need to act as a glider for the skilled pilot to land it somewhere close. Navigation also plays a huge role in the landing process and will make it harder for the pilot to find a safe location for the plane to land.

5. The hospitals will be in a mess

Most hospitals (at least in first world countries) will have a backup generator because they cannot afford to run without power. If an EMP pulse managed to fry all of the electrical components used by hospitals, then even a generator will prove to be useless.

The staff will lose all of the critical data on patients. Heart rate monitors, X-ray machines, ultrasound machines, etc will not work. Some machines that keep patients alive will fail and result in death. Let’s not forget about the effect an EMP attack will have on hygiene which is very important in hospitals.

Hospitals will also not be able to feed their patients, and it will be a mess when working at night.

6. Banking systems and ATM’s will not function

Even if you could use cash to buy supplies, the whole banking system will collapse in the event of an EMP attack. Communication and data storage is crucial for a healthy banking system.

ATM’s which are reliant on power will not work which makes it impossible to withdraw cash. Banks can also lose all of their data, and I presume that bank accounts will get wiped. This event will especially be catastrophic if banks are storing this data on servers and hard drives.

7. Water supply will become an issue

Municipalities will have a problem to properly clean and test the water from/for potential germs and parasites. The pumps that are used to move the water around will be broken, and all of the control points will malfunction.

Even if you manage to get access to water, you will still need to clean it yourself especially from a standing source of water.

d) First signs of an EMP attack

There are many signs of an EMP attack. Some will also be more prevalent than others. The very first thing that you will notice is going to be a flash of light in the sky. There will also be an electrical surge through most types of metals.

Some experts also claim that you might get a shock if you touch a metal during an EMP attack. Depending on where you are in the world, you will notice the lights will go off, and everything will be dark. Your lights will not work, and your cell phone will be off.

Jets will fall, and communication will be lost. After a while mass hysteria will set in because nobody will know what happened. You will also not have any access to news channels as you will lost communication to signals. The most dramatic effects will set in after a week as food will start to spoil and people will strike because of hunger.

e) Records of EMP pulses

In this section, I am going to go over 4 events that resulted from an EMP strike. Let’s start with the solar storm of 1859.

1. Carrington Event (1859)

This event can also be called the Carrington Event or Carrington flare. Richard C. Carrington who was a British astronomer managed to observe and record the event. This was one of the largest geomagnetic storms recorded to date and happened in the year 1859.

solar flare emp

This flare also resulted in a white light flare in the sky.

2. Quebec Blackout (1989 )

It is the first time when one of Canada’s provinces called Quebec was in a total blackout. This happened in the year 1989 when a solar storm caused an EMP attack on this province. There was a shortwave interference which causes radio signals to jam. There was also the phenomena called “northern lights” which showcased itself because of the storm.

3. Starfish Prime (1962)

The Starfish Prime was a nuclear test at high altitude carried out by the USA. The EMP pulse generated was so large that all of the devices used to measure the explosion went off the scale. Electrical damage was also caused to the island of Hawai.

4. Kazakhstan (1962)

The Soviets also ran several nuclear tests in the year of 1962. One of the tests called K-3 or “Test 184” also caused an EMP effect which was much more significant than that of Starfish Prime. This strike also caused a power plant in the city of Karaganda to catch fire because of a power surge in one of the power lines underground.

Learn to live without power

After an EMP strike, you will need to become independent from electricity. You will need to learn how to cook, light your house and preserve food without having to use electricity.

a) Cooking without power

Cooking without power is easy, and there are several ways to do so. In one of my previous posts on how to cook off the grid, I have mentioned 13 methods on how to cook without the use of power or electricity. Below, I will only discuss 3 of the 13 ways that you can use cook without power.Some of these methods will include solar ovens, candles and also an earth oven.

1. Solar Ovens

Solar ovens are very easy to use as you make use of solar energy which is also renewable. These ovens will also look like a satellite dish from which it will reflect the sun rays towards a pot. The will concentrate enough heat on the pot so that you can quickly cook your food.

2. Using candles

Using candles is also a great way to cook your food. For this method to work, you will need at least 4 candles. The tea light candle is also the best type of candle to use because they do not take up that much space.

3. Earth ovens

The earth oven is best used if you are off the grid or if you have at least a 3 square meter of open soil. An earth oven can also be called a fire pit because it cooks your food below the ground. You will need to use a combination of large rocks, leaves/fine branches and also sand to prepare your meal. The video below will illustrate how to build one.

b) Non-electrical lighting

To make use of non-electrical lighting is one of the easiest ways to provide light in total darkness. Some people also get a sense of nostalgia when making use of candles and oil lamps. You also do not need to be a professional prepper to prepare and make use of this type of lighting.

1. Using candles

Candles are very inexpensive, and they can easily fit with most budgets. There is also the option where you can make your candles at home with ease.

Just make sure that you have enough matches to last at least a couple of months to ignite these candles. Make sure that your candles have enough support so that they do not fall over and burn your house down.

2. Oil lamps

Oil lamps are also a great way to provide lighting indoors without the use of electricity. There are many different types of oil lamps that you can use such as tabletop lamps and also mounted lamps. These lamps can also make use of different kinds of oil.

You can use lamp oil, kerosene and also purified Petroleum. You can also try vegetable or olive oil if you run on empty even though it might not be as effective.

3. Solar lights

Solar lights make use of solar energy to produce light. It is important to remember that all electrical units need to be kept in a Faraday cage to protect them from the initial EMP attack. After the attack or surge, you can then use electrical appliances that do not rely on the energy grid.

solar lights

Solar lights need to be placed outside during the daytime to charge. When night falls, you can bring them inside so that you do not need to sit in the dark.

c) Food preservation

Fortunately for us, there are many ways to preserve food without the use of power. Some of the foods might need power for the preservation process to start but does not require a refrigerator to remain unspoiled.

1. Drying and dehydrating

This method is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, and you can use this process to dry meat, fruit and also some vegetables. Once the food is dried, it will not spoil because of the moisture which is a breeding place for bacteria.

This method is also great to reduce the space needed for the food as water takes up much-needed space. Some people like to use commercial dryers, but in the case of an EMP attack, you will need to do as my grandma did.

Peel the fruit and cut it into small pieces. Spread the pieces open on a drying sheet and place it outside to get exposure from the sun. Just make sure to cover the fruit with a sheet of mesh to prevent insects from laying eggs inside of the fruit.

2. Canning your food

The process of canning is straightforward. Canning allows you to preserve food by removing all of the oxygen inside of the can. By removing the oxygen, you will prevent any bacteria from proliferating.

The primary cause of spoilage are bacteria that thrive on the oxygen present in and around the food. The first thing you need to do is to clean the jars, rubber rings, and the canning lids. Then you need to fill the jars with prepared food such as vegetables or fruit.

Once the jar is filled with food, you need to place the ring and lid on top and carefully submerge the jar in boiling water. After a while, you then need to remove the jar from the boiling water and allow it to cool down.

This process will allow all of the hot air to escape which will then create a vacuum that is oxygen free. The vacuum will also pull the lid down and make it airtight.

3. Lacto-fermentation

If you have ever eaten kimchi or sauerkraut, then you might be familiar with the sour taste caused by lacto fermentation. This process will start with the help of live culture which will be the starting point for lactic acid producing bacteria.

The lactic acid will lower the pH of the food which will make it more acidic. The lower pH will prevent any spoilage-causing bacteria from growing inside of the jars. The food can then also be referred to as live cultured food which can also increase the digestibility of the food.

4. Vinegar Pickling

Also called pickles is a food with a high acid content which comes from adding vinegar. It follows the same principle as lacto-fermentation in regards to preventing spoilage. Most people like to pickle cucumbers, onions, peppers, carrots and also cauliflower.

You can also add salt, pepper, and sugar for taste. You will also need to add hot water which will help to mix all of the ingredients. Place the pickle jar in a warm sunny area for three days and remember to turn jar each day.

Preparation is key

If you want to be able to survive an EMP attack, you need to think like a prepper. This mindset will involve strategies which will help you prepare for this natural or human-made disaster. There are many things that you can do which will increase the odds of you surviving.

a) Use a Faraday Cage

If you already have a plan set which will provide you with an alternative power source, then you might want to protect some of your electronic equipment before an EMP strikes.

Making use of a Faraday cage will help in protecting all of the equipment stored inside. This cage is named after Michael Faraday who was a scientist that discovered the properties of this cage. The cage can shield its contents against electromagnetic waves coming from the outside.

It is also easy and inexpensive to build your own Faraday cage at home. I have written a separate article on how you can build a Faraday cage with a simple box, heavy-duty aluminum foil, copper foil tape to seal the opening and foam bags to protect the equipment.

You can even use a trashcan as a Faraday cage with the help of some modifications.

The items you can store might include a radio, laptop with charger, USB drive with all of your most crucial information, rechargeable batteries and solar chargers. A Faraday cage is only useful at protecting your items before and during an EMP strike.

b) Store enough water

I cannot emphasize the importance of storing enough water. A Normal person cannot survive for more than four days without water. Having access to enough clean drinking water is imperative.

Did you know that an EMP attack can also influence the water supply to your location?

Electrical water pumps will cease to work, and all of the machinery used to test and clean the water will be out of order. This is the reason why you need to become more independent of having access to water.

You can start by getting your hands on water purification tablets and also water filters. If you can, then I will also recommend you have a borehole on your property. Make sure that this borehole can use a manual pump as electrical pumps will already be broken.

You can also store water in containers or tanks in a spare room or somewhere outside under a roof. Make sure that you have access to water and that you know how to purify this life-giving resource.

c) Save up on food

It is only a matter of weeks or days before all of the grocery and retail stores will run dry on fresh food supplies. I also forgot to mention that these stores will also become a target for looting.

I think now you can agree with me on saving up on food.

surviving on canned food

You can start by saving up on food that has a long shelve life. These types of food will include canned food, dried food and more. Save up on inexpensive foods such as pasta, corn flour, canned fish and meatballs, canned vegetable and fruit.

Avoid storing perishable food such as fresh vegetables, fruit, milk, and meat. Making beef jerky beforehand is also a good option for preserving meat. You can also create and store hardtack which can also be referred to as survival biscuit.

Make sure that you have at least a couple of months worth of supplies. You should also not forget to rotate your food to prevent them from reaching their expiry date. Please read my guide on how to avoid the most common prepping mistakes.

d) Stack up on meds

If you have a chronic disease that is reliant on medication, then you might want to make sure that you have enough meds to last you a couple of months. For example, a person with diabetes cannot go without their insulin so make sure have enough.

You will also never know when someone will injure themselves. Make sure you have enough bandages, rubbing alcohol and vitamins. You also might want to have enough Paracetamol to help with the flu for when winter strikes.

Aspirin is also good to have in abundance to help with the pain and inflammation. Make yourself a list of the most commonly used medical supplies that you can buy over the counter and make sure you have enough stored.

e) Use alternate power sources

The power grid will be the first to get knocked out during an EMP attack so you might want to prepare with alternate power sources. You should also remember to protect the most critical electronics inside a Faraday cage otherwise your alternative power sources will become useless.

You can start by the simplest of all which are solar panels. Solar panels will help to generate extra power for when the grid is offline. One positive thing about solar panels is that the energy they make is renewable. There is no limit to the amount of energy that you can create.

solar panels

Some experts also say that the electronics inside a solar panel will not survive an EMP attack. You might want to get a solar panel which enables you to strip the electronics and store them safely in a Faraday Cage. You can always reassemble them to the solar panel after an EMP attack.

If you can get your hands on a foldable solar panel, then it will be easier to store the whole unit inside a Faraday cage. If you are close to a river, you can also use hydroelectric systems. If you have enough space and live in a windy area, you can also use wind turbine generators.

You can also use a gasoline generator but beware the loud noise. These precious items can make you a very desirable target for other people to scavenge from. Make sure that you buy, store and use these items in a discrete manner. You can also get smaller solar panel kits that you can easily hide and will not draw too much attention.

f) Use an EMP friendly vehicle

Transport is going to be one of the sectors that will not work anymore after an EMP attack. Most cars make use of electronics and will be malfunction after such as attack. This will also result in the loss of transport for gasoline.

You can start by modifying your car so that it is EMP friendly or buy one that already is. It is a known fact that most vehicles produced after 1990 will be affected during and after an EMP attack. A Large majority of the cars of today make use of chips and computers to run and start.

Here are some of the cars that might work after an EMP attack

  • Chevrolet Blazer 1984
  • Toyota Hilux 4×4 Pre 1985
  • Volkswagen Beetle 1972
  • Jeep CJ5 4×4 1979

As a rule of thumb, the older the manufacturing date, the better. You should also remember that the streets will be filled with broken cars which will make it hard to travel by car. You might want to look for back alleys and avoid the main roads.

Become your own food producer

It is also impossible to know for how long your area will be out of power. It can take a couple of months for everything to get back online. There is also the possibility that it can never get back on or at least in your lifetime.

produce your own food

This is why you might want to consider producing your own food as your planned food storage will not last forever.

a) Know your location

You might want to research and know exactly which food will grow in your location. This will all depend on the type of soil, the rainfall and also the climate.

You can start by going online and searching for food that can be planted in your location. You can also visit nearby farmers to get an idea of what they are growing.

b) Get familiar with planting season

Each crop will have a different planting season. Some food will grow in the summer while others might grow in the winter. You can also find all of this information on the back of packet which contains the seeds.

You can also use this information so that you can grow fresh produce throughout the whole year.

c) Get a grip on nutrition

Nutrition is a vast subject with so many factors to consider. But for the sake of this article, I am going to cover food groups that are rich in specific nutrients needed by our bodies to be healthy.

1. Proteins

Protein is essential and functions as the building blocks for having a healthy body. Every cell needs protein to build and repair itself. Proteins can help make hormones, enzymes and other chemicals which our body needs.

Our muscles are also very dependent on protein to build and repair itself. Black beans and Kidney beans are high in protein. Legumes such as chickpeas and lentils are also a great source of plant protein.

2. Carbohydrates

Carbs are our body’s primary source of energy and fuel. Without carbs, our bodies will start to use protein and fat as a source for fuel.

Crops high in starch will include potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and also beetroot. Foods high in simple carbohydrates will consist of corn, tomatoes, squash, carrots, and peas.

3. Minerals and Vitamins

Vitamins and minerals are used alongside each other to perform hundreds of functions in our bodies. It is used to boost and control the immune system, help heal wounds and also to improve organ function.

All food will contain vitamins and minerals while green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and cabbage will have the highest concentration and variety.

d) Growing your crops

There are many ways to plant crops in a garden. You can make your bedding directly in the soil, use large pots and also raised bed gardens. For each method, the principle will stay the same.

The very first thing that you need to do is to break the ground. This method is done by loosening the soil with the help of a shovel or pickaxe. The grounds need to be loose for the seedling to grow roots.

You might also want to keep everything organized by making rows in the garden. You can start by marking the area and then laying the row with a shovel. If you are using large pots or raised garden beds, you can loosen the soil and plant the crops spread evenly. Just make sure to only allocate one crop per pot of bed.

Now you need to plant the seed. The planting depth of each type of crop will differ, and it is best to read the instructions manual that you will find at the back of the pack in which the seed is sold.

Water the soil every day and make sure to cultivate the bedding to keep it free from weeds. Once your food is fully grown, you can start with the harvest.

What To Do Directly After An EMP Attack

The most important thing that you need to do after you see a flash of light and airplanes falling is to get home as soon as possible. Make sure that everyone in your household knows this.

You should already have a plan ready for if this event happens. You also need to choose whether you want to bugout or stay at your home. Your finance will be the most limiting factor in determining where you will stay because not everyone can afford a house somewhere in the woods.

Check to see if your car is still working. If it does not work, then you need to walk home on foot. If you have already prepared your vehicle to be EMP friendly, you should try to avoid the busier streets and only use the lonely back alley streets. Most cars will be sitting duck.

Once everyone is safe at home, you can start to contact neighbors to get as much information as possible. Stay in contact your neighbors without giving away too much information about your hidden stash regularly.

Take all of the cash on hand and buy essential items such as food and water. After a couple of days, it will almost be impossible to get any fresh supplies and to withdraw more money.


Hopefully, you gained some life-saving knowledge from this post. We are entering dark times where attacks such as that of an EMP is not as far-fetched as some people make it out to be.

Do you have a plan on how to protect yourself and your family against the effects of an EMP?

Please leave a comment below and share with us your knowledge.

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