The book One Second After left many of us thinking what we could do in the event of an EMP attack. While nobody has all the answers for what to do one second answer, here are some suggestions that might help.
One minute the lights, air conditioner, computer, telephone and what not are working, the next they are dead. Whether or not an EMP attack will happen and if so, whether or not the effects are as described in popular writing, having a plan just in case is smart.
If at home, the first thing you will notice is the lights have gone out like in a summer or winter storm. The airconditioning or heater, if electric, will cut out. The TV and other entertainment will shut off immediately. Cell phones and landline telephones will cut off calls and stop working. The silence will be deafening.
The same events will occur in schools and work places. Cars, not running, will not start or start and run roughly for a limited time. Airplanes in flight, as awful as this sounds, may lose engine power and electrical systems and begin descending to the ground.
All electrical systems, except the most primitive, will stop immediately. Confusion will reign.
Quick; what do you do?
First things first. If moving, stop. If at work, move to a safe area. If at home. pause and consider if there is anything in your home which may be a threat or leave someone else in danger.
Then, know where everyone is who lives in your home. Kids at school? How are you going to get them? Spouse at work or store? How will they get home? Does your car run? Check. If not, is there a neighbor or nearby, one block or less, with a runninng vehicle? Do you have a bike? Can you ride to the kids school and collect them?
Remember, there are no phones working. That relative or friend who lives across town suddenly may as well be living in Africa as there is no quick or easy way to get to them. So forget about contacting Aunt Sue in Baltimore for the time being.
Once everyone in the home has been collected, make a judgement call - you can either start checking on neighbors or start gettting supplies.
Pros and Cons - Neighbors are going to be a lifesaver. For instance, the lady across the street can watch your kids while you run down to the market to get more food. Also, neighbors can pool thier resources and numbers to watch and protect their properties.
The bad side about spending the initial time after the EMP attack talking to neighbors who are ill prepared to deal with the consequenes. This will be a call on your part.
For me, after having the children collected, there are only two neighbors I will speak with before heading to the market nearby to get more supplies.
Going to the market - Cash is King. Have a supply of cash on hand for emergencies and an EMP attack is one of them. I keep several stashes of small bills around the house that I have added to each time I get paid. It does not take much.
Stores will not be taking credit cards and possibly not even checks if their systems are down so have folding money on hand now. There may be a chance that the stores won't even be selling at all, so be prepared for anything. Most will probably allow shoppers to load a cart with neccessaries if you make the case to the manager that you need food for the kids or something similar.
If the grocery stores are selling, load up. Here's what to get..
- canned food
- baking supplies
- long term foods like rice and beans
- Over the counter (OTC) medicines
- toilet paper and feminine supplies
- matches, lighters and cooking fuel
- batteries and candles
- Soap, bleach
- bottled water
You cannot buy enough food in one trip to last during the total effects of an EMP strike; that period will be months if not years. That is why it is imperative that you start stocking now and use this last chance to buy as a "top off" of existing supplies only.
If there are other stores such as hardware or sporting goods stores open, take advantage now to get any building materials, gardening supplies, camp gear, guns and ammo. Also hit the gasoline station on the off chance that one may have a back up generator to get gas out of the ground.
If you have the money (or if the stores still take checks), make multiple trips to the stores as best as you can. In a few days there will be little or nothing moving to and from the stores and warehouses so the window is limted.
Don't think for a minute you are hoarding. You are providing for your family. Also, you can share what you have purchased with friends, family and neighbors.
At home, get ready. When it gets dark, there will be no law enforcement, ambulances or fire departments running. If a fire breaks out, how will you fight it? What will you do if someone gets sick or hurt? What if thugs try to take advantage of the situation and attempt a break in? Prepare your home for any circumstance.
What happens next? Do you have a nearby water source? If so, start moving water to your home and get busy sanitizing it for drinking.
What about transportation? If you have a running vehicle, keep it close and drive it only when neccessary. A running vehicle will attract attention and may result in it being stolen or commandeered by local government.
Instead use "sneaker power" or a bike for getting around.
Also, stay near the house. There is no need to go wandering around town.
Find a way to get news. That "antique" tube radio of grandpas sitting on the shelf is more than decoration. With power from a car battery through an inverter and you have a lifeline to the outside world. You may find out that your situation is restricted to a limited geographical area. Or that there is an active government relief effort underway. Or maybe that the whole world is effected and the remaining governments are preparing the population for a new dark age. Without communications, you will never know.
Regardless, the first 24 hours of an EMP attack are critical to long term survival. Thnk.
Here's what NOT TO DO after immediately after an EMP attack -
- Waste time having a two hour meeting with neighbors.
- Hang around work or school - go home.
- Wander around the neighborhood discussing what happened.
- Ride or walk downtown to see what the government is doing about it.
- Start gardening, cleaning up your garage or inventorying your "preps". All of this should have been done before.
- Start cooking leftovers on the grill (the fridge and freezer will stay cold a day or so longer).
- Try to get the 2009 car running. It won't happen.