The Basic Study Guide For Your EMP Survival

Print page


EMP is an important hazard to prepare for. It has the potential to disrupt critical infrastructure we depend on to sustain life, causing cascading effects of long duration over great areas.

EMP is not the only emergency that mankind should prepare for, but it is one of a handful of hazards that virtually everyone is enormously exposed to.

There is so much to do, and so little time. It’s easy to see why some of our readers ask themselves where to start from. 

“I am very overwhelmed with trying to start prepping, especially for an EMP. I have studies what kind of food and seed to stock up on. I’ve read all the different scenarios that could cause an EMP survival situation. I just do not know how or where to start.”

David, from Ohio

Here’s where I’ll point you in the right direction!

Why Most Preppers Fail to Adequately Prepare for EMP

Most preppers do not make emergency preparations out of fear for some singular threat to the exclusion of all others as the negative “Doomsday Prepper” Hollywood-media stereotype would suggest, so there is no need to point out to most of you that EMP survival should be one aspect of a more comprehensive emergency plan.

Unfortunately, I have noticed that many otherwise responsible preppers are deficient in their EMP preparedness. I was curious as to why people would procrastinate EMP survival preparations in favor of preparing for smaller threats that they were less exposed to. Reasons varied, but here are some of the most common that I found:

  • Do not understand EMP well enough to get started.
  • Don’t know what to do.
  • Are unsure if EMP is really a threat at all.
  • Have read conflicting information and are not sure which to believe.
  • Don’t know how much it will cost.
  • Seems daunting.
  • Not convenient. There are easier things that can be done in other areas.

The trend was easy to spot. A general lack of understanding of EMP caused people move on to other tasks. I understand. EMP is a technical topic and the prospect of studying it is not appealing to everyone. The cure for this deficiency is also readily apparent.

If these people truly understood the magnitude of their exposure to EMP and what to do to fix it, I suspect that they would have chosen to prepare. People tend to think they fail because they lack willpower, when they usually really fail before they get to a test of will.

Where these survivalists actually failed was in their failure to sufficiently dedicate themselves to their cause. In this case, they failed to understand the risk (EMP) and their exposure to that risk. Had they really understood, EMP preparedness would been the natural thing to do. Preparing would be a mere function of their vision as opposed to a test of willpower.

As the issue of being unsure which information on EMP is correct and which is incorrect, sufficient study would eventually sort that out, but I’ll point you in the right direction so you don’t waste your time.

Basic Overview of EMP

If EMP is a new topic for you or you just want to start over at the beginning, this section will help you get your head around the subject. So here are a few sources you should start your study from.

National Geographic Video: Electronic Armageddon

You can watch it on YouTube or buy the DVD. If you are a visual learner, this video is a start.

Video first seen on High Frontier.

FutureScience, LLC has a page called A Basic Introduction to Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse which is a great article on the type of EMP that is caused by a high-altitude nuclear detonation.

The Need to Prepare for EMP

This section will help you commit yourself to the cause of preparing for EMP a little like the films in an old-school driver’s education class that showed you brains on the highway. If they watch enough of those, even teenagers will drive more carefully … at least for a while. So don’t forget to periodically re-commit yourself if you begin to lose motivation.

“One Second After” and “One Year After”

one-afterWilliam H. Forstchen wrote the NY Times Best Seller “One Second After”, which is a fictional one.

Forstchen wrote this novel to help ordinary people better understand the threat of EMP and what it would be like to experience a nuclear HEMP.

The book is a fictional account of a town’s struggles in the wake of a nuclear HEMP, and how the community overcomes many of the obstacle we might face in such a scenario.

The book was very well received and “One Year After” is the next book in the series. These books are help readers put EMP in context and demonstrate what could happen if we do nothing.

EMPact America Website and Newsletter

EMPact America is an organization attempting to enact legislation to harden USA’s critical infrastructure against EMP. EMPact America’s website has an article titled, “What Is Electromagnetic Pulse?” that gives a good overview of EMP. The EMPact America website and newsletter also have a great deal of information on the need to prepare for EMP.

Apocalypse Unknown and Electric Armageddon

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry has led the fight to strengthen critical US infrastructure after being handed the torch from Dr. William R. Graham, the USA’s foremost expert on the subject of EMP.

“Apocalypse Unknown” details this fight against government bureaucracy and the powerful energy lobby, which is afraid of additional regulation and resisting any attempt to harden the electrical grid. This is every bit as big a battle against junk science as oil companies’ argument that lead is good for you and big tobacco arguing that smoking is not harmful to health.

For a  deeper understanding of EMP, there is another book of the same author – Electric Armageddon

EMP Commission Reports

Congress created two EMP commissions to assess the threat of EMP to the nation’s critical infrastructure. The reports of these commissions are helpful in understanding this threat. Here’s the link to EMP Commission Reports on EMPact America Website, in case you want to read it.

US Government Accountability Office Critical Infrastructure Protection Report

This report from GAO on US critical infrastructure highlights the fact that only certain portions of government have any protection from EMP. Your elected officials feel that government communications infrastructure is critical, but it is not critical to keep the infrastructure running that keeps you alive.


HEMP Protection for Ground-Based C41 Facilities Performing Critical, Time-Urgent Missions Part 1 Fixed Facilities. This spec is useful in understanding and constructing Electromagnetic shielding.

Don White’s Books on EMP

Don White is writing a detailed series on EMP preparedness and is three books in so far. Some readers may find them a little dry, but if you are interested in good information on how to protect homes or solar installations, they are full of important information.


EMP Articles at Survivopedia by Cache Valley Prepper

I have written a number of useful articles for Survivopedia spanning a number of EMP-related topics, such as: how to tell if an EMP has happened and what type of EMP it is, vehicles, buildings, solar installations, weapons, and more.

The search brought of a couple of article on other topics that you can skip past, but the average prepper should find them useful and technically accurate. CLICK HERE to find the EMP articles by Cache Valley Prepper on Survivopedia website.

The Darkest Days – How to Survive an EMP Attack to the Grid

The last but not the least, there is “The Darkest Days” – Survivopedia’s EMP survival guide that packs secrets few preppers know, borrowed from the resilient Amish, to survive in the coming days.

Here’s one of the reviews that you could easily find about our EMP survival guide:

Video first seen on Survival Guide.

Is there any other good source of information about EMP preparedness that we missed? Do you have any tricks to share about surviving a blackout? Are you still looking for a better way to prepare for this disaster scenario?

EMPCover2This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

4,543 total views, 10 views today

Cache Valley Prepper

About Cache Valley Prepper

Cache Valley Prepper is the CEO of Survival Sensei, LLC, a freelance author, writer, survival instructor, consultant and the director of the Survival Brain Trust. A descendant of pioneers, Cache was raised in the tradition of self-reliance and grew up working archaeological digs in the desert Southwest, hiking the Swiss Alps and Scottish highlands and building the Boy Scout Program in Portugal. Cache was mentored in survival by a Delta Force Lt Col and a physician in the US Nuclear Program and in business by Stephen R. Covey. You can catch up with Cache teaching EMP survival at survival expos, teaching SERE to ex-pats and vagabonds in South America or getting in some dirt time with the primitive skills crowd in a wilderness near you. His Facebook page is here. Cache Valley Prepper is a pen name used to protect his identity. You can send Cache Valley Prepper a message at editor [at]
Rate this article!
[Total: 34    Average: 2.7/5]


  1. What/where can I go to find out what critical parts I should keep in a Faraday cage for my diesel tractor? I can do without my car, but my tractor will be necessary so I want to keep spare electrical parts.

  2. A service manual for it with wiring diagrams. Then are your gauges electromechanical (have a needle/pointer) or electronic (a tach may have a needle and still be electronic)
    Items that may fail from an EMP: alternator, voltage regulator, glow plug timer (depending on type), Dash gauges and/or sensors, GPS, planter gauges, etc.

  3. I don't specifically prepare for an EMP because I do not believe it to be a viable independent threat (i.e. outside of a full nuclear war), and even if I did, the current research does not provide us any meaningful guidance on what the real impact will be. The majority of what we see in prepper communities about EMP is pure speculation, and much of it contradicts existing test data (as limited as it is).

    • yes...because I put the safety and welfare of my family into the hands of 'educated test data'! With thoughts like that, no need to worry! They are saving a cot for you in the FEMA camp...which you propably do not believe will ever happen either. Prepping to INCLUDE full scale EMP is not that much more than prepping without so, make the effort. Make the plan and take the action. No harm no foul. But to go ANY WHERE, and discount it, discourage prepping for, I'm not sure....potentially criminal! You may see no value in it but it is one of those situations in which, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

  4. Heinrich Mueller says:

    If you want to know what it is like to live after an EMP attack then visit Williamsburg Colonial Virginia. The houses and buildings are a lot like the ones in the modern world except they were built in the 1700s with hand tools. The houses all had fireplaces instead of wood or coal stoves and open wells instead of running water from driven or drilled wells. I suppose they had outhouses of some sort although that is not depicted to the public. Life would be similar to then only the ghostly images of the modern world would be superimposed on the 1700s. The village pharmacy would have its painkillers made of kratom, poppy, cannabis sativa, willow, tart cherry, or other preparations, but would also have homemade penicillin, and hexamine. There would be hundreds of tinctures and decoctions made from plants and herbs. Anti-viral drugs made from elderberries and anti-bacteria’s solutions of onions, garlic, horseradish, hot pepper, turmeric in vinegar. People would be carrying modern firearms with cartridges loaded with black powder or homemade guncotton. Animals would be raised, especially horses and mules along with sheep, goats, chickens and cattle. Vegetable and herb gardens would be everywhere. Food would be preserved by smoking, drying, salt and sugar (honey) curing, pickling, fermenting and canning. Freezing would come later when solar-ammonia units could be built. Small motors, some with generators and some small tractors and cars could be powered with wood gas. More likely and resourcefully buses would be used instead of cars. Communications may be as simple as spark-gap transmitters and crystal receivers, but, hey, the Shadow, Green Hornet and Little Orphan Annie in Morse code are better than nothing. The accomplishments made from the 1860s to the 1960s were phenomenal with European immigrants building ships that sailed above and below the water, airplanes flying in the skies and rockets to the moon. Bridges, roads, dams, and an electrical grid were built. Schools and Hospitals were built. Children learned reading, writing and arithmetic so that they could build even more infrastructure. These innovations did not come out of Nigeria or Mexico. Things might stay a little simpler, this time around and that might be a good thing.

  5. this is all great but near the beginning of the article you should have mentioned what EMT is. l might have understood better what the article is trying to tell me. ???

    • LOL!!! I'm betting most of us are thinking the same thing.....if you are in a site like THIS, one would expect you'd already KNOW what an EMP is!!!!

  6. Craig in CA says:

    What are the most important electronic devices to protect from an EMP? I've wondered about this a lot and wonder if I will be the only one in my town or one of several that have working electronic devices. It is probable that most people will protect smaller devices such as cell phones and maybe even small computers or iPad and such but when there are no longer any cell towers the only cell phones that will work will be satellite phones. The one thing I can think of that might me really useful would be Ham Radios as the have tremendous range that could possibly allow communications with people who are outside the EMP zone. There is also the concern about power to recharge the device. Unless some sort of charging system (I'm thinking Solar) is also protected then there won't be a way to recharge the portable device.
    Do you have any thoughts on this?


Speak Your Mind

All comments, messages, ideas, remarks, or other information that you send to us (other than information protected according to the law) become and remain our property. You are fully responsible for your comment, as depicted in Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy of the website.