Surviving An EMP Attack: Part Two

After an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack, life will not be the same. Society will begin to crumble and law enforcement will no longer be available to help with emergency situations. One of the most important survival strategies following an EMP event is evacuation. This could be to a secure bug out location you have previously designated or to an area of the country not affected by the EMP.

Transportation Following an EMP Event

Getting to either your bug out location or even to just a less-populated area can prove to be a difficult challenge. All modern cars rely heavily on electronic components to operate and will be completely useless after an EMP event.

Older vehicles are not as susceptible to complete failure because they rely more on mechanical processes for operation. An older model vehicle is defined as a vehicle manufactured in the1970s or before. The simpler the engine, the better your chances of being able to use that vehicle for travel.

If you are fortunate enough to have one of these vehicles on your property, it may be ready to go right away. Worst case scenario, the battery and starter solenoid are damaged. These items are only used for starting the vehicle and can be bypassed by pop-starting the vehicle.

If it is a manual transmission, simply hold in the clutch and push the vehicle until it reaches 5 to 10 mph before rapidly releasing the clutch. In an automatic, keep the gear selector in neutral while gaining speed and then quickly switch it into to drive. Once the engine on one of these older vehicles is started, the process is self-sustaining.

Even in older vehicles, an EMP could disable the few electronic components that are necessary for operation. Specifically, these include the spark plugs and the distributor. These parts are inexpensive and small so it is advisable to keep an extra set of spark plugs and a distributor cap in your survival bag just in case.

If an older vehicle is not present, other modes of transportation might include tractors, gas powered golf carts, or older model ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicle). Following an EMP it is not guaranteed that any of these machines will be fully functional but there is a good chance that they can help you travel faster than you would be able to on foot.

Food and Water

The technological advances made by society during the Information Age will become serious drawbacks following an EMP event. Computers, the Internet, manufacturing facilities, and communications all rely on the power grid to function.  Once the power grid has been disabled, all these operations will cease to function. That means no food on the shelves, no public water purification services, and no law enforcement to keep order.

{adinserter backyardliberty}Scientists have estimated that most humans will only survive for 12 to 18 months after a large scale EMP. Society has become so dependent on technology that without it, very few necessities are going to be available. The mass population is not preparing; even the U.S. government is not prepared for the devastating effects of a large scale EMP.

Supply lanes will be halted as they also rely on the power grid. Unfortunately, society has become so dependent on importing food that many areas cannot sustain themselves for even a week without food from outside sources. Think about a large city like New York or Los Angeles.

These places have huge populations of people and no agricultural production of their own. Stores are 100 percent reliant on trucks to keep the shelves full of food and supplies. Potable water is usually transported from hundreds of miles away into these large metropolitan areas. These transportation systems require the power grid and without it, millions of people will instantly feel the effects.

Storing your own non-perishable food supplies is an excellent way to avoid the immediate effects of the EMP. Although your supplies are finite, a couple months supply of food puts you in a position where you can carefully plan your long-term survival strategy.

Water is another concern. The human body can only survive approximately three days without water. Without public water supplies, you need to have a large supply of potable water on hand or have methods for purifying your own water.

Boiling, iodine treatments, and constructing a still are all excellent ways to purify water. Iodine treatment should be considered a short term solution because excessive exposure to iodine is harmful, especially to children and women who may be pregnant.


Every modern home relies on either electricity or fossil fuels for heating. Some homes even use a combination of both to maintain a constant temperature throughout the structure. These services are not going to be available following an EMP. Air conditioning is a luxury that did not become mainstream until about 50 years ago.

It is certainly not a necessity. Cold weather, however, is responsible for thousands of deaths each year. Exposure to freezing temperatures can bring the human body to its knees within hours. Even in desert climate zones, nighttime temperatures can often fall below the freezing point.

Heating your home in a world devoid of modern conveniences is paramount. You have to look for heating methods that do not require electricity or fossil fuels. The single best option is to use wood. In most areas of the country, wood is a plentiful resource and can be used to efficiently heat a home.

The wood stove is the easiest and most cost effective method of home heating. Available in a variety of sizes and styles, a wood stove provides heat and a hot surface perfect for cooking. Wood stoves have been used to provide reliable heating for centuries and in some parts of the country are still used as a primary heat source.

In more moderate climates where temperatures remain relatively stable, a wood stove may not be required. Passive solar heating is often all that is required to maintain a constant temperature. Solar heating harnesses the power of the sun by allowing as much sunlight as possible into the home through windows during the day.

The insulation of the home holds the heat in during the night. This type of heating can be used anywhere but in colder climates it should be considered a supplement to a wood stove or other heating source.


This article has been written by Bryan Wilde for Survivopedia.

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….Surviving an EMP Attack: Part Three

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  • Some of the information concerning 1970 era cars is inaccurate. Having an extra distributor cap will do you little good if you do not have the underlying components, namely a condenser and points. In addition, you would probably have to go back to the 1950’s era to get around another glaring omission, that of the alternator. Alternators depend on a diode rectifier bridge to change the AC generated to the DC used by the vehicle. Their predecessors used DC generators which are largely unaffected by an emp unless running at the time. Even older vehicles and some tractors through the 40’s used magnetos to generate their power. However many of the older systems, which usually ran on 6 volt systems, were converted to 12 volt alternator systems for convenience.
    What might be the wisest investment, would be a bike motor conversion, 2 cycle, and get a few extra electronic ignition modules to keep in a faraday cage. I guess a 4 cycle would work, as would a lawn mower motor on a go cart, however again, the extra modules would be necessary. These units generate their own ignition power by induction. Now there may be a question of the wiring being affected that may have to be over come. I guess one could store one of these engines in a faraday cage as prep, and that would resolve the issue altogether.
    Longer term, the issue will be fuel for such vehicles. Alcohol is a possibility for gas engines, however materials in seals built for gas may not react well to exposure to alcohol, especially those in older vehicles. Diesel vehicles can utilize vegetable oils, but newer engines have issues with the glycerine in the oil so conversion to biodiesel is recommended. Also, a method for extracting the oil from grain and nuts would be needed. Hydraulics or screw type extractors would be needed.

  • What is an EMP attack?

  • Since every solar, and wind powered, alternative power generating device Uses electronic components in their charge controllers, inverters and diodes, in solar panels, how would these devices react to an EMP attack?

    • Poorly unless they are stored / kept in a faraday cage.

  • Does anybody know if a large scale EMP would disable or damage solar panels and their components or not?

  • There is at least one government study that predicts in the case of an EMP attack or a solar flare in the higher X class would result in the death of 90% of Americans in the first year. Lack of water, then food and killing each other would be the leading causes of death and then disease would follow because of malnutrition and lack of medical care. Distributor caps should be fine. I can’t say the same for the condenser. The spark plugs should also be fine with a little touch up with an emery board and resetting of the gap. The spark plug wires might be shot, unless they are the old copper wire ones. Generators can be fixed with a little emery cloth and small hand tools. They came in both 12 and 6 volt sizes, back in the day. Any gasoline engine from before 1960 likely has a generator. A set of brushes would be a good investment and then the generator and a home made windmill will provide power. It used to be called a wind charger back before WWII and were common in rural areas. They are simple to build. Wire your hideout for 12 volt as in RV appliances and you are set. If you check plans for a Faraday Cage you can figure out how to make a metal travel trailer to serve as one. Even a car body will work. How ever I really don’t see why you would need to travel at all if you make plans now for where you are. Travel will be dangerous and you will be in the open and subject to attack from all sides. If you do get to where you want to go you may be refused entrance at gun point. Then what? I have planted thorny plants all around my property and shrubs to hide my residence from easy view and plan to stay right where I am for at least a year. I drilled a well and have stock up a years worth of food and enough ammo of small caliber(.22 LR and .17 cal. pellets) to feed my grandson and I for many years and enough large caliber ammo to defend us for a extended siege. The pellets guns are of target grade and exceed 1200 FPS and will kill small game quietly. Pellets are cheap and I have thousands of them. I live in the country and there are a lot of rabbits, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, armadillos, snakes, turtles and birds that can be taken with a pellet gun. Wild hogs and deer require a larger firearm and make a lot of noise and may draw unwanted attention. I also have several traps that make no noise. I think the best way to survive is to go un-noticed by others. If you do happen to have electrical power I would suggest you hide it well. A gasoline engine will draw a lot of attention that might be very bad people. A light showing in the night will draw more than insects. Remember you will not have any friends. Everyone will be the enemy. If you drop your guard you will die. Do not tell anyone what you have stored away. When people are dying of thirst and hunger and seeing their loved ones dying they will do what ever it takes to save them. Plan on at least a year for power to be restored and then even longer for order to return, if it ever does. I would also suggest a Bible, but that is up to you. Reading materials of some sort would be a good idea and simple board games if others will be sheltering with you. It will be boring without the distractions we are used to. Survival books are a good thing to have. Don’t forget Superglue and Duct Tape for emergencies such as cuts in addition to a good first aid kit. A good medical book on first aid will be good reading also. This is a little long, but an EMP event will be a long event, plan on it.

    • Some good comments. One additional thing I would like to add, however it may be beyond the capabilities of the average reader here, would be to investigate building and use of a Tesla coil to generate AC. Tesla coil would likely only be useful in lighting, due to the frequencies involved, however could be useful as a perimeter defense weapon. As it uses DC as it’s primary source, it goes well with the DC generator.

      Some additional reading materials would be a line of books by Gingery (sorry, can’t remember the first name). They cover making an entire machine shop from scratch. There are many other books in that vein at I used to get these and other titles at Lindsay Publications, but it looks like they have shut down for retirement. However, they have linked to several sources for similar publications,, and via an indirect link,
      One thing that I had looked at five or six years ago was what it would take to create a generator from a 3 phase motor. It takes some work, and the problem of voltage regulation is an issue, but it can be done. Most of the data I was able to find was on-line, there does not seem to be a single printed source.

      For all engines, the problem after such an event will be fuel stocks. Knowing how to produce alcohol will be essential in this respect, however not all engines take well to 100% alcohol (mainly seal issues). Knowing how to build and run a wood gassifier would be an alternative, and if running diesel, knowing how to extract oils from grains and nuts will be needed. Again, information on the latter is sparse, though what I have seen involves a conical auger device and is beyond the resources of most. I believe an alternative could be made using a hydraulic ram.
      Welding can be done with batteries for short periods. Longer duration will require a generator with sufficient amperage. This also will be a desirable skill for recovery from an EMP,

  • Bryan, out of curiosity, what was your source for the car information?

  • So have you forgotten about our humble friend, the lowly bicycle? 100% EMP proof. Requires no fuel of its own. Mechanically simple. Much more efficient than walking. And you probably already have a couple laying around.

    Believe it or not, law enforcement is not 100% reliant on electric power. You may stand a better chance of receiving police service if you remain in a population center, but in any case the police can and will do their jobs with or without computers and radios. Oh, and by the way, many cops in my area are electing to do some portion of their patrols on bicycles! Funny how that works out.

  • Read the novel “One Second After”, where the author, William Forstchen, details how we would live after the attack. He is a history professor and puts lots of autobiographical information into the novel. The website is: Very well written and goes into details on how to survive after the attack…

  • As an aerospace worker with EMI/EMP testing experience, let me make a few adjustments to this article. EMP is only picked up by long wires, which act as antennae. Certainly all the hazards of loosing the power grid and copper communications lines are just as depicted here — those lines are miles long. But consider that this author lists things like spark plugs and distributor caps as vulnerable to the few volts picked up by a few feet of wire, when they easily handle over 30,000 volts several times a second to fire your cylinders! Can you take anything else said here seriously? Airplanes get hit all the time with million volt 15,000 amp lightning bolts, and if even one fell out of the air as a result you’d have heard it on the news. A car is the safest place to be in an electric storm, because it too is inherently shielded by the Faraday cage effect. You’d lose the radio because of its antenna, and you’d probably suffer temporary blindness and deafness, but your car would still start and run. And when was the last time your water stopped running when the grid went out, even from a lightning strike? Water companies have emergency generators to keep the pumps going for days or weeks on diesel storage tanks. Sure there are real long term life critical issues, but look elsewhere for articles by people who use real historical disasters, including EMP weapons used recently. The U.S. power grid would never recover because we no longer have heavy industry to supply replacement parts or the many years and money it took to build them. Any sudden disruption to critical national systems (financial, transport, food supply, even public morale) would have the same lethal effect on world populations. Adopting a personally sustainable lifestyle outside of any city is the only way to minimize (not eliminate) your exposure to this extremely precarious situation. That includes educating yourself from realistically knowledgable sources, until you’re actually providing more than half of your real needs, so the adjustment to sudden deprivation will be manageable. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those sources. Keep looking.

    • The difference between an EMP and EMF is that when something is struck by a high voltage, lightning etc. that voltage can be mitigated by isolating and or grounding an object. Planes are isolated from becoming a conductor and suffering serious damage because they are so far away from the ground. A plane struck by lightning while sitting on the ground is not so lucky.
      That again is an EMF event where the electricity is already existing. An EMP event turns everything metallic into its on generation device, electro magnetic pulse, a generator is simply a conductor passed through a magnetic field, or a magnetic field passed by a conductor. The intensity of the voltage generated is predicated on the intensity of the magnetic field and / or the size and length of a conductor. That conductor does not have to be miles long it is far more efficient in the shape of a coil ie generator, alternator, magneto etc.
      generating even the smallest amount of current on the wrong leg of a diode, transistor etc can render that device useless. The main problem with automobile alternators these days is the diodes going bad.
      Everything in a car from the electric door locks to the ignition system relies on electronics that are very fragile.
      Forget travel, you don’t want to be out there. Get to your safe place the best way you can, make a plan with your loved ones that you will all get to that place the best you can. Then organize a search plan for those you are missing from your fold. Make sure everyone knows the routs to and from that everyone takes, make sure everyone knows to stay on that route so that they might be found.
      You will only have a day or so to gather everyone in before panic hits the streets.
      Aquaponics, hydroponics, victory gardening, poultry, rabbits, fish all easy to raise and care for.
      You may get tired of zucchini after a while but the stuff grows like wild fire, food is food.
      Thanks Daniel, forgot all about my pellet guns for small game, can do, and have-a-heart traps are inexpensive and efficient, thanks for the tip. Have 22 but like the idea of being quiet.

  • Hello, everything is going perfectly here and ofcourse every one is sharing information, that’s really good, keep up writing.

  • I notice this article does not mention the adverse health effects that pulsed microwave radiation in these huge doses will have on people, flora, fauna and the environment including the food we eat. This man made microwave radiation is a proven carcinogen at levels far below the level required for this phenomena to occur, so there wouldn’t be many people or other organisms remaining alive if this scenario happened. As well as the devices you want to save, people also would need to be in a faraday cage for their health protection. Various authorities and the military already use this man made pulsed microwave radiation as a carcinogenic warfare weapon to target individuals, groups and large gatherings which show animosity to or are against that authority or government’s agenda.

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  • Any one in the Wichita that could train me?

    • I’m a fifty five year old living in the country. Family will head here. I need to be ready.

  • I have an electric water pump. How can I can convert to manual? Has the hand crank.

  • If 90% of us are going to be dead within a year! why worry about it. We should all just have a big party and enjoy the fact we will have to be caught up in the daily rat race. If we had one EMP, what would happen if we had more than one, or a dozen every day for years. We are to focused on our technology and not on our common sense. Humans have been living successfully on this planet for thousands of years without technology. Plants and animals have done the same. I am confident that mankind can carry on without electricity. An EMP may do us all some good to were people get healthier and focus more on the needs of their family and community and their God.

  • My son has cochlear implants and rechargeable batteries with them his batteries have to be plugged into an outlet to charge.. the way things look now im concerned about his future it seems more likely for an emp attack now days, how can I protect his ,”ears”, from an emp how can I find power to charge them is there anything I can buy to plug his batteries up? I know there are emp proof bags/cages but I need a source of renewable energy in case something were to happen. Any ideas?

    • Solar panel. A small one in a metal trash can. Copper scarf. Move to Maine or Vancouver BC.