The First 15 Things You Must Do Immediately After an EMP

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The First 15 Things You Must Do Immediately After an EMP via The Survival Mom

A couple of years ago I spent a few months researching how an EMP would affect the average household. It wasn’t an easy task since much of what I tried to involved scenarios that have never happened or have happened only in third world countries. It’s been challenging to apply those scenarios to the world in which I’ve grown up.

In a weird way, this research was fun. I feel a bit like Dr. David Livingstone venturing into parts of Africa that had never been imagined, much less explored.

Will my lovely next door neighbors really turn into cannibals, given enough time and lack of food?

Will the gangs and violent predators in the big city nearest me really begin going door to door, as a sort of perverse version of the Jehovah Witnesses, robbing, raping, and killing or will they end up killing each other first?

If well-prepared preppers have the perfect bug out location, equipped with every survival supply possible, how will they get there if the electromagnetic pulse has destroyed the electronic-based engines in their vehicles?

What if you are far, far from home when the worst happens and there is no way to get home, ever? Or what if it’s a child or your husband? What options would you, or they, have?

The approach I took to preparedness and survival in my first book, Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family For Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios, was all about common sense. My goal was to equip the average mom and household with information, checklists, and strategies for surviving the typical natural disaster, medical emergency, or job loss.

My EMP research was different. It contained a lot of doom and gloom because of the nature of a post-EMP world — months and months of life without the power grid and, for the most part, permanently damaged electronics. Eventually, the information I learned and the conclusions I came to made me think twice about the predictions found in most EMP survival novels. Books like One Second After are compelling stories but contain scenarios that not all EMP experts believe will happen.

I believe that desperate times encourage and, in fact, create just the type of environment that breeds innovation. In a post-EMP world, many communities may never need, or want, to go back to old systems once new and better ones have been devised. Time and again we’ve seen communities and entire civilizations rebound after major catastrophes and long-term disasters, such as droughts and years of warfare.

Human beings are damn smart when they need to be.

EMP Survival for moderate preppers

That’s where, you, the moderate prepper can play an important role. Take practical steps now to prepare for everyday emergencies but also keep in mind that worst-case scenarios are entirely possible. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Each month, you can add new skills and knowledge, which is why there is a Survival Mom Skill of the Month! Just pick a skill for the current month, read a few related articles here on my blog, search out YouTube videos for more instruction, if necessary, and get going.
  • You can save money toward buying the gear and supplies that are truly necessary. (Have you joined my 52 Weeks Savings Club on Facebook?)
  • Prepare your body with exercise, training, and healthy eating so we are physically ready for difficult tasks, regardless of the crisis. 

I don’t believe that only Green Berets, Navy SEALS, and the most vicious, lawless predators will be the ones to survive. In fact, moderate preppers already have many advantages over these groups. We recognize warning signs that have led us to take proactive steps to prepare. We’ve incorporated both the mindset and lifestyle of preparedness into our daily lives and, by doing so, blend in with every other household around us.

The “Gray Man“? Yeah, that’s us.

Survivors of a worst case scenario will need to think on their feet, quickly adapt and improvise, and be willing to connect with others to form communities. Moderate preppers who continue to refine their skills and supplies, connect with like-minded people, and stay up to date with the world around them are excellent candidates for EMP survival.

Here’s an EMP Survival tool I have for you

emp survivalMy EMP researched resulted in something longer than a typical blog post, so I am providing here a link for you to download this special report.

As a mom, and knowing the fears that moms have for their kids, I’ve included information for when and how to retrieve your kids from school. I’ve listed items that should be in everyone’s Get Home Bag, tips for informing neighbors about what has happened and why this is a vital thing to do, and specific places to shop for last minute supplies, even if you’re already well-stocked.

There’s peace in being prepared and EMP Survival is possible!

Get my EMP Survival Special Report AND a 4-email mini e-course!

Learn even more about EMP preparedness


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I'm the original Survival Mom and for more than 11 years, I've been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more with my commonsense prepping advice.

245 thoughts on “The First 15 Things You Must Do Immediately After an EMP”

  1. You posted this at just the right time! I’ve never had EMPs at the top of my danger list, but I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately. In the past, I’ve worked with hearty men who could look out for themselves. Now, I’m responsible for a small store that employs mostly older women and young kids, several of whom depend on me to get them back and forth. We had a major power outage recently that blew out some of our equipment, and it got me thinking about what would happen if this was widespread and I couldn’t just call our maintenance men. My GHB and EDC are always with me, but if something like this happens while I’m at work, a lot of people are going to be looking to me for guidance.

    1. You should prepare for the worst possible, then you will always be prepared for everything else. To me the worst possible is an EMP.

  2. Please send the attachment for one sec after. I have signed up for your newsletter but have not been able to find the article. Everything I click on routes me to sign up for the newsletter. Am I just doing this wrong? Thanks.

  3. Just finished reading it. Very good information in there (and the use of cash is one way that will be easier for stores to deal with as credit card/debit card usage might not work). Just one more idea to put in another book (or article), stocking up now on stuff you might not have a use for yourself, but would be great in a barter society. Alcohol, cigarettes, sanitary products, stuff of that nature is a great bartering item. Life post EMP will be difficult. For smokers/drinkers, it will be insane. Also, I took an emergency medical class and we were told to stock up on cloth diapers/all types of feminine hygiene products. They work great for what they were designed for, but also dressings, wraps, cleaning rags……. Download (and even more importantly, PRINT) instructions for doing stuff with them as your electronic devices might not work. Storing all your info in one spot on your Kindle is great, having your Kindle not work, a disaster. So looking forward to your book and love your information!

  4. dear survival mom: great site, thanks for all this work. two questions:
    a) i live in an apartment (just me and my wife). I inclined to shelter in place but i heard different discussions about having an actual bug-out location. what’s your opinion on this…bug out or stay sheltered?

    b) where can i get your attachment on emp?

    all the best, oj

  5. I would like a copy of the attachment on EMP also. Thank You for all this information. You are making all this scary stuff so matter of fact you are easing my worry!

  6. Please send 15 things after an EMP.
    Question: We have a standby generator (covered with a fairday bag to protect it) in case of EMP, but what about the solar panels? Won’t the electronics inside the panels get fried and thus the generator won’t be able to be recharged?

  7. > Any type of light source:

    Including your garden/footpath solar night lights.

    Bring ’em inside at night for illumination. Didn’t think of that and thought it was one cool approach.

  8. Please sign me up for the emails regarding the 15 things you should do first after an EMP – Thank you for all your useful information. 🙂 ♡

  9. Katherine Meals

    Hi, Could you resend the things to do after an EMP….to my email??? I must have missed it the first time. Thank you!!!

  10. Would love to have a copy of the 15 Things article, Lisa. I signed up and it said I’m already subscribed, but I haven’t received it. Great work, I’m back to being a weekly reader of the website again, and enjoying all the knowledge you so generously share. Hope you and the family are well.

  11. I would love a copy of your 15 things to do after an EMP. I tried signing up for your emails but for some reason have not received the confirmation email (it is not in my junk folder either).

  12. I have not received a confirmation to my email. I don’t think my request went through. Thank you

  13. im already making plans for my wife to deal with it, without me! As there are a lot of us that have pacemakers or electronic devices to live. We thought of a room that’s emp safe, but you have to be in it when it happens. I will not stay in a room waiting for it to happen. Wish they made a A faraday jumpsuit! Ha. My life is in the Masters hands already. praise Him.

  14. I’ve been working on this myself. I would really appreciate getting to read your 15 things. Good luck on your book. I will definitely be interested in buying and reading it.

  15. I know what most people will do PANIC !!! Other than running in the community or on a treadmill at the local “health” club most couldn’t run a hundred yards. Most wont know in which direction to go to get home or which would be the safest. The majority couldn’t tell you how long they can go without water or food. They dont know at what temperature you start to get a problem. Most do not have clothing that will provide protection to get them home. most will not have shoes that are used for walking any distance. Our lives are structured around style and no function. How many keep extra clothing at work to provide extra protection if stranded in fowl weather. Working in many industries I can answer, a rare occurrence is normal. The answer doesnt take a lot of trainning just mostly common sense and a small carry on bag with shoulder strap. walking shoes and slip on rubber boots. knee length nylons for both men and women regular socks and wool socks button down sweater and waterproof jacket. gloves or hunters mittens. packaged hand-warmers( replaced yearly) and lighters and waterproof matches a brand name knife that is kept sharp. A map and compass and learn how to use them A hat with ear covers with brim that hides the face. Watch the other people and try not to stick out and look as if you have something of value. Remove all rings ear rings and inserts to the face. The popular way is become grey! A steady pace with regulated steps will get you farther than running. This was taught in our military training. Dont wait until shit happens walk the paths you would take to get home to know what to expect. Know the largest streets and know the way to take to get away. sometimes rail road tracks provide the straightest rout out of the city. it will provide the easiest walk even with the rocks. in the middle of the tracks you can see someone coming for a long way for there is no place for ambush. lastly have a drop bag that looks full and keep lightweight useless stuff that will give a noisy landing like rocks in an empty can. When they stop to see what they have have it sewed shut so it will take them time to open. It will give you more time to put distance between you and the thieves. The best advice !!! Do your homework for knowledge weighs nothing.

  16. In case of emergency and there is no power, always be ready with your flashlights,( rechargeable or battery operated) and some candles too. I just wanted too ask, what does EMP means?

  17. Joyce Eikenberry

    Thank you so much, just for being there! I have a new young friend with three children, and she’s sort of my “project” for TEOTWAKI. She doesn’t believe it will be “that bad…” I know better! Having lived without electricity, running water and a car in the past, and knowing some folk (Amish) who live without those things every day, I can say I’m pretty much prepared. Yes, there are still “holes” but I’m doing what I can to “patch” them. We could all take lessons from the Amish…

  18. You would think the first thing you would do is, define what EMP is within your first two sentences. So what in the heck does EMP mean?

  19. I really like some of the comments so think the article will be great. Please send me the EMP first things to do.

    Thank you so very much

  20. 1. Get to family rendezvous point and make a plan based on everyone’s information for the next 12 hours. Do Not have a rigid plan for specific scenarios ahead of time. Adaptability and flexibility are key.
    2. Set plan in motion to get/stay safe.
    3. Take stock of your resources when everyone is safe. Plan for the next 7 days.
    4. Over the next week gather intelligence and make connections. Depending on scenario and likely timeline for things to get back to a new normal decide on a location that will maximize your chances of survival.
    5. Take stock of the personal skill sets within your group. Decide if it’s worth staying and investing your knowledge and resources to cultivate those relationships for long term survival. If not, move on. Quickly, quietly.

  21. Getting more serious with preparation now. Too many other immediate life crises have interferred.
    Thanks for a copy. And the best to us all.

  22. This might be an interesting read. Having said that, I don’t appreciate this “online ” marketing approach. I thought maybe you would share at least one little tidbit of useful information. If really good tidbit, I might be more inclined to bite for more. As it is, I’ve already wasted too much time on this. Mom NTY.

    1. Whew! It’s a good thing I don’t run my site to gain your approval. Actually, if you would have read through this article, you would have found a link to the special report without any need to subscribe.

  23. I get your emails on my computer but ever time I try to apply for the info on EMP, it says My address is already in your mail list but I never receive the info on EMP’s.

    what am I doing wrong, how do I get that info. Once I get it and digest it, if I am doing anything different I will let you know so you can incorporate it as you like,

    Bob and Kay

  24. What happens if you do get yourself relatively established after such a disaster, but the “government” wants to come and take you away to a “safer” place? Are you obliged to go with them, or do you have the choice to stay where you are as long as you are sustaining yourself and your family?

  25. Some good basic advice there for any emergency situation 🙂

    BTW: A nuclear explosion high in the upper atmosphere will disrupt the Earth’s magnetosphere so after sundown Aurora Borealis will be visible at much lower latitudes. Google “Starfish Prime Nuclear Test”

  26. A great nonfiction book to read and add to your preparedness knowledge base is
    Ted Koppel’s LIGHTS OUT. Bottom line is: Don’t wait for your government to come
    in and help you. You are on your own. so it is up to you to save yourself and your family. Start today!

  27. I would also like the information that you have available. Thanks. I subscribe to your newsletters which are so informative.

  28. Hi, Lisa. I came across your 15-things-to-do list and I find it quite interesting. I have to admit, I’m quite fresh at the subject of preparedness but from I read before, now I consider some of steps disputable. For instance, I realy doubt if it is safe to commute easily throughout the town, let’s say 10 hrs past the event and to make shoping safely. There will be simply too much crime and violence. Taking out your firearm increases the probability you get shot or get it stolen by armed (much better, believe me) criminals. Later, spending priceless hours for gathering tons of stuff for ‘any ocasions’ at home may result a waste of time. No public safety means your home is no longer a stronghold, since you cannot defend it at all. Imagine an armed group comming in and throwing you out. Resistence is the dumbest thing you can do then. In one instance you loose all the storage that you counted on for your survival. Maybe the thing is about how long one’s house stays safe on particular emergencies. I hope I’m wrong but in but in my opinion it is better to prepare a couple of well equiped hiding places in less populated areas (wood, countryside, etc.) that would work for ANY emergency/conflict and try to harbor your family there FASTEST possible, rather than to rely on your walls, vehicle and guns because those are the first things that get violently robbed (or confiscated) in case of emergencies.

    1. You make some good points. Every single decision post-EMP/CME/cyberterrorism will have to be done on a case by case basis. Where my husband works, in no way would he be safe to stay. He might be lucky to get home alive. In our small town, yes, it will be safe for hours, if not a couple of days. Some believe there is a giant “zombie switch” that will be flipped once the power grid goes out and everyone will turn into killing machines. I happen to not believe that. There’s simply no way to compare Nacogdoches, Texas with St. Louis or Albuquerque or Spokane, and expect that people of all ages, races, socioeconomic groups, etc. will react in exactly the same way. From the sound of your comment, it seems like prepper/survival fiction frames a good deal of what you think will happen. Most people, when they read One Second After, for example, are absolutely convinced that scenario is inevitable. The United States is a massive country with thousands and thousands of towns, cities, communities, and a huge variation in demographics. Each person and location will not react in the same way. My advice for going out to shore up any supplies, is based on 3 assumptions: 1) You are fairly well if not fully prepped already. 2)It is safe to do so. Preppers as a whole will be way too smart to leave their homes if they know they would be in immmediate danger, but that’s a call each of us will have to make. Example: You have a diabetic in the family and only have a short supply of insulin. Well, you’ll have to decide whether or not it’s riskier to go out and get that insulin, if possible, or stay, knowing your loved one will be dead within a few weeks, at most. 3) You have cash on hand. Post-EMP, it will almost certainly be 100% worthless. If you can go to the corner store and buy OTC medications, alcohol/booze, anything for barter, etc. — just about anything will help improve your chances of survival.

      The collapse of a modern day power grid in a nation the size with the level of comfort and conveniences we have has, obviously!, never happened before. In spite of fiction authors making their best guesses, there’s no way to know exactly how this might all come down. I believe there will be neighborhoods in large cities that will be safe for a time and small towns that will go zombie quickly. There are millions of variables and all any of us can do is become as informed as possible, as prepared as possible, and then as watchful as possible. Ultimately, our survival will depend on our decisions and luck.

  29. Dear Lisa,
    I would like to receive the link to your article The First 15 Things…

    Hopefully, none of us will ever need this knowledge, but I’d rather be prepared. Thanks for all you are doing.

  30. Please edit your article to identify what the letters mean. Anacrime are great if everyone knows what they are, but not when we don’t!

  31. There’s a fabric on the market that claims to block EMP. It is about $25/linear foot. It can be made into a car cover.

  32. An EMP blast can only be caused two ways: Massive solar flare — Considering how far away Earth is from the sun; it’s highly unlikely. air burst nuclear blast. Which countries have the ability to seriously do it?
    If an Emp attack is such a powerful weapon; WHY HASN’T ANYONE DONE IT YET? If you plan on capturing an area; Does it make sense to destroy it’s
    computer networks and electrical grid first?

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