15 Things I learned from One Second After & My Survival Tips

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I didn’t want to read One Second After by William R. Forstchen.  I knew it was a dismal and depressing book, so I procrastinated. I read rave reviews of the book, I knew the general storyline but hesitated because the book reflects one of my deepest fears — trying to survive longterm without a power grid.

15 Things I Learned From One Second After & My Survival Tips, one second after, emp survival

The book describes life in a North Carolina town following an EMP attack. This permanently destroys everything that relies on electronics: cars, airplanes, all communication, medical equipment, etc.  I finally forced myself to read it, and, yes, it was dismal, depressing, and discouraging. I much prefer an economic collapse to a post-EMP world.

One Second After paints a fearful picture

The possibility of a future EMP event has resonated with millions of people in America and around the globe because the results would be devastating. From my book, Survival Mom: How to prepare your family for everyday disasters and worst-case scenarios, I wrote:

“The consequences would be devastating and casualties would, eventually, be in the millions. (Remember, this is the worst-case scenario!) Communities would have little protection of police and fire departments. Prisoners would easily be able to escape, and it wouldn’t take long for hospital generators to run out of fuel and no longer be able to care for patients. Much of the military’s equipment and transportation would be rendered useless to a large degree, unless the machinery has been hardened to be either EMP-resistant or EMP-proof.

Backup generators for electrical plants, including nuclear power plants, and city water and sewage systems would run out of fuel in short order. In fact, there’s a good chance the generators themselves would be of no use because they, too, contain electronic components. We saw something similar happen in Japan after the calamitous earthquake and tsunami in 2011, when fuel for backup generators didn’t arrive in time to prevent a meltdown.

If you happen to be on vacation when an EMP burst happens, you would likely never be able to return home. How does a family of four walk from Disney World to Richmond? It’s likely you would never hear from loved ones again, unless they lived within walking distance and traveling that distance by foot was safe, which is doubtful. That Emergency Broadcasting System that interrupts your favorite TV programs would be just as dead as your cell phone and laptop computer.”

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Here are just a few things that stuck with me after reading One Second After and pondering how it would affect me, personally, and ideas for preparing for such an event.

1. Buy an Edsel.  Or not.  Having viable transportation in a SHTF scenario, in this case, an EMP attack, immediately makes one vulnerable to theft and violence.  On the other hand, transportation will save lives. The flip side of that is that any operating vehicle is an easy target for theft or “confiscation” by authorities. Each member of my family now owns a high-quality bicycle with spare tires. I next want to build at least 2 small trailers that we could pull behind the bikes to carry supplies, groceries, etc

2. In a true end of the world scenario, stocking up on food will be viewed as hoarding and susceptible to confiscation.  There will be a definite line between the haves and have-nots, even if the haves only have two more cans of soup than everyone else.

3. Distances that, today, are insignificant, would mean never again seeing loved ones or even your own home if you were stranded far enough away, without transportation of any kind.  Especially if you had to walk through miles of the desert or other difficult terrains. In One Second After, transportation becomes a significant problem.

4. I really don’t want to be one who dies off because of poor health and fitness.  I want to be physically strong enough to walk many miles, carrying supplies, riding a bike for days at a time, etc. Now is the time to take care of health issues and begin to build strength, endurance, and optimal health. You can read more about easy ways to improve your fitness level in this article.

5. Being a refugee places you in so much danger, that hunkering down, no matter where is probably preferable.

6. Young men will be at a premium for hard physical labor and security.  I need to get my son into martial arts and speed up his firearm training! My daughter, too, for that matter!

7. There will be a window of time, initially, in which very few people will realize what has happened.  That is probably true in many different types of crises.  It will be vital to process and accept reality as quickly as possible.

8. There’s probably no such thing as having too much-stored food as long as you rotate it and keep it as safe as possible from the enemies of food storage.

9. If I get injured anywhere on my body, no matter how minor it may seem, take it seriously!  And stock up on a good first aid kit and plenty of hand sanitizer.

10. Paranoia may keep me alive. A Hazmat suit probably wouldn’t hurt.

11. Stock up on books like the Foxfire series, Mother Earth News, books about pioneer skills, and first aid manuals. We own just about every Backwoods Home anthology, and I’ve assigned articles to my kids as school projects.

12. Check out antique stores and estate sales for all sorts of low-tech, pre-computer age tools and appliances. Make a game out of getting prepared without spending much money.

13. Skills and supplies are equally important. In One Second After, it’s a group of young college kids who knew a bit about foraging who helped out.

14. Contrary to the events written about in Patriots, an EMP event would be the absolute worst-case scenario, hands down.

15. It would be worth my time to research What’s in Your Faraday Cage? A Common Sense Guide to Preparing For an EMP

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 15 Things I Learned From One Second After & My Survival Tips, one second after, emp survival

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 9 years.

102 thoughts on “15 Things I learned from One Second After & My Survival Tips”

  1. I felt total despair after reading this book too. I had read Patriots first and agree that the scenario there would be much less difficult than an EMP. This is a main reason (though not the only one) that I wish Newt Gingrich would be our next president. He seems to be the only possible candidate who is a believer in the strong possiblity of this and wants to be proactive in preparing our grid for such a catastrophe. I had felt like a had a decent start to prepping until I read this book.

    1. Mary, a few days after reading this book, I drove the kids to Utah for a vacation, and the further I got from home, the more I realized how impossible it would be to EVER make our way back if an EMP occurred. I pray that something like this never happens, if only for the sake of all the millions of people who would never know what became of their loved ones.

      1. I knew a woman who grew up in pre-Nazi Germany. She had a large and loving family. When the war was over she had lost every single person she ever knew. Some were dead, some were relocated, some (Including her parents) were simply gone and she never knew where or how. She was conscripted to work post-war clean up, and fortunately knew clerical skills. Otherwise she would have lived in a crowded, crime-ridden camp of physical laborers. This woman was not Jewish, nor Polish, nor any of the peoples the Nazis tried to exterminate. She was German. but her family was anti-Nazi. Even just your politics can make you a victim.

  2. Just a suggestion. Join an 18th century Living History Group that are into Historical Trekking. You will get regular practice, you will learn primitive survival skills and period living skills, you will be trained, you will be fully equiped, your family will be trained,equiped and ready also.

    If any individuals or groups stand a chance of survival. it will be 18th century historical trekking groups and individuals.

    Regards.

    1. That’s a very good suggestion. I’ve been giving a lot of thought about preparing for something like this. I think to a large extent, survival will depend on geographical location. The survival rate in Phoenix, for example, might be just 10-20% or less. Heat, lack of water, inability to grow your own food on top of the violence and pestilence would insure that very few people survive. In some parts of the country, skills and knowledge might not be enough.

      1. Here's the rest of my (too wordy) comment:

        Here's a good (as in "informative") article on the subject: http://www.survivalblog.com/2010/07/how_long_can_

        There is great hope – more people are prepping and gardening, and hopefully more people will become aware of the EMP and solar storm scenarios and DEMAND that the government actually DO something (like require utilities to have back-up transformers, require the design of EMP-hardened transformers, stock food and seed massively, etc.). The irony is that the more prepared we are for an EMP, the less likely it will be (because many more of us will survive, and do so with revenge in our hearts for those that perpetrated such a hideous crime against humanity and the ability (with a more EMP-prepared military) to do something about it.

        1. Back up transformers? There just aren’t enough, and many are not made here anymore. That’s only part of it, anyway, the grids are controlled by automation, rarely is a switching station operated by hand.

    2. Also, the Amish, who live a non-electronic life will fare well, as well as the Mormon families who have been preparing for years for a disaster like this. Many Hopi Indians live today as their forefathers did, no electricity, no indoor plumbing, living off the land, etc. etc. because they were told that the time would return to this.

      Thank you for the lead on the Living History Group. I doubt if there is one here in Hawaii, but I will research it anyway.

      1. absolutely false IMHO

        the amish have no firearms or defenses. what do you think will happen when even a dozen or more of a starving mob makes it's way in their direction? (and they WILL go there – everyone knows where the prepared are at) think roving gangs of hundreds like in the recent news in the congo – mass attacks with nothing but machetes – think of the masses of welfare recipients in our country who are used to and demand that others provide for them – they will be like a wave of locusts as they move through towns and pillage and destroy everything in their path) these people's mindset is the complete opposite of preparedness and sustainability. it will take weeks or months for starvation and hopefully vigilant security defense before they are subject to darwin's laws. the other thing is look up your local gang statistics within a hundred mile radius – many cities have gang members in excess of 30,000 members – these hoards will be extremely well armed and very used to violence to get what they need to survive.

        it is very naive of you think just because the amish are used to no electricity they will survive this – at their luckiest they would be kept as serfs/slaves to produce food for the gangs who are unable to provide for themselves. we've seen this before in history – i could see it happening once again.

        then factor in the government which would be just another well organized, well stocked gang – the individual citizen 'prepper' has very little chance in much of this upcoming scenario. (it keeps me awake some nights with concern)

        1. The Amish are still part of a larger community. Yes, everyone knows where they are. And yes, they're not armed. But plenty of people around them are, and they can move in with the Amish in an exchange where the Amish feed and house them, and they defend the Amish and provide labor. Ideal? No, but don't write them off so fast. They haven't survived hundreds of years by being stupid.

          1. The Amish also depend on the rest of society to deliver lots of supplies to them, so they will hardly be untouched even if no one resorted to any kind of violence. To be sure, they'll do better and they will certainly help others to learn how to do better for themselves – if they survive as a cohesive group.

          2. they have survived in a pretty benign environment.

            we are talking about a situation that our country has never faced before. even in the 1930's depression we had a majority of citizens with the will and basic skills to survive – not tens of millions of total dependence as we have now.

            look at google/time archives to see photo proof of self- sustainability http://images.google.com/images?q=1930s+poverty+s

            how many americans today do you know that would accept the living conditions as shown in these real world photographs? sleeping above chicken cages etc… not many in america today could fathom that situation (or smell)

            no "gangsta" is going to do that – they will take what they want and demand all needs be met by others as they do now.

            then factor in todays increased aggressive mentality, murder and dangerous drugs that create horrific acts violence and mayhem even WITH rule of law, police protection, and all food and living needs provided. during the depression there was still a lot of civility and a respect for the other man – today is a me first mentality.

            read the recent news on mexico – you think these drug lords with mass murders, shootouts, beheadings etc. cannot happen in our country should our system collapse? these already structured gangs will simply expand their territory and they are already… see where we've given up on protecting american land to drug violence http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPrl4P9AcrQ

            you think m-13 which is already well structured and violent will not become a force possibly as strong as our collapsed government? i see a situation like in the middle east and large warring factions and weak government control as a very real possibility. our government survives solely on money – if there are less taxpayers to pay for their survival – how will they operate? these cartel gangs operate on fear and violence – poor people are better as they are less of a threat to them (don't think our US government is not learning from them)
            http://www.documentary24.com/ms13-worlds-most-danhttp://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-01-05-ga

            take away rule of law, police protection, food, water and shelter for hundreds of thousands or millions and tell me what you see for a typical suburban home that is well known to have supplies.

            even "every day news" of home invasions are often carried out by an average of 3-5 armed intruders. could you defend from that? could the amish? in this situation would your neighbors risk their lives and supplies to leave their home to come defend yours? what if there are multiple gangs waiting just for that event to then attack the now undefended homes?

            some recent news reports even in our "cared for" society show near para-military skills of as many as 8 armed intruders for simple home invasions – these will be the basis of the new warring tribes. they would rather kill you to get your belongings and if you have a well defended fortress they would rather burn and destroy your supplies (and you too) with the "if we can't have them neither can you attitude"

            perhaps a trip to a local ghetto or gang infested area is in order then think of that times 10. (or maybe times 100) may give some additional insight…

            now granted i hope/think if our country collapses simply via economic reasons etc i look to argentina for a guide (ferfal) but a EMP etc – yes that would mean potentially much larger infrastructure damage and with our "just in time" delivery systems there will be a lot of hungry and angry people… i see the welfare districts as danger 1, then later gang and other lawless areas as 2, then even your own neighbors and civil areas turning to unrest as they become hungry etc… are you positive that your neighbor would not kill you to feed his family with your supplies in an extended lawless period?

            rural areas may be safer for a while, but eventually those (as termed) golden hoards will look for food elsewhere – the myth of 1 tank of gas will not hold true either as they will simply siphon gas from other tanks/vehicles (and i suspect there will be some vehicles that would survive due to either preparation or dumb luck circumstances) – the will to survive at any cost is very strong. even more so when combined with evil intents… (based on history)

            i really like this survival mom site, good content with not so much "end of world" focus – i read it to learn about one facet of preparation – but there are many equally important facets that i see as necessary. i try to prepare (physically as well as mentally) as best as we can, but there isn't really a perfect situation as a solution – but unfortunately i see the possibility of violence as a much greater result of potential breakdown of law and order.

          3. The Amish are armed….they hunt too….and shoot varmits that are threatening their chickens….but no, they would not shoot a person so in a sense they are not armed.

        2. I dont where you got the idea Amish don’t have weapons. They were at every gun show I was at with big empty carts buying up ammo, weapons, everything you could want.1993 til I moved in 2010.
          They had plans in place, if you were not one of them you were not welcome.
          I would not try to take them on.
          Best Regards,RangerRick

        3. Why on earth are welfare recipients so often cited as ones who will go rampaging and stealing? Do you people actually KNOW anyone on welfare? I do and many of them do have survival skills that will be useful post SHTF. The people who scare me are the yuppie types without a clue how to feed themselves without access to Outback Steakhouse or some such. They will think that their money means they DESERVE my stuff. Even though I cant feed it to my kid.

        4. Re: “the amish have no firearms or defenses.” What a crock. Do you even know any Amish? They last thing I would even think of trying would be to raid and Amish farm in Mississippi …. I’d be dead in 3 feet. Do some research!

        5. guest says —– There are so many things wrong with your treatise that I cannot begin to take it apart. You have obviously failed to understand the most basic concepts of survival, preparedness, human nature, and ….. never mind … you are too far gone. Go read and study! And add a name instead of hiding behind a “guest” handle.

      2. uh oh… seems the ever reaching arms of the government does not want any non-dependents… you really think the amish or the massive government subsidized cattle and chicken ranches are to blame?
        http://www.dailymail.com/Opinion/201007130898

        so much for the thought they can live and let live and survive… i said it would only be until some organized gang put them in their sights – government included.

  3. I agree with you, an EMP is by far the worst thing we can face. We would be instantly set back 100 years or more. One thing we've been checking out is building a safe room in which to hide and to store food, to avoid confiscation and theft in a chaotic scenerio.

    1. I have heard that a galvanized metal trash can, sealed, might provide protection for electronics in case of an EMP. I have also thought of using our old laptop purely for storage of documents, information, and the like, and keeping it in a can, along with a couple of extra batteries. I have no idea how they would fare, but it would be worth a try. Even if an EMP never occurred, we’d could grab just that laptop if we ever needed to evacuate.

      1. An old microwave oven is also a Faraday cage. Rawles, over at survivalblog.com, regularly mentions using an old popcorn tin, a danish butter cookie tin (or similar) or the trash can (but not sealed) plus aluminum foil you mentioned as Faraday cages.

        Like Kari below, I put together a GHB for my dh. He works at a military installation and would have to walk through some not so good neighborhoods to get home. I included several ways for him to make a fire, a rain suit, tarp, rope, hand sanitizer, first aid items, water, and energy bars. I know I put more in there but I can't remember and can't go through the bag to see since he's got it in his car! I feel a bit better knowing he's got some equipment to help him out; for anything else, his country-boy instincts will take over!

        My two cousins and their spouses are reading this book. They used to not really care about this kind of stuff but now that their eyes are open, they are planning, preparing and thinking differently.

        1. WRT a microwave oven, there's on problem – the plug leading into it from the outside. Even the smallest hole in a Faraday Cage will allow in EMP, thereby ruining everything inside. If it really is an old oven that you don't want/need for anything else, cut off the cord as close as possible to the oven's body, and put metal over it to prevent leakage.

          Overall, I wouldn't use an old MW oven, just because of the plug. I'd use an old ammo can, and nest the electronics at least twice.

          BTW, you can see a Faraday Cage at work very, very quickly: wrap your cellphone in plastic, and then very, very well in aluminum foil (make sure that there are NO places where any signal can leak in). Then call the phone – it won't ring. You'll unwrap it a few minutes later and find a message waiting. Note that there's a big difference in power between a cell signal and a purposeful EMP strike, hence the need to nest spare devices.

          1. Microwaves aren’t Faraday cages. Or at least, mine isn’t. We decided to test the theory after seeing Snowden and my friend put his phone in the microwave and closed the door. I called it. It rang.

            If a cell signal can get in, so can EMP.

            On the other hand, a fireproof safe is perfect. No calls, no messages, no bars inside that bad boy.

      2. You don't want to have your electronics directly in contact with any metal objects. You need a non-conductive material in between, something as simple as a plastic bag. Better is an anti-static bag (on sale on Ebay and probably in most electronics stores for shipping electronics). Nesting on package of foil-encased plastic over electronics inside another plastic bag (or stryofoam, for example) inside of the garbage can (or a 40 mm ammo can, which is easier to carry yet carries a lot of material) is better.

  4. After reading One Second After I put together a GHB (get home bag) for my hubby and also a large 72 hour kit for our car. It wouldn't get us far, but at the very least we'd have some food, water, first aid supplies, etc. in case an EMP hit while we were traveling.

    I also now take our 72 hour kits (complete with camping gear) with us whenever we travel more than about 40 miles from home. It would still be tough trying to make it back home again, but we'd have the basic equipment we'd need to begin the travel back.

    1. I agree. I never leave more than a 1-2 hour walk (Roughly 5-8 miles) from home without a 72 hour kit. EVER. I have friends that always wonder what the backpack that I carry around is, from car to car. I keep one in every vehicle, some at home. I also never go more than about a mile with sandals on, EVER, without bringing a pair of sneakers. Not even to the grocery store. Survival and Emergency Preparedness are much more a mindset than a list of items. The power went out here in town last year, and within minutes of finding out, I had several large buckets filled with water, just in case. The wonderful/ironic thing is that I did it automatically, I didn't even have to stop and think about it.

      1. It is when survivalism is what you think of first, and becomes almost a reaction, that you start to realize you'll be able to help others. Until then, every moment that it takes to stop and think, is a moment lost. After reading "Light's Out" and "One Second After" (I preferred "Lights Out" for info on prepping item info/lists, and "On Second" to scare the wits out of me), after I read both books, I learned that at any given second, to think that if there were an EMP NOW, at this second, what would I do, and where I would go etc. It really, really helps to drill these things into our heads. Of course, there is always an unforseen scenario coming, but it's a great peace of mind to plan ahead. If we are prepared, we won't be afraid. And that's what makes all the difference to me. God bless.

  5. Training your boys in martial arts is a fantastic idea, but why leave out your daughters? An ability to act security is good for both sexes, but an ability to secure yourself is even better. Women will, of course, be victimized. One in three is a victim of personal assault now, in the best of times. When there is no hope of help arriving, the ability of causing great bodily harm to an attacker is nothing but a plus.
    Every household needs several whole body chem suits. These can be purchased at well-stocked paint or car repair stores. They come from plasticized paper for about $8 all the way up to level 3 hazmatt designed to go with a respirator. At least get the light ones. And everybody needs a box of particulate masks. Remember what was in the air in Manhattan on 9-11 or towns surrounding Mt. St. Hellens?
    Yes, the world of disasters is frightening, and we can never be completely prepared for everything. The lists go on forever. But we try, one little step at a time, and we keep our ears and eyes open.

    1. I'm not leaving my daughter out by any means. My comment about martial arts was related to my observation that young men will be extremely important in rebuilding a community. Actually, my daughter is quite a good shot with her rifle, but my son is already looking like his grandfather, a star football player. He's still very much a mama's boy, though.

  6. Like when you touch a hot pan or iron, those milliseconds it takes your brain to receive/process/respond from the stimulus of your burning flesh, is the micro version of the actual reaction time we will have in a disaster scenario.

    Those who immediately get thrown into dissociation, panic, or denial will die or worse…

    The ability to retain clarity of sight and cognizance will be the ones that fare best.

    The web is full of mall ninjas and zombie-apocalypse posers, but there are a lot of people out there that have genuine preparation plans that may have merit regardless of the actual calamity.

    2 really good books that offer insight to what happens in those milliseconds and what makes the difference:
    Deep Survival – http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Survival-Who-Lives-Die
    The Unthinkable – http://www.amazon.com/Unthinkable-Survives-When-D

  7. Reading the book made me more serious about preparing. Not having the ability to communicate with loved ones who are far away is very distressing. I kept thinking what would we do if that were to happen. I read recently that the power grid can also be crippled by solar storms or bad space weather. Even more reason to research ways to protect some of our electronics if possible.

    1. I agree with you apartmentprepper. "Reading the book made me more serious about preparing."This book made me see a huge light. I packed an inexpensive back pack with extra sneakers, shorts, hat, water, and energy bars for my husband to take to work. I am working on finding a bike for him to store in his closet at the office. If an EMP happens, he will have to walk down 15 flights to the street level with his bike to ride home. The book was horrific, but thought-provoking. I can see how the author and his research predict that 90% of the American population would perish. Our American public is used to such a comfortable lifestyle. Not many families are ready for such a hardship. Lots of people will waste valuable time "waiting" for the electricity to come back on, and when it doesn't, that is when the panic in the streets will happen. Hopefully, there will be enough informed people in your neighborhood that you can pull together resources and plan protection. To me, that is the scariest part — the looters and marauders — coming in to get what you have worked so hard to prepare. BTW there are many sites about making faraday cages by simply encompassing your laptop or radio in layers and layers of aluminum foil and sealing it. Having a short wave radio would be the best. There is so much to think about doing. The book brought up so many issues. I am glad I read it, but it was truly a downer.
      The author thoroughly researched such a catastrophe as a result of an EMP. Read more at: http://www.onesecondafter.com/ Two weeks ago, SIXTY MINUTES had a segment about an EMP attack saying that our enemies would hit us in the depth of summer or the depth of winter to be the most effective.
      Take heed everyone…….the authority on the show was saying the possibility is a reality, but unfortunately, there is no plan of action in place for the general public. That is truly going to be the tragedy! Tell your loved ones and neighbors – help them to get ready.

  8. Interesting, the main article on survival.bog.com tonight is about an EMP or solar storm effect on our grid. It is a long article, very thorough. I am like you SurvivalMom, after reading "One Second After", I actually calculate how many days it would take me to walk home when I travel. Each hour closer to home I get makes me feel more relieved. That's kind of sad, but true.

  9. That was an extremely disturbing book. Don't read it in bed and expect to sleep soundly.

    The civil unrest in such a scenario would be so extreme that I wouldn't feel safe in Fort Knox surrounding by half the army and the NYPD.

  10. I keep telling my parents that I refuse to take any trips that are more than a few hours of driving from my home, period, and it's exactly because of the difficulty of getting back. I also refuse to go anywhere that will put a major city in between me and my home. They really aren't grasping why, and I can't get them to move closer to me than their current two hours. They just really don't get it.

      1. To be more accurate, the difficulty of getting back if something bad happens is not the only reason, and is in fact not just about worst case scenarios. We recently took a "four hour" drive home, but it took over eight because two of us were motion sick, which happens too often on long drives. Even the GPS was having difficulty navigating around the rush hour traffic our long trip sent us straight into. It couldn't recalculate a path that would avoid it, which made everything worse, and is a reason to avoid driving near cities needlessly for me. And I don't have any interest in flying right now, for any reason. I've done it enough and it's a pain.

        I am living my life, I have simply made a choice to do things within two hours of my home for a little while. There's certainly plenty to do! More than we could possibly find the vacation time and funds for. I'll take long trips again, I just don't see how refusing to take big, far away trips for a few months or even a few years is really refusing to live my life, esp while the kids are little. Too many people ignore the area near where they live when they take vacations and run up big bills going halfway around the world.

        Remember: when someone posts on these threads, there is probably back story you aren't getting. What you think is "nuts" may just be dealing with issues you don't know about.

  11. Thanks for posting this article, as well as all that you do.

    I hate to do this, but I'm going to challenge your reply above. In an EMP scenario, the survival rate would be on the order of 10%-20% nationwide. In an area like Phoenix or Las Vegas, cities utterly dependent upon water being pumped from dozens or hundreds of miles away, I would expect the survival rate to be an order of magnitude less than you mentioned. They are nothing but deathtraps in a grid-down scenario.

    Our nation, with its fertilizers, insecticides, genetically-modified seed stock and artificial pumping of water is the bread basket of the world. Without those, we are utterly screwed, unable to feed even a fraction of our existing population…virtually none of which have any farming or gardening knowledge, hand- or animal-powered equipment, seeds, etc. Many of those with such knowledge will die when medical equipment shuts down or modern drugs cease being produced and delivered, further impoverishing the knowledge base of the country.

  12. Maybe your parents will understand better if you talk about LA after the Lakers won the Championship not long ago. Lots of police present, yet people rioted, looted, etc. with little restraint…and they were HAPPY.

    Remove the police, and make them not merely unhappy, but starving and dying of thirst, and tell me what happens then?

    Make this regional or national, and maybe your parents will understand then. If not, spring a nationwide Katrina on them – meaning no food, water, tents, medical supplies or equipment coming in from outside. Katrina was a narrow area, and the electricity worked fairly close in to the city. An EMP or solar flare will cause utter social chaos (meaning riots, roadside ambushes, house-to-house searches by gangs (some uniformed, some not), and potential cannibalism when food supplies are gone. Yeah, here in the USA – our stomachs are no more immune to hunger than anyone else's, and our nature no different than that of people elsewhere. Desperate times often bring out the worst in people, and "worst" is usually something out of the more gruesome horror films.

    1. We've talked to them. They "get it" in an intellectual way – but not in any sort of get-their-butts-moving way. It's like the old people who died in Katrina because they'd lived through Camille and were sure they could handle whatever was coming, so they just stayed put. At least they know if it gets bad they will come to our house, another relatives house (they don't have preppers there – just like the Amish don't – 'cause what they do isn't prepping, it's just plain common sense living, but it looks a heck of a lot the same from the outside), or maybe a friend's commercial farm. They have three options in three different directions open to them, which is something. At this point, they either prep or they don't. They have the facts and the understanding, they just need to do it.

  13. No matter what the scenario, I think people with responsibility for the protection of women, and more significantly young women, will have a lot on their hands. Food and precious metals will be sought after, as will firearms, working transportation, medical supplies etc…. but your daughters will be prizes to all the thugs that are willing to take the other things.

    One of the neat things about the gals is that they do have a certain steadiness about them if they can be convinced to forget the drama for a minute and get a grip. Once there, well…. have you seen a single-minded woman at the range? Some of them can do remarkably well even on their first day. With proper familiarization and training…….

    All that to say this….. while they will be targets of the ruffians, they can be taught to shoot and do other things, to help in their own defense. With the proper motivation (like not getting raped and killed) they will be just as effective as the next guy in defending themselves and all you dads, husbands and brothers out there. The world is NOT all men against men.

    Do everyone a favor and
    a) train them up right in the paths of righteousness
    b) teach them to be compassionate and loving (we men all need the civilizing effects of good women around us)
    c) teach them to kill
    d) feed well, and watch them grow and beautify the crumbling world….

    1. Massed Ayoob, author of The Gun Digest Book Of Combat Handgunnery 6th Ed. Agrees that women can, and often do, outshoot their male counterparts on the range. We have slightly better dexterity and tend to keep a cooler head than a lot of men. My husband has years of training and military combat experience, but when it comes to handguns he is the first to admit that I outshine him. Learn to carry a gun, ladies.

    1. I think I want to make the Dog Agility Frame – for my kids! :-p Seriously, we want to put an obstacle course in the yard, and that could be a nice touch.

  14. They say, We are 9 meals away from anarchy. This gets people thinking. Go 2 days without food and by the third, you'd crawl through broken glass to fill your belly. Katrina is a perfect example of being prepared or putting yourself in govt hands. In Feb, I clipped a small blurb from the paper "Don't expect any help from the govt 24-72 hrs in the event of a crisis" .
    " The window' of knowledge in an EMP is important to me. It will separate the knows from the WTF just happened.
    There are also good hand to hand and defensive move vids on utube

  15. Faraday cages are not that hard to build. Best one I read about was a galvanized steel trash can. Army Surplus stores sell small versions called ammo boxes – 100% steel with no gaps – just ground it!

  16. Unless an EMP is designed to reach higher than 50k V/m, in all likelihood, your vehicle will start or restart if it did go out. If the pulse is higher, all bets off. Also, back during the Cold War, trucks would travel with a chain dangling from the back – this was grounding in case something happened.

    One Second After did a number on my head too. Went about 90 miles away from home the other day and took with me items to get me and my kids back home. Husband asked why the bag was so heavy and just nodded when I started to list what was in it. He totally understood.

  17. This book made me think about our dog (among other things of course.) even the "dumb blonde" golden retrievers were smart enough to warn the family of danger. I am now taking more time to prepare dog supplies like dry kibble and some dog friendly medications and care items. Our German shepherds eyes, ears, nose and teeth could really help us out.

    1. I have not read the book nor do I plan on it. I get what happens (I have read up on EMP's). Would someone mind informing me of what was talked about with the dogs warning the family of danger? That has me curious as to what cuppy is meaning. Many thanks if you reply.

  18. I know this is an old article off everyone's radar, but I just finished reading the book last night. I've bought four other copies to give to others. Any TEOTWAKI scenario is depressing so I took notes all throughout the book. I enjoyed reading all the above comments and gathered some more tips.

  19. This is the book that finally opened my eyes. I lived everyday knowing but never doing. When I finished One Second After I became a prepper. I looked at my children and vowed I would do everything in my power to keep them from suffering. Since them we have had so much fun learning and experiementing.

    regarding Lemon's post above, number 2 in her posts worries me most. I am outside a metro area and do not think we would be safe for long. Our family discusses relocation but to where always seems to be the issue.

    1. Beth, how did you get your kids ready for this? I have 2 boys, 9 and 11, just wanted some advice on how to get them involved without freaking them out.

  20. I think that is the worst part after reading the book, living in a metro area and knowing that you wouldn't be safe. There would be no way or amount of fire power that we could store to keep us and my children safe from those who wanted to harm them or obtain what we have. I am new to prepping, and kept a pretty level head when we lost power for 7 days (thanks to Survival Mom and all her tips). But darn it, how we would turn on each other scares the hell out of me. That and if something happened and my kids were at 2 different schools and I couldn't get to them.

    All I can do is be prepared. Read all I can, educate my family and try and not worry.

  21. As for #5, one thing I often stress in various columns is "bug in". In most cases (there are of course, always exceptions) you will be better off at home. Bug out=refugee. Refugees, even armed, are subject to too many challanges that you have no control over. And if you started off armed, the first check point will likely change that.
    Remember, in many cultures stranger is synonimous with enemy. Of course "bugging out" fulfills many of our pioneering fantasy's. Just remember that the Daniel Boones + Kit Carsons were oddballs who never really fit in.

  22. There are too many misconceptions out there about EMP… They would not magically destroy all things electronic… Like any power surge..the would blow the weakest link (The fuses)… Most basic electronics would be repairable…

    1. Depending on the magnitude of the EMP surge it would not only blow the fuse it could also jump the surge to other components on the circuit board. Those MOSFETS and JFETS are very sensitive to fluxuations.

  23. Why does this scenario scare people so badly? It’s about what I expect in any relatively quick societal collapse scenario. The truly scary one to contemplate is if climate change combines with our past and ongoing abuse of the environment to make farming/gardening impossible. But the one that i dislike the most is a slow collapse that is like a frog in water being brought to a boil. You don’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late. In a quick collapse things will be horrible for months but likely within a year things will be shaking out and the survivors can get on with rebuilding their lives. In a slow collapse it will no be as immediately horrible, but it will drag on for years or decades. Think Afghanistan. Yuk.

  24. I’m Mormon and the scariest thing for me is the fact that people think Mormons are more prepared. Sad thing is they’re not. Even though we’re told to be prepared (so we can be self reliant and take care of our families needs in any senario) now days most are not doing this. I grew up with parents who believed in food storage and we used it many times during job losses so we see the wisdom. But sadly, like most of America, most do not listen.

    1. It’s the same here in Ky. about Mennonites.
      I have a new neighbor, a Mennonite just switched from Amish to drive a car.
      She has a phone, sculptured nails, a great tan (wink wink), whitened teeth, and a car.
      There are many misconceptions about these –Mennonites/Amish/Mormons.

  25. I want to second Lucsmom. I am Mormon, too. Please do not plan to buddy up with a Mormon as your preparedness plan. So few are actually preparing, as they are also subject to normalcy bias as much as anyone else. And if you ask most Mormons, they think emergency preparedness just involves storing wheat. Not personal protection, meds, water, etc. Some are waking up, but even in my circles, I’m the crazy prepper actually trying to prepare as directed. I have even had fellow Mormons tell me THEIR plan is to get a gun and a map to a Mormon’s house. You need to plan for yourselves and encourage others to prepare.

  26. I cannot stress enough the importance of having shortwave and amateur “ham” radio gear. THAT may well be the ONLY news you get from “outside” in ANY major event – EMP or otherwise. Remember in “One Second After”, the fact of NOT KNOWING what was going on nationally was a HUGE impediment.
    Yes, this gear will have to be faraday shielded unless it is older tube type stuff. And you will need to have batteries or whetever appropriate power supplies to run it.
    Even in a major EMP event, as an electronic technician and amateur radio operator, I’m confident there will be SOME folks SOMEWHERE with working radio gear who will be communicating. And if it is an attack on the United States, as opposed to a solar flare induced EMP that is worldwide, OTHER COUNTRIES will still be on the air broadcasting their news programs. And you’ll NEED those broadcasts to get an idea of what has happened and therefore what to expect going forward.

  27. I just finished reading this book also. One thing that stood out to me is that no matter how much we prepare, we will not be ready for the real results of no services. We talk about preparing but we cannot even imagine how it will be when it comes to rationing food long term, protecting what we have, and even forming a militia. The psychological effects stood out to me big time. The mental stress of people dying by the dozens due to health issues.

    The book was excellent and very graphic. It also pointed out the importance of location. How close to a large city do we live? How far away are we from resources? I mean, everything is shipped these days. Do you have local farmers, ranchers, etc?

    Gave me way too much to think about.

  28. I read 77 days in September as my first EMP book. I enjoyed the read, I hadn’t given an EMP much thought before reading it. I got the prepper mind set from Mormon friends who were raised to prep. I think getting the possible scenarios in your mind of how ruthless people can be was a reality I hadn’t thought much about. I was raised a “Red Dawn” kid. I also enjoyed the sequel to 77days – Daughting Days Winter.

    http://www.amazon.com/Daunting-Days-Winter-Kyle-Tait-ebook/dp/B00JJYH24A/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

  29. Chandra: I work with ;welfare’ recipients. Not all, but the majority of them feel entitled and owed a living from the government. These were programs that were originally designed as a short term helping hand to people who had fallen on temporary hard times. Over the years many people have come to adopt government help as a lifestyle rather than a leg up, and they have raised up a generation of young people who believe it is their right to be supported by the government.
    After the initial waiting period, where people spend days or even weeks sitting around waiting for the power to come back, waiting for services to be restored, waiting for the government to swoop in and save them, these people will become very dangerous. Many of these people (again not all, and strictly from my own experience) have little in the way of morals, judging wright from wrong, earning what they are given, and taking ‘no’ for an answer.
    Our government, over the decades of TANF, LINK, and other programs, has created a generation of self serving, entitled, selfish people who have no concept of working for what you get.
    Throw in a culture that also has heavy crime and drug issues……….THESE are the people I will be afraid of.
    Rant over.

    1. I’ve worked in child support enforcement then 12 years as a probation/parole officer in a county close to St.Louis. I know what you mean. You can lead a person to “work” but can’t make him/her show up when they should. Most of the people I tried to help wanted free handouts and/or a return to their previous life of stealing, drugs, and having Mom or Grandma take care of them. I, too, just read the book and about a dozen other similar ones. I started prepping last January and are fairly prepared. I keep adding to my ‘stash’.

  30. I have to agree with Charley. My current and last jobs overlapped into “welfare” territory. While some are only using the programs to get a handle on unforeseen circumstances, too many see it as a way of life that is reflected in all aspects of their lives. When someone is spending their cash on tattoos, beach vacations, and fancy cars and using their food stamps for junk food, they clearly have no interest in planning for the future or taking care of themselves. These people frighten me far more than any other group. I’ve been screamed at and threatened because the assistance programs don’t provide everything they want. When you stress that this is “help” only, not guaranteed full coverage, they become angry. I think back to what my grandparents dealt with during the Depression and war years, and this current generation doesn’t have a clue about how to deal with the realities of life.

  31. A few other fiction books that offer helpful hints, while dealing with different scenarios…Alas Babylon by (I believe) Pat Frank, and Warday by Whitley Streiber and James Kunetka

  32. Like many people after reading the book I felt the need to jump start my “rainy day” preps. But the GIANT wake up for me involved firearms. I owned firearms before and had gun related stuff put aside. But there was a mountain of things that were simply put away without be tried out and tested. I went through some magazines and found that they had been stored away a decade before and were really nothing but junk. I was trusting my life to untested junk that would have failed when I really needed it. This was a hell of a lesson to learn. I now guarantee guns and magazines until they meet my standards of reliability. Another issue brought up by this book was the simple everyday carry of firearms. I had several handguns but no real way to carry them. After the SHTF was I just going to shove the pistol in my back pocket and travel around? Keep the long gun in my hands ALL DAY LONG? And what of spare magazines or extra ammo? I realized that I was going to be a bumbling idiot who would most likely shoot off a butt cheek when drawing my firearm to defend myself. Since reading that fantastic book I’ve got myself squared away, condensed my collection to a usable level, really questioned the need and purpose of each of my firearms, bought a box or two of ammo, trained, and am a great deal more prepared to face the “S” if it ever “HTF”.

  33. I now guarantee guns and magazines until they meet my standards of reliability.

    This should read: I now [quarantine] guns and magazines until they meet my standards of reliability.

    My mistake.

  34. George Washington

    99% of welfare’ recipients will be the first to go. They have no extra money for food storage or guns/ammo. All of the welfare lifers that I know would be worthless during SHTF and I would not go anywhere near them. As mentioned by many others here they have no concept of taking care of themself or planning for future. Once the EBT cards stop getting reloaded you better get locked and loaded.

  35. Don’t be so quick to assume that these people will be the first to go because their EBT will not get reloaded and they have no concept of taking care of themselves. The problem is, as I see it, their idea of taking care of themselves is to expect that ‘you’ will hand it to them wrapped in a neat bow. And that if ‘you’ fail to hand it over they will simply take it.
    One more reiteration: If the only people who owned guns and ammo were those that were allowed to do so legally, the crime rates in our poorer communities would not be as high as they are.
    So…just because the money runs out to buy ‘stuff’ doesn’t mean that certain elements of our society will not find a way to get it.
    I would not go anywhere near them either. However I don’t live in a walled, barricaded community. They will come to you and I to attempt to take what they need, want, and feel entitled to have.

  36. They’ll go alright. They’ll go to your house, to my house, to every house they can find to obtain food. The EBT crowd won’t quietly sit down and die. They will fight for every scrap of life they can take. No different than you or me.

  37. It’s a good series but it does seem to take forever (10 books). The “Going Home” series (5 books so far) by A. American is another great EMP fiction. As is “Lights Out” by David Crawford. “American Exit Strategy” (The Economic Collapse Chronicles) (Volumes 1-3) by Mark Goodwin is less about fighting and more about the possible political underpinnings of future America. William R. Forstchen also has out the novel “Pillar to the Sky” and the novela “Day of Wrath”.

  38. The One Second After scenario is the best you can hope for in such a situation.
    Note that in this book they were one CULTURE. Several races, but one CULTURE.

    It is never about race.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide
    http://www.genocidewatch.org/liberia.html
    http://www.jewishjournal.com/sacredintentions/item/hitlers_inspiration_and_guide_the_native_american_holocaust

    Several cultures have never inhabited the same land for long unless they are equal in morals and respect for the other.
    One group will gain total control of the other and… http://www.fightthebias.com/Media/paul_harvey_on_guns.htm.

    Qui intelligit, non est ratio necessaria. Nam qui non intelligunt, non explicari potest.

    Another important point to note was that the police chief wanted to place an iron fist on the population and was moving to become a dictator. He was kept in check by the main character.

    Note checks and balances of power.

    Note also that little was forced on the people. If you wanted to eat at the common table you had to earn it.

    The evil they fought was kept at bay because of fictional geographical barriers. Most places are wide open.

    It was fiction but a lot of good points.

  39. Good grief people, get a grip. You have a far better chance of winning the Mega Millions than being struck by this massive EMP attack. Although idiotic neocons in DC are working hard to even the odds.

    Even so, you better have at least 50 people armed to have any chance at survival. Otherwise your stuff will become their stuff.

  40. Communicating with loved ones who are thousands of miles away will be much more likely if you have ham radio skills. It is a tradable skill, too, and nobody will murder you for it.

  41. Stephen Clay McGehee

    Rather than trying to build a small trailer for bicycles, consider buying one that you know will do the job and will outlast your bicycle. I use the BOB (Beast Of Burden) bicycle trailer. Easy to use, carries all you would want to carry on a bicycle, and – most importantly – it rides and tracks very well. It uses a single wheel and attaches to both sides of the rear wheel on an extended axle. This lets you scoot through narrow paths and along winding trails without worrying about bumping things on the sides. Do a search for “BOB trailer” and you’ll find plenty of information on them. I’ve had mine for years and can attest to its rugged construction and excellent design. They are not cheap, but consider how valuable it would be then – and how enjoyable it is now to take a ride to the grocery store. LIke anything else in life, you get what you pay for.

  42. That story must have been scarier than the reality would be. Yes, many violent areas would become much worse.

    Weighing yourself down with a real heavy get home bag strikes me as a way to tire yourself out when you will need your strength. There will be a few whole days to get home before it really sinks in what happened. Have good walking shoes or sneakers with you at all times–that is practical.

    Grid down would NOT mean no electricity anywhere. It means the whole nation can’t share electricity any more. Many cities or areas would have power. Some government people would actually do their jobs and figure out who should get scarce resources to feed the cities. Most would be in panic mode and try to stop everything, because stop is the first step in gaining control.

    Terror freezes thought. If we have enuf time before grid down, many would know all kinds of survival skills and it would not be all 18th century.

    1. Yet remember, a GHB was not intended to be a “real heavy” bag. Even though I’m pretty sure the weight will give them a quick reminder that they may have over packed.

  43. I often wonder about “when it happens” . . . . every time I hear about something, I think “is this it”, if I say that so many times, am I going to create a “cry wolf” to myself. That when it really does happen, if I think, “oh it wasn’t it all the other times – your just over reacting” That is the one thing that worries me – I am my own worse enemy

    1. I know exactly what you mean. When I begin to think like that, I ask myself, “Well, for how much longer can things go on this way?” For the past several years, there has been a definite downward spiral on many levels. As a nation, I think we can kick the can down the road a little further, but for how long?

      A few weeks ago when there was a major internet outage, some people panicked, but I didn’t. I thought, if this is a major cyber-attack that will affect banking, the military, transportation, etc., we’re ready. It sounds like you will be, too. 🙂

  44. Hey Just in case you are interested and haven’t heard, Forstchen just released a sequel to this book titled, “One Year After.” I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my short list.

  45. The book that had me thinking the most since One Second After is Equipping Modern Patriots- a story of survival by Johnathan Hollerman. I bought it first as a kindle book then went on to buy a hard copy for reference and to share with friends. He was an US Air Force SERE instructor and is an expert in survival. It’s a good eye opening story that isn’t all about blood and guts (though there is some) it has tons of great ideas and suggestions within it. Especially about a proper mindset. A super EMP is probably the thing I fear the most.
    Hollerman’s also putting out a book on prepping on a budget around the first of the year I believe . I’m looking forward to it because he just makes sense,
    Prep on and god bless
    Edna

  46. I worked for years in the nuclear power industry, their worst case scenario was called “LOSP” Loss of Off Site Power. yes, they have generators as a back up but these generators require fuel and they only keep about 30days supply. the power these backup generators supply is not only used for safe reactor shutdown, but also to keep the “spent” fuel, which is stored at every site, cool. without the ability to keep these fuel rods cool it would be only a matter of time before a catastrophic nuclear meltdown would occur. now you see the BIG problem. Its NOT just the loss of power. know of the locations of nuke plants near you…

  47. It’s fun and interesting to fantasize about how we’d respond in such a case, but I haven’t seen a writer of such stories include the definite meltdown of every nuclear power plant in the affected area. Under current, powered conditions, it takes months to shut one of those operations down. The radioactive materials will be unaffected by an EMP, they will boil over and explode out of their containment and billow deadly clouds for months. Take some iodine pills, sure, but that’s only one kind of radiation. Multiply Fukushima and Chernobyl by 100 and subtract out any human efforts at mitigation and you’ll have what the EMP survivors will have to contend with. The EMPs described in this book are an “extinction-level” event.

  48. A generator and a Faraday cage are a waste of time. If you do not prepare to survive without power, you’ll soon learn it was a waste of time to think you needed it.

    1. The Faraday cage is to store backup comms and large amounts of indexed and searchable info. Who has the room or wealth to buy whole libraries? But you can easily store them on memory cards and obtain older books from things such as Project Gutenberg and large of amounts of information by having an offline copy of Wikipedia and other preparedness writings (many have prepared TEOTWAWKI type knowledge repositories, free to download and store). Yes, ideally you want all the day-to-day stuff in printed form, but that isn’t very BOB friendly to haul even a mini-library, but a few memory sticks and a RaspberryPi and mini screen and keyboard is very portable. Solar and a good supply of batteries to charge and cannibalize will make this sort of information available indefinitely (plus you could learn how to make more batteries, or at least service them). Local and long range comms are extremely valuable to have, and why a full compliment of HTs and an HT Amateur Radio set should be stored in the Faraday cage. A generator is not good for long-term use, but it could help keep things charged up in the short-term during cloudy days and until better/bigger wind/solar solutions are put in place. Rationing power use will be important, but there is a ton of solar all around. Electrician knowledge will be key to know how to cannibalize this for use without the grid.

  49. Read the report: http://www.empcommission.org/docs/A2473-EMP_Commission-7MB.pdf You will see that cars don’t all die, etc. Many of the effects are minor or temporary.
    In the book, even devices that failed were simply abandoned. His book was not really about the failure of technology from EMP, it was the failure of people to consider fixing things. The book was the author’s casting himself as a hero of a situation not supported by the documentation he had quoted. Instead, he drives around while others walk (wasting gasoline), and mid-book uses an electronic megaphone!
    Preparing is good, and good preparation is learning how to fix things.

  50. Oddly, I happen to be halfway through One Second After and I have a bad feeling about the little girl. I think the focus on local administration of the town helps illuminate the depth of the problems.

  51. I finished today reading this book for the second time.
    I found one fault. Taking antibiotics for the flu?
    We are taught that antibiotics are for bacterial infections and flu is viral.
    If this EMP ever happens, I am toast. I have years of stockpiled supplies and food.
    I have no community to protect this supply and how effective can trade-off be of a few neighbors guarding with weapons against hordes like in this book–because this book represents the true picture of humanity.

  52. It’s not that I think this is an impossible scenario, just highly improbable. Unless you are living in a heavily armed survivalist community or willing to move to a deserted island and take up fishing, you’re not likely to survive this regardless of preparedness. The best survivalists won’t be the hoarders, they will be the scavengers. The scavengers will be the mobile and brutal gangs or those adept at hiding. See one of the many zombie shows. You’re better off living in the present and let the military do the preparing.

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