I recently started reading your blog (love it!) and have your EMP First 15 Steps PDF. I have a couple more business trips planned for the rest of 2015, and some are quite a distance from home. I wondered if you could give any advice at all on what I should prep for, gear-wise or even mentally?The thought of an EMP happening when I am NOT at home, maybe not with my spouse and children, it scares me. I just want to be as prepared as I can be, because who knows when something like this could happen — 2 minutes from now or 2 years from now?
This past month I’ve been reading Ted Koppel’s newest book, Lights Out, and, frankly, it has done nothing to ease my concerns. In fact, in this book, he clearly lays out how our nation’s leaders have done virtually nothing to protect our power grid from any type of attack, nor are there effective plans in place to help the millions of citizens who will be completely unprepared.
He knows because as part of his research, he interviewed those who should know, such as Janet Napolitano, Leon Panetta, and Admiral William Gortney, who provided a Pentagon news briefing earlier this year on the topic of power grid vulnerability.
You can never get home, or can you?
One memorable example from Lights Out that might provide at least one solution for Mallory and others in her position is Craig Kephart’s plan.
Craig is an avid bicyclist and a prepper. They live in an upscale area of St. Louis and his business required that he make frequent business trips around the country. From the book:
“Craig worries that he may be trapped out of town and that all conventional forms of travel could be shut down. He always carries enough cash so that, no matter which city he’s in, he would be able to buy a bicycle, biking shoes, and whatever other equipment he would need to take him back to St. Louis.”“Craig assumes that he could ride 150 to 200 miles a day. He’s thought about this a lot. “Last place I want to be is in a major metropolitan area during a time of national crisis.”
Craig’s plan might be a very effective one for him, in the case of a cyber-terrorist attack. This type of attack on our power grid would disable the grid itself but wouldn’t be as devastating as an electromagnetic pulse.
Craig has realized that getting home from hundreds of miles away when the world has erupted into chaos won’t be easy and he’s come up with a plan and is training for that possibility. If this should happen, there will be countless scenarios which he may not have anticipated, but at least he has a plan for getting home. Your plan should include:
- Transportation. Planning on hoofing it home? Better start getting into super-shape now and invest in an excellent pair of walking shoes/boots. If they’re waterproof, that’s even better. Tuck some Shoe-Goo in your emergency kit for quick repairs and for a quick waterproofing job.
- Water. Where you’re stranded and the terrain between you and home will determine if you will be able to find a plentiful supply of water on a regular basis. If you’re not sure you can, stay where you are. Water weighs 8 pounds per gallon, but something like this would help distribute the weight and is refillable.
- Food. Can you set traps? Hunt and fish using alternative methods? Can you identify edible and medicinal wild plants? Do you know which parts are edible and which are poisonous? Do you know how to start a small fire for cooking and purifying water, and, if so, what will you use for a cooking pot? (This tiny, lightweight campstove weighs just a little over 4 ounces.) These are just a few of the issues to consider.
- Shelter. Putting up a lean-to is one thing, but surviving the elements within that shelter is quite another. A small, lightweight tent in your emergency kit would be a smart idea.
- Security. You may be surrounded by people more desperate than you. More fit, more strong than you. Can you survive on your wits alone? What self-defense skills do you have?
- Weather and terrain. Those will both change as you travel. Are you ready for all possibilities? Do you know of alternate routes that might be easier or would allow you to avoid populated areas?
5 Possible ways to survive post-EMP when miles separate you and your loved ones
In my view, being stranded from home in a post-EMP world would leave you with few options. As part of my own research into EMP survival, here are a few viable options in case the worst really does happen and you are dozens, if not hundreds, of miles from home.
- Head home regardless, carrying with you the basics for survival, or whatever you can acquire. Survival novels are full of tales of determined men, making their way home to their families over hundreds of miles. This option might work if you are in good physical shape, have no health issues, and are blessed with an enormous amount of luck. It wouldn’t hurt if the terrain between you and your family has multiple supplies of water. Forget it if you have more than just a few miles of desert to traverse.
- Stay put and lay low. If you have the skills and knowledge, set up a wilderness camp and use your ingenuity and Boy Scout skills to live off the land. You’ll end up dying a pretty quick death, most likely, but this is an option.
- Stay put and try to become an indispensable part of another household or group. If you have a bank of life-saving skills, such as knowing how to grow and preserve food, medical training, or can help guard your new group of fellow survivors. When the infrastructure begins to be rebuilt, you can then begin heading home.
- Stay put and start a new life. This option isn’t necessarily pessimistic. Given the circumstances, you may have no other choice.
- Do a little bit of both. Combine stints on the road, always heading homeward, with time spent staying with a community or with a family. They might be grateful for the additional help with physical labor and whatever practical skills you possess may help get them through a difficult time until you’re able to travel again.
A number of my readers mentioned seeing Ted Koppel on various news shows discussing his book and the very likely event of a significant cyberterror attack on the power grid. My guess is that this weekend there are thousands of new “preppers” who suddenly realize their comfortable lives are built on a very shaky foundation and that the very government they pay taxes to, has no plan to save them if the worst happens.