When The Grid Goes Down: 15 Tips to Get Home Safely Following an EMP Attack
By Jeremiah Johnson
Let’s just say that the unthinkable becomes the real and happening. Let’s take this article and go over it. This will be a segment in three parts, the next ones being immediate actions taken at work and at home. I’m hitting on traveling first, as there are so many vacationers jaunting around happily over the landscape. All kidding aside, traffic is congested during the summer, extending traveling time on the commutes. Let’s game the scenario, and here it is.
Here’s the scenario:
You’re cruising down the highway in your 2013 four-door sedan, having just dropped the kids off twenty minutes ago to the swim club. Now you’re on the open highway with a heavy traffic flow…about 5 miles from the edge of town and 7 miles from work. You’re listening to the radio, when suddenly it crackles and goes dead, along with your engine. You look around and pumping the brakes manage to slow down and then drive off the road onto the shoulder, just feet away from the back bumper of another vehicle.
The vehicle comes to a stop, and you try the ignition again. You look at your watch, a Casio G-Shock, to find there is no display. You reach for your cell phone. Nothing. It’s dead. There are perhaps a dozen cars around you…half to your front and half to your rear. All of them have stopped, and most of the drivers have gotten out. You hear the sound of an engine, and looking up, see a ’58 Ford pickup truck weaving in and out of the stalled traffic, moving toward your rear, away from town. The book “One Second After” has just played out in real life. The United States has been attacked by an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) weapon. You’re 15 miles from home, and the “S” has hit the fan.
On Friday 7/29/17, North Korea just successfully tested an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) and experts from four different countries including the U.S. have determined that they have the capability of striking the U.S. anywhere. That means the optimal point for an EMP strike (dead center of the continental U.S., at 300 km above ground) is not only their prime target but also attainable.
15 Tips to Get Safely Home Following an EMP
Back to our scenario. Most will be clueless and unprepared. Let’s do it up, down and dirty with the steps that you should take if you are “Citizen X” outlined in the scenario:
1. Have a plan already in place: That means to formulate one right now, if you haven’t already done so.
2. If there are a lot of people around, such as in the scenario, then immediately grab your gear and get out of there. What gear, you may ask? We’ve “gamed” much of this to the point of nausea, but let’s list out those essentials:
“Go/Bug Out Bag”: This guy already needs to be packed and ready, in that vehicle that will become a 3,000-lb. paperweight. Three days’ supply of ready-to-eat food, one day’s worth of water and the means to filter more. Compass, flashlight, knife, first aid kit, poncho, jacket/sweatshirt, extra socks, map, light sleeping bag, fire starting material, small fishing kit (hooks, line, bobber), sewing kit, MSW (Minor Surgical Wound) kit, extra cash ($20 denominations and smaller), ground pad, extra clothing (hat, OG bandana, etc.), and ammo. An EMP may be followed by radiological and nuclear consequences. Having an NBC gas mask and anti-radiation pills in your vehicle could be a lifesaver.
Weapon: Please don’t feed me “legal information,” or “I can’t do that in my state.” These are “sink or swim” rules. If you don’t have a weapon now, you may not have one later. If you don’t have the fortitude to take that weapon and be ready to use it when the time comes, then you probably won’t survive this or be able to help your family. One rifle, one pistol, with ammo for each.
Grab that bag and put it on, securing your weapons. Then secure the vehicle, closing the windows and locking it up. If nobody is around, throw it into neutral and push it off the road. Camouflage it with branches and leaves…taking care not to cut them from the immediate area that you stash it. Most likely it’ll be “violated,” so now is the time to take the stuff you need and get it out. If the scenario above applies, just secure the vehicle and get out of there.
3. Traveling: Do not walk on the roads. Skirt the road with about 50 meters (that’s about 150 feet) between you and the edge of the road. Stay away from people unless you know them and trust them…both qualities are emboldened.
4. For metro people: If you are out in the suburbs or open road, and you must return to the city? It may be better for you and your family to arrange for a rallying point outside of the city. If that isn’t possible, then you should exercise extreme caution. Allow the nearest family member to secure the home and then wait for you. Travel when it’s dark to be on the safe side. Your visibility is cut down, and so is the visibility of those who may be hunting you.
5. Long distance to go? Forage along the way. Refill your canteens/water bottles whenever you’re able, and take note of any freestanding water supplies or “blue” features (that’s the color of water on a military map) for use in the future. DON’T MARK YOUR MAP! If someone gets a hold of it, you do not want them to be able to find your home. You must commit the route to memory and adjust your steps accordingly.
6. Dealing with the Stress of the Event: The power is not coming back on…ever…and it really has begun…the Day After Doomsday is here. Take a deep breath and concentrate on your training, your preparations. If you don’t have any, then this piece is a wake-up call to get moving! The best way to do it is immediately accepting what has happened without dwelling on it. Concentrate on the tasks at hand: navigating home, scouting what is in between, and foraging for anything you need. You have a job to do! Reconnaissance! We’ll go over that now.
Reconnaissance: You must see on the ground what is in between you and the happy Hallmark home you’re returning to. You should take note of any places that hold medical supplies, food, or anything you may need for yourself or your family. You should take note of possible refuge sites to hide if you and the family hightail it out of the home instead of having a “Walton Family Homecoming.” You must take note of water features, danger locations (cliffs or impassable terrain features), as well as dangerous individuals. Yes, the ones who were jerks before all of this? Wait until you see how they’ll be now, with no controls exercised over them.
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