HomePosts Tagged "EMP"

As you look around, you are aware that electricity and electronic devices have made permanent changes in how we all live. It is one thing to say you can do without electricity, and then actually be able to achieve that goal.

In fact, many people that lose access to electricity for one reason or another either wind up extremely sick or dead in a matter of weeks. No matter whether they are unable to refrigerate foods or keep the house warm, surviving without electricity may not be as easy as it looks.

Since an EMP will disrupt both electrical power distribution and ruin devices that use it, the wise prepper will do everything possible to prepare for an EMP blast.

There are two basic ways that electronics will be damaged by an EMP. Protecting them from an EMP means protecting them from both of these potential sources of damage.

  • Direct EMP radiation from E1 & E2 – The first two pulses of the EMP will send massive amounts of electrical energy into the atmosphere, where it will be attracted to anything metal, like wires. This will enter electronics, burning out circuitry. But the key here is the wires, which act as an antenna, capturing that electric energy. Devices which don’t have wires attached to them are less likely to be damaged.
  • Voltage surge from E3 – The third pulse will affect the Earth’s electromagnetic field, which will end up causing a massive voltage surge in power lines. Any electronic device which is plugged into your home’s electrical current will receive this surge, blowing through any surge protectors you might have and overloading the device’s electronics.

With all those risks in mind, it only makes sense to be prepared for the potential risk of an EMP attack. While it may never come, that’s not a chance we can afford to take. So here are some new ideas of how you can protect yourself from an EMP.

EMP Protective Phone Case

A number of companies are now manufacturing EMP protective phone cases. These cases are essentially a portable Faraday Cage, just the right size for your phone. The case has the necessary metal shielding hidden away inside the cover, making it portable protection that’s not particularly obvious or obtrusive to your day-to-day life.

The one problem with these cases is that they will cut down your signal somewhat, due to the shielding. You may find yourself missing some calls, especially if you are at the edge of a cell’s coverage area and you don’t have a strong signal. To mitigate against this, be sure to use one that fits your phone well. If it is too big, it is more likely to cover too much of your antenna.

 Related –  A terrifying disaster is upon us (What you can do to keep your loved ones safe during the coming chaos)

EMP Computer Cases

Most people use laptop computers today, rather than desktop computers. This is advantageous, as you can buy EMP protective covers for laptop computers. These cases won’t protect your laptop if the case is open and you are using it, nor can they protect it from the voltage surge; but when the laptop is closed up and not in use, as well as not plugged in, it will be protected.


Bluetooth devices are naturally protected from EMP, because they don’t have electrical connections attached to them, bringing in the E1 & E2 pulses. Nor are they going to receive the voltage surge caused by the E3. Even if they are plugged into recharge, the E3 pulse will probably destroy the charger, which will prevent it from reaching the Bluetooth device.

The advantage here is that buying Bluetooth devices, especially small ones, provides you with a level of protection that you wouldn’t otherwise have. Even if those devices are in operation during the EMP, they are likely to continue working. The trick then will be charging them.

 Related: A Gold Storm Is Coming  (Even the most prepared Americans will be blindsided by what’s about to happen.)

Solar Panels

Most people don’t know it, but solar panels are naturally resistant to EMP. While the EMP will cause minor damage to them, it will only reduce their output by about five percent. Considering that solar panel systems are already designed with a buffer to account for inefficiencies and cloudy days, you should be able to use your solar panels more or less like normal.

The problem will be in using the power coming from the solar panels. This normally flows through a solar charge controller, then on to charge a battery backup system. The power can then be drawn out of the batteries directly or run through a voltage inverter to turn it into a house current for use.

The solar charge controller would definitely be destroyed by the EMP and the voltage inverter probably would as well. But the batteries should be able to ride out the EMP without damage. So, having a spare solar charge controller and voltage inverter would allow you to have your own power generation capability back up and running, within an hour after the EMP shuts off the electricity.

That replacement solar charge controller and voltage inverter should be stored in a place where they will be protected from the EMP, like a Faraday Cage. If you don’t have a Faraday Cage, they can be kept in any metal enclosure, such as a galvanized metal trash can, a steel filing cabinet, a metal toolbox, a metal cabinet, or even the trunk of your car. As long as it is in its packaging so that the device doesn’t touch the metal skin of where it is stored, it will be protected.

 Related: A Gold Storm Is Coming  (Even the most prepared Americans will be blindsided by what’s about to happen.)

Other Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

As you look around, you are aware that electricity and electronic devices have made permanent changes in how we all live. It is one thing to say you can do

One of the disasters that preppers fear the most is an EMP (electromagnetic pulse). Why? Because it would literally throw us back a couple of hundred years by knocking out the power and rendering all electronics useless. That means no more cars, lighting, hospitals, internet, cell service, hot water… the list goes on and on.

It’s been estimated that 90% of people would die after a year without power. To avoid being one of those people, you need to stockpile things that are EMP-proof.


As you will soon see, there are many items that are fully invincible to an EMP

Are you preparing for an EMP disaster? It’s about more than just the Faraday cage. How many threats and voices will our nation shun before the lights go out and America starts to eat itself?

Here are 10 items to hoard before an EMP attack:


A successful EMP attack is the end of modern heating and cooling systems. We will be thrust back hundreds of years and outside of our ingenuity, wood will be how the average man stays warm. Fire will be a massive part of your life. You will use it to purify water, cook food, heat your home and preserve food.

Forget the bow drill or the fire plane and just hoard tons of lighters so that starting a fire is something you never have to worry about. Lighters are one piece of modern tech that we can take into a post EMP setting.


Americans are just terrible when it comes to saving money. The good news is there is no better time to start. Don’t throw all your money in the bank. When the EMP runs through your neighborhood it will shut off those ATMs permanently. How will you get your money?

Keep a healthy store of cash either in your home, in a safe, or hidden somewhere that is easily accessible without electronics.

Ideally, a month’s worth of cash makes for a great disaster fund. Your EMP goal should start there.


Whether you plan to barter or besiege your way through the post EMP landscape you will need ammo. Ammo makes every list of best bartering items and for good reason. Here is a great method to get cheap and reliable ammo for SHTF to start your stockpile today.

Store ammo for your weapons and popular rounds for weapons you may not own.

.22, .22LR, 9mm, .45apc, and 5.56 are all great options to store and buy in bulk.


Right now, tools are cheap. Dirt cheap. High-quality tools are being produced on a massive scale and waiting to be gobbled up. What’s the harm in storing multiple sets of wrenches, hammers, axes, and sockets?

Beyond just the tools themselves, now is the time to stock up on things like the mineral oil to protect our metal blades and tools from rusting. Also hoard some linseed oil for treating those wooden handles. Tool maintenance will be a huge part of surviving an EMP.

Also, stock up on sharpeners. If you are out of electronics you will at least want the sharpest axes and knives and saw blades to make the demanding work a little less taxing.


The process of creating commercial cooking oil will take a huge hit following an EMP. The large harvesting machinery and the manufacturing machinery that produces the oil will all be offline following an EMP. Cooking oil is one of those items that most preppers forget about. Right now, you can buy basic cooking oil for less than $3 a bottle.


While we all have access to the oracle through our phones or computers it won’t be there after an EMP. Some experts think that the effects of an EMP will not be completely felt by all electronics, I can promise you that our intricate network of information will fall apart after an EMP, even if they are right.

Suddenly you will be left with only the hard copy information that exists on your bookshelves.

First Aid
Home Maintenance
Self Defense
Prepping (of course)
These are all great options for the average person to have on their shelves.


After an EMP water will become a gamble. While taps may work for a limited time, there is no assurance that we will have clean and safe water coming out of them. In order to prepare for this, you must start hoarding water today.

Do not depend on one source for your post EMP water. Instead, take a tiered approach to water storage and maximize your methods for water procurement.

You should have access to plenty of the water that comes from the sky. Rainwater collection is a crucial method for hoarding water. While the 55-gallon barrels work well, you may just want to make the investment in a massive 1200-gallon cistern.

Retail water can be purchased and stored as well, or you can use tap water to fill things like waterbricks for the future. If you do store retail water just be sure it gets cycled through because the cheap plastics will no doubt leech toxins into your water over time.


Medicines are tricky. You gotta have them and you should most definitely hoard them but you should also be careful when it comes to cycling them out. Unlike food, you can’t just pull an older bottle of Tylenol out of the cabinet and have it for dinner. That is unless you don’t want to worry about the EMP anymore.

After a medicine expires its effectiveness will begin to decrease and this will make it harder to dose properly.

When it comes to hoarding meds, I think you have to take a loss on some items. It’s a bet. When meds get close to expiration start asking around. Someone will need them. Buy a fresh stock and start the process again.

Spend a little extra and buy things like children’s medications even if you don’t have kids. These will be gold in a collapse.



Filth. That is what comes to mind when I think of a post EMP world.

Filth, pests, and the diseases they harbor. Remember, waste will sit around, and trash will sit around. You will be working and moving more than usual to survive. You are going to get cut and you are going to get sick.

Along with basic first aid, you should also hoard the materials needed to set up a simple quarantine. Our scientists will not be working around the clock to create vaccines for illnesses anymore. It will be up to good hygiene, immunity, and the ability to quarantine the sick.

Rolls of plastic
N95 Masks
Rubber Gloves
Plenty of Soap
Feet Covers

Trash trucks are broken down, and the water system is compromised but all your trash and excrement must go somewhere. Do you have a plan for that? Trash bags will give you options when it comes to how you handle your waste.

This will affect your general health exponentially. It will keep pests away from your home and you will limit your exposure to harmful bacteria both in pests and in waste. Sickness will be one of the biggest killers in a post EMP world.

Starting a Stockpile

I subscribe to three hard and fast methods of stockpiling or hoarding items for a collapse. These methods will give you options based on where you are financially as well as where you are on the rungs of preparedness.


Supermarket hoard is a slow and plodding process that involves buying a handful of small extra items each trip to the supermarket. This is how you build a strong first aid haul or how you slowly gather your lighters and trash bags.

Think about it this way. You hit the supermarket about 52 times a year. If you grab an extra box of trash bags half the time imagine what you could have by the end of one year!


If you are in a hurry and have the means you can also bulk purchase items. This will work best if you can get neighbors or other preppers to join in on the purchase. When it comes to things like ammo this is your only option.

The bulk purchase will consistently get you more for your money, but you must have a chunk of money to make the purchase. Do not make bulk purchases on credit unless you are paying them off quickly.


If you have the time and the inclination you can also hunt for hoarding deals. Mastering the world of coupons and discounts will allow you to build your stockpile fast and at a great price. The world of discount can offer you incredible benefits.

Of course, the only problem with discounts is they are inconsistent.

Use a combination of all three methods to assure you are hoarding all the items you need to survive an EMP.


Other Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

Are you preparing for an EMP disaster? It's about more than just the Faraday cage

Being the not-so-proud resident of a city that has more issues than a high-school teenager, electrical the most part, I was kinda forced to go full MacGyver on a lot of stuff. Sure, I don’t mind opening the tap only to see muddy water or realizing that I can’t take a shower before going to work because some neighhbor shut off the main line to install a new sink, but I really go berserk each time the power goes out. Never mind the fact that I can’t use my PC, but, apparently, I’m the only around here who has to remind the others about keeping their damned smartphones charged at all time. Anyway, seeing that the authorities aren’t lifting a finger to find a more permanent solution to these blackouts, I began searching for ways to power up and\or charge my electronics.

Of course, one doesn’t need a degree in physics to figure out that most of the tips you find online are not only BS, but dangerous as well. So, after snooping around for a bit, I came across this pretty ingenious and simple way of charging any kind of phone battery using stuff lying around the house. Tried on a couple of my electronics, and guess what – it worked like a charm. Sure, it’s not as efficient as the outlet charging method, but hey. , it works. We do live in troubling times – today, it’s a power outage (if that seems like a trifle, go and check out what happened in Venezuela at the beginning of the month). Tomorrow, it can be an EMP attack. So, having said that, here’s my caveman-style trick of charging any electronic gadget when the power goes out the window.

You will need:

  • One 9V Alkaline battery (go for Varta or Duracell if you want extra juice).
  • One spring (you can salvage one from an old ballpoint pen).
  • A car charger (make sure the car charger has a USB port).
  • Your phone’s power cable minus the dongle.
  • Tape.

To try this charging method, I’ve used my daughter’s Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016), which has a 3600 mAh battery. Already got the stuff? Good! Here’s what you’ll need to do next.

Assembling the charger

Step 1. Take apart the ballpoint and salvage the string. Don’t straighten it or anything. You’ll need it intact. Step 2.  Insert one end of the spring in the battery’s negative pole. FYI, it’s the big one. It’s always the big one. Step 3. While holding the spring end inserted into the battery’s negative terminal, connect the other end to car charger’s positive terminal – it’s the little metallic bar on the side. Step 4. Once the two terminals are connected, use plenty of tape to secure the battery to the charger. Step 5. Connect the charger’s metallic nub to the battery’s positive terminal. Again, tape the shit out of them to prevent them from falling apart. Step 6. Wrap some more tape around the thingamajig. Step 7. Connect your phone’s power cable to the car charger’s USB slot. Step 8. Plug in the phone. Step 9. Charge your phone like a boss!

More on makeshifts phone-charging methods

You know the saying: if it looks stupid, but it works, then it’s not stupid (just ugly).  One thing you need to understand is that you won’t get a full charge out of a single 9V battery. The Varta cell I’ve used put out 550 mAh. And considering that the phone has a 3,600 mAh battery, it means that you need around six or 7 batteries for a full charge. Wouldn’t recommend relying solely on bats to get a full charge because you will have to redo the entire process. This method’s great if you need just enough juice to power up your phone to call a family member or 9-1-1 in case of an emergency.

Still, you need to consider that there are different types of phone batteries out there on the market. For instance, my wife has an Apple iPhone 8, which has a 1,821 mAh battery. Obviously, it takes fewer 9Vs to juice up her phone compared to that of my daughter. Careful about these newer models, as some of them might not draw electricity from below-nominal sources. Another charging method which I’ve been trying to try out for months (I think I will use a tablet this time), involves D batteries, paperclips, and, of course, some tape.

Takes a little bit of tinkering though – compared to the method I just showed you, this one is a bit trickier because you will need to arrange the batts in a certain fashion.

To pull this off, you’ll need eight D batteries, paperclips (those without plastic covers), tape, your phone’s cable, and a car charger. Basically, you must arrange the batteries in such a fashion that the negative terminal from the one on top can be bridged with the positive terminal on the bottom battery with a paperclip. Do this on both sides and then use two paperclips and tape to secure the car charger’s positive and negative terminal. Don’t know for sure how efficient this method is, but considering that one D battery has an output of 1.5V, I don’t think it’s really that efficient.

It’s still worth a shot if you have a lot of Ds lying around and no other way to charge your phone. Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on going full MacGyver on dying phones. Word of caution though: I wouldn’t try this method to power up a laptop or any device bigger than a small phone or tablet. You can end up damaging the power supply and losing everything inside if you tinker with supplies other than those specified in the manual.

You should also keep an eye out on the device while it’s charging. If you hear a strange, buzz-like sound, disconnect the device immediately. Let me know in the comment section how the method worked out for you.

Other Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

We do live in troubling times – today, it’s a power outage. Tomorrow, it can be an EMP attack.

When I was growing up, nuclear war was a “real thing”.  We practiced getting under our little school desks, because they apparently had built in blast and radiation shields.  🙂  Then the Soviet Union threat “evaporated” and suddenly nuclear war was no longer a serious threat.  But now we have that lunatic in tiny North Korea making serious (nuclear) threats against the still somewhat significant United States.  And if he can’t do what he threatens today, he is working his people slavishly to be able to do it “next week”.  Hopefully the threats are a way to keep his people under control and/or extort stuff out of us, and he is not insane enough to think he could survive an attack on us (and hopefully we are willing and able to ensure he does not survive an attack on us).  And hopefully he is not insane enough to not care if he dies (we know he doesn’t care if many of his subjects die).  But that level of insanity does exist, so there is always a chance he would send nuclear bombs our way.

What if he does?  How do we survive?

If we are near enough to a blast, we won’t survive or will be in serious trouble.  How near is that?  That depends on a number of factors.  Perhaps the three most important factors are weather, the size of the bomb, and how far above ground it detonates.  “Size” is actually the explosive force, and it is measured in “kilotons”.  One kiloton is the equivalent power of 1000 tons of dynamite.  North Korea just tested a “hydrogen” bomb (“thermonuclear”, a fusion reaction instead of the fission reaction used by nuclear weapons) and claimed it was “150kt”.  For a 150kt ground burst, there will be a fireball which would tend to incinerate things within a third of a mile.  Then there will be the blast which would tend to shred or flatten things; at a mile and a half away, most common construction residential houses would still be flattened, which could injure or kill those inside.  Heat from the explosion could still cause first degree burns (think “sunburn”) five and a quarter miles away; closer, of course, there would likely be second and even third degree burns.  Then there is the light; looking at the flash of the explosion can blind you temporarily and if you are actually focused on it, perhaps permanently.  It is not that fire, blast, light and heat are missing from a non-nuclear explosion; it is that they are so much less intense.  Remember, nuclear weapons are rated in 1000’s of TONs of dynamite.  And then there is the special gift of nuclear explosions – a buffet of radiation emitted and radioactivity imposed on matter.  Fatal (for 50% of those exposed, without medical attention) radiation emitted by the blast would reach out 1.2 miles as well and dangerous amounts of radioactive particles could surf the winds much further for a period of time after the blast.  A bigger bomb would have further reaching effects of course.  China has 5mt (megaton, 1,000,000 tons of dynamite) warheads and Russia has tested a 50mt bomb, but it is to be hoped that North Korea can not achieve that level in the near future.

The military often prefers to set for an air burst, as the immediate effects have a greater range.  If high enough that the fireball does not touch the ground, there is much less fallout, since pretty much any particulates would have to come from the device itself.  The naturally radioactive isotopes would tend to get into the stratosphere rather than “falling” locally, resulting in a low intensity, long lived, worldwide problem.

Note that a nuclear explosion will produce an “EMP” (Electro Magnetic Pulse) which will bring down the electrical system and fry some electrical and electronic devices.  The higher above ground the explosion is, the wider the area affected by the EMP.


There is a difference between “radiation” and “radioactive”.  Radiation is ENERGY which is radiated (as “rays”).  X-Rays are radiation, and for that matter, so is light.  Radioactive refers to something which is emitting radiation, such as a naturally radioactive substance, or material which has had radioactivity imposed on it, such as fallout.  Much of the radiation from fallout is a combination of “alpha” and “beta” particles, and “gamma” radiation.  Alpha particles are very dangerous if the particle (an ejected helium nucleus) is breathed or eaten or gets in an open wound, but the effects from this particle can be blocked by a sheet of paper and often cannot even penetrate intact skin.  Beta particles are moderately dangerous if the particle (an ejected electron) gets inside the body, and its effects can penetrate and damage the skin if the particles are in contact with the skin for any length of time, but normal clothing will provide decent protection from beta as well as alpha particles for a while.  Gamma radiation is equally as harmful as beta, but very much more penetrating.  “Good” protection from gamma radiation is provided by 4 inches of lead, 10 inches of steel, 24 inches of concrete, 36 inches of dirt, 72 inches of water, 110 inches of wood, 5000 feet of air or some combination of materials.  This “safe” protection is computed by using the “halving thickness” of each material (how thick it has to be to cut the radiation intensity in half) between you and the radiation source, with a goal of having 10 halving thicknesses total, reducing the gamma ray intensity to a 1024th (2 to the 10th power) of its original strength.

A little radiation is considered “normal” and won’t hurt you much; typical background radiation and normal medical/dental uses on average takes 18 days off a person’s life.  Whereas a lot of radiation is bad news and the effects are short term.  We need to know how radiation levels are specified in order to understand which levels are of concern short term and which have only “minor” long term effects (increased risk of cancer).  Annoyingly, there are several different but inter-related measurements, which can be remembered by the mnemonic “READ”.  The most basic measure of Radiation is the “intensity” (number of atoms which decay in a given period of time) specified in curies (Ci, English) or becquerel (Bq, metric).  Bigger values are of more concern than smaller values, but this measurement is primarily of interest to those working with radioactive materials.  Exposure describes the amount of radiation traveling through the air, which many radiation meters are capable of measuring.  The units for exposure are the English measure roentgen (R) and the coulomb/kilogram (C/kg).  This is an instantaneous measurement; more useful is roentgen per hour.  Absorbed dose describes the amount of radiation absorbed by an object or person, with units “radiation absorbed dose” (rad) and gray (Gy).  And then there is the Dose equivalent (or effective dose) which combines the amount of radiation absorbed with the medical effects of that type of radiation. Units for dose equivalent are the “roentgen equivalent man” (rem) and sievert (Sv).  Smaller measurements are commonly displayed with a 1/1000th prefix (milli, for instance mR/h) or a 1/1,000,000th prefix (micro, for instance uSv).

When looking into radiation measurements, you are likely to run into R, rad, rem, Gy and Sv as well as /h (per hour) measurements of each of these, which can get confusing.  The ones which are displayed by your meter or dosimeter are the ones of most importance to you, of course.  The three brands of meters I have tried all have mR/h and uSv/h, which are both handy measurements and seemingly the most commonly used.  R/h is good to see how much radiation is present around you and Sv for how much you or others around you have been exposed to (your radiation exposure risk).  Here is how these measurements are related:

– rad and Gy are directly related; 1 rad = .01 Gy and 1 Gy = 100 rad

– rem and Sv are directly related; 1 rem = .01 Sv and 1 Sv = 100 rem

Beta, gamma and X-Ray radiations all do the same “base” level of damage to the human body, while neutron radiation does 10 times the damage and alpha radiation does 20 times the damage.

– For beta, gamma and X-Ray radiations, 1 rem = 1 rad and 1 Sv = 1 Gy

– For neutron radiation, 1 rem = .1 rad and 1 rad = 10 rem and 1 Sv = .1 Gy and 1 Gy = 10 Sv

– For alpha radiation, 1 rem = .05 rad and 1 rad = 20 rem and 1 Sv = .05 Gy and 1 Gy = 20 Sv

R is a measurement of radiation radiating through the air, such as gamma or X-Ray.  The other units are a measurement of absorption of radiation.  Each material absorbs radiation at a different rate, so there is not a standard conversion factor.

– In air, 1 R = .877 rad and 1 rad = 1.14 R

– In soft tissue, 1 R = usually between .92 and .96 rad

My meters also have CPM (Counts Per Minute) and CPS (Counts Per Second), which is an indication of the number of ionization events from alpha and beta particles.  A few counts per time period is better than many counts during the same time period, but there is no universal conversion to a “useful” measurement as these measurements vary based on how the instrument is calibrated.  As an example, calibrated to the commonly used Cesium 137, 120 CPM is equivalent to 1 uSv/hr.

Radiation can cause effects from unnoticeable (increased chance of cancer) through illness, severe damage to the body, and death.  A single (short term) dose of 1000 mSv (1 Sv, 100 rem) will cause radiation sickness but does not (directly) cause death (although 5% of people so exposed will develop fatal cancer later).  5 Sv or 500 rem will tend to be fatal within a month without medical care for 50% of the people so exposed, and 10 Sv or 1000 rem will often be fatal within weeks.

Surviving the explosion

Let’s face it, if you are “close” to a nuclear explosion, you are going to be dead, or probably wishing you were dead.  The only way to minimize the chances of this is to build or have built your own “bomb shelter” or have access to one.  And know far enough in advance that the blast may be coming so you can be in the shelter when the blast occurs. This is not a trivial prep, either in cost or in the amount of trouble you have to go through to get it installed.  On the plus side, even if there is never a nuclear explosion or nuclear incident, it can also protect you from violent weather, and make you and your supplies harder to find by looters, and be a bit easier to defend than the typical house.  A good “bomb shelter” is buried deep, air tight, structurally sound, has an angled entry to prevent radiation (which travels in straight lines) getting in, and a filter system to remove radioactive particles (also any chemical or biological agents) from the air.  A better bomb shelter also has a hidden second way out.

Let us say you can’t afford a bomb shelter or don’t have the ability to install a true shelter or even a hardened structure or room.  Or worse, you have a perfectly suitable bomb shelter but can’t get to it in time.  Try to put something between you and the blast and heat, preferably something which won’t collapse on you.   Since one of the best (or at least most practical things) to protect you from radiation is three feet of dirt, a nice ditch is good to dive into, or even better would be a buried culvert to keep the local fallout off of you.  If you don’t get disintegrated by the fireball or crushed by the blast or a building collapsing on you, or get a lethal dose of radiation or burned by the radiated heat, what can you to do to extend that short term survival for a useful span of time?  Advance planning will make all the difference in your chances.

Since fireball, blast and heat are fairly obvious, and you are still alive, they are no longer of primary concern (unless there are fires burning nearby or “down wind”).  Radiation and fallout are your primary concerns.  Fallout can “fall” on you, so get under cover ASAP, and remove your clothes and put them into sealed containers which are removed from living areas, then wash yourself thoroughly to get any fallout off your skin and out of your hair.  Do NOT use a conditioner on your hair, as this can bind the radioactive particles to your hair.  Treat the wash water as contaminated.  Once you have removed any fallout, check the radiation levels around you using a personal radiation detector.

One of the better choices is the NukAlert-ER, but it is pricy ($750) and has been listed as only being available for government sales since March of 2017.  If interested, contact them anyway and see if you can get on their list; occasionally they may have an extra one available.  They do have a stripped down keychain version which “chirps” to indicate the level of radiation, but the price is more affordable and it is still available for individual sales.  The company, KI4U.com has some good reference materials, some “old fashioned” analog radiation detection equipment, and can calibrate your radiation equipment.  Alternatively, GQ Electronics has some decent digital detectors for very nice prices.  I’ve tried the GMC-320 Plus and it is adequate and the customer service was excellent.  You can get modern meters from China well under $100, but do you really want to gamble that they will be reliable and accurate enough to help protect your life?

Remember, nuclear explosions produce EMPs, so keep your electronic meter in an EMP shielded container when not in use.  There are non-electronic radiation monitoring options as well, mostly “dosimeters” using badges or cards which show cumulative exposure.  These are not optimal, but they are fairly inexpensive and show the more important “cumulative” exposure.  Plus, they don’t need batteries and will laugh at EMPs.  Even with a good meter, having these for backup and long term monitoring is a good idea.  They don’t “turn off”, so keep them shielded (in a sealed bag in the freezer is best) until you want to start accumulating exposure.

Radiation is mindless, you can’t reason with it or trick it or bribe it.  All you can do is block it or get away from it.

Fallout Protection

Local fallout is a fairly short term problem.  The intensity goes down 90% for each time period 7 times the last one.  That is, after 7 hours, the intensity is down to 1/10 of the original intensity.  After 2 days (49 hours), the intensity will be down to 1/100th, and after 2 weeks (14 days), it will be down to 1/1000th, which would be fairly safe.

It is best to stay inside (or at least under cover) while fallout is a danger, although after 2 days, you can make brief forays if necessary.  You will want covering which will prevent any fallout from getting on your skin and block the effects of alpha and beta particles.  Coveralls might be adequate, but vinyl rain suits might be better since they can be easily washed off and cover the head.  Use duct tape to seal any gaps.  Nothing you can wear will protect you from gamma radiation, so keep your exposure time to the minimum possible and monitor the radiation levels you are being exposed to.

It is bad to get fallout on your skin, but it is really, really bad to get it in you.  A CBRN (Chemical, Biological, RADIOLOGICAL and NUCLEAR) rated gas mask would seem to be just the ticket, but there are problems.  Sure, there are a lot of surplus ones out there at quite reasonable prices.  But they are surplus for a reason.  Either they are obsolete, or defective or just so old that effectiveness is uncertain.  A good, modern mask will cost you well over $100.  Best is a mask with two (or even three) filter ports, so you can screw on a new filter before removing the old one.  Plus it will allow the greatest flexibility for use with a rifle.

But wait, the mask itself is only part of the system.  You need the CBRN filters as well; it is best get a mask which uses the NATO standard, 40mm canisters for the best variety and ease of installation.  These are not terribly expensive compared to the cost of the mask, but they do usually cost $40 and up, and you need several.  Under severe conditions, each will only last a few hours, and even “normally clean” air will use up a filter in twenty four hours.  The canisters often have an expiration date; some people claim they are good as long as they are sealed, others say toss them when expired.  I would get new filters when the old ones expired, and use the unexpired ones first (when it was most important), saving the expired ones for when I ran out of the “good” ones.

On the other hand, I would be tempted to not bother with the gas mask at all.  They are expensive, short lived, uncomfortable, difficult to use correctly (particularly under stress), limit your vision, make it difficult to communicate, prevent you from eating, and most prevent you from drinking (some have drinking tubes, and a few have drinking tubes which work well and don’t allow in contamination).  If you wear glasses, you need to make sure they fit under the mask or get a prescription insert.  The purpose of the gas mask is to keep out radioactive particles, and although nothing will do that as well as the CBRN gas mask, a standard filter mask may serve.  There are 95% masks readily available cheap (N95), but I would spend the extra time and money to get the 99% filtration masks (N99).  There are N100 (99.97% filtration) masks which might be even better, but I have not tried them.  The N ratings, as well as R and P for oil resistant versions, are the American system.  The European system is Px for filters which attach to a mask and FFPx for “one piece” masks.   P2 is rated for 94% filtration and P3 for 99.95% filtration.  As for one piece masks, FFP2 is 94% and FFP3 is 99%.  I get my FFP3 masks, made by 3M, from Israel, and they are comfortable, compact and reasonably priced.  A pair of goggles to keep the particles out of your eyes as well is a good idea.

Keep in mind that the particles filtered out are still dangerous, so the used filters should be treated appropriately.

No face mask will work with facial hair other than a mustache without dangerous leaks, so be prepared to get and maintain a close shave.

Breathing in radioactive particles is not the only way to get them into the body to wreck havoc.  If your food or water is contaminated, so are you, so keep anything you plan to eat or drink in sealed containers so no particulates can get in.  And keep it shielded from radiation at least as well as you are yourself.

Treatment of Radiation Poisoning

Too large a dose of radiation and you will be sick, suffer bodily damage or die without medical treatment, which may not be available.  What can you do to reduce the effects of the radiation dose you received?

Potassium Iodide (KI) Tablets

You’ve probably heard of these as a “cure” or “protection” for radiation.  This claim is, to be charitable, inaccurate.  This substance does serve one particular (and important) function after a nuclear explosion.

One of the byproducts of nuclear fission in an explosion are isotopes of iodine.  The thyroid gland gobbles up any iodine it can get, and having radioactive iodine in your thyroid gland is bad news.  The KI tablets, taken before the radioactive iodine can get to you, “fills up” the thyroid gland so little or no radioactive iodine can get in.  That is it.  It does not offer any protection against any other radiation or for any other organ in the body.  And there are risks involved in taking it.  But since any help is better than no help; check with your doctor to make sure your risk in taking KI is relatively low, and have it on hand.  It is available in 65mg and 130mg pills; 130mg is the daily dose for an adult and generally has a score so it can be split into two 65mg doses (for children).  It can also be taken upon notification of a nuclear accident involving fission such as the one at Chernobyl.


Tritium can be “washed” out of your system by drinking lots of water.

Baking Soda

This stuff is dirt cheap, available everywhere, and surprisingly useful for combating radiation.  To start with, it is really good to have it in the water you use to wash fallout from your skin (or your pets), as well as washing clothing and anything else which might have radioactive particles on it.  It is useful internally as well.  The kidneys are particularly susceptible to damage from uranium exposure.  Old military manuals recommended doses of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to alkalinize the urine, chemically resulting in a less toxic uranyl ion and more easily excreted uranium-carbonate complex.

Other Possibilities

There are all kinds of claims about other things to use internally or in soak baths to treat radiation poisoning.  From a medical viewpoint, here are recommended treatments for various radioactive contaminates.  Many foods and other materials show up in individual research with claimed benefits against radiation exposure, and there are even historical indications of successful treatments.  For instance, Japanese patients from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs that daily ate wakame miso soup before the explosions did not suffer the radiation effects that people who did not eat it regularly suffered.

Antibiotics and Medical Supplies

Radiation plays havoc with your immune system.  Having a stock of antibiotics on hand would be useful in combating diseases which attempt to take advantage of your reduced immune system paired with a much less hygienic environment than you are used to.  If you have a good relation with your doctor, you may be able to get prescriptions from him, or there are doctors on the internet that will consult with you and sell you a large supply appropriate for your situation.   If nothing else, many of the good general antibiotics are available from a pet fish store.  Make sure you get the pure antibiotic, not one which includes ingredients to make your fins shinier. Most antibiotics will last much longer than their expiration date if properly stored (dark, cool, without air allowed into the container).  Military studies show that most are still usable after eleven years or more; the exception is the “cyclines” (i.e. Doxycycline) class which some sources say can turn toxic.

Of course you want to have a real good first aid kit with over the counter medications, or even an advanced medical kit.

Supplies for Nuclear Explosion Survival

Other than the stuff already discussed, normal survival supplies are in order.  After all, you will need to survive everything else a disaster can bring as well as radiation and other bomb effects.  Remember, you will want to avoid going outside (except possibly briefly) for at least two weeks, so plan for supplies accordingly.

When I was growing up, nuclear war was a “real thing”.  We practiced getting under our little school desks, because they apparently had built in blast and radiation shields.  🙂 

I sometimes have to go out of town on business just like millions of other people each year. The distance and locations all vary with the need, but in a lot of cases, I am unable to be as equipped as I would normally be around my home town. In some cases, I travel internationally, but that is rare. Sometimes I only travel an hour or two by car so I opt to drive. In this type of situation, I can take my Get Home Bag and usually a firearm (or two) with me. Most often it is several hundred miles away from home and to cities where firearms are not allowed. On business trips, it is harder to pack your survival supplies in sufficient quantities to last if some disaster happened and you needed to get home.

I started to consider what a person would need to think about and could possibly face if they were in a situation where an EMP was exploded over the US, total chaos ensued and you were forced to make it back home over a considerable difference. In my scenario, the distance would be about 700 miles and the assumptions with an EMP would be that there were not many electrical devices working. All cellular communications would be down as well as landlines were out of commission. TV and Radio networks had been taken offline even if some of the TV sets and radios themselves still worked. I don’t imagine every single electronic device in the world would go out forever, but it would be enough to create massive confusion, fear, and panic.

In addition to communication and access to news all access to money was cut off. Banks would slam shut and a bank holiday would be declared. Hospitals would quickly fill with the sick and injured and you would be on your own. How would you get back home and what would you need to consider if your home was 700 miles away and you had no survival supplies and no way to procure them.

Plan before you travel

The average, healthy person on level terrain can comfortably walk about 20 miles in a day. In our scenario above, with no issues whatsoever, it would take you about 35 days to walk back home if you didn’t stop anywhere to take pictures. That is a very long time to be walking. There are a myriad of issues to consider in even starting a challenge like that. Most backcountry hikers, who have plenty of gear and some expectation they are going to be roughing it, rarely set out on trips that long. Even backpackers, who hike the Appalachian Trail stop into towns, eat hot meals and pick up packages of goods they have stored along the way.  How will you with minimal supplies even begin to hope to make it home alive? There are some items that I think you would need to have squared away in your mind first.

  • Should you stay in place or set out on foot?
  • What gear will you need?
  • How will you eat?
  • What route will you take?


Should you stay or should you go?

This will be the first mental challenge that you will be faced with and could determine if you will live or die. In all seriousness, the plans you make and more importantly your actions affect the situations down-line that you find yourself in. We have all probably heard stories about travelers who had a “gut-feeling” that they shouldn’t get on a plane and the plane ended up crashing. Similarly, your “gut” is going to be screaming at you in a disaster. It is the well-known fight or flight response and you will need to figure out for yourself what you will be capable of doing mentally and physically before you set out on any expedition.

Hiking for over a month is a very monumental task that not a lot of people (including me) have any experience with. In days long past, a travel plan like this wasn’t so far out of the norm. We haven’t always had cars, trains and wagons to get us around and people walked. This is certainly doable, but for a lot of very good reasons, people didn’t live as long back then. Journeys of this scale take time, planning and skills.

Deciding whether or not you would even consider a trek like this is something you can do now. I know that I personally would.  I don’t know if I would make it, but I would be on the road somewhere. In my situation above, I would stick around a couple of days most likely to procure supplies, get any information I could, plan and prepare. I think that a couple of days after an EMP attack everyone will be in shock, but that won’t last long. Eventually, people will panic and that is when you don’t want to be around. My wife already knows that if something like this happens, I am headed home but it might take me a while.

What gear will you need?

As I said in the introduction, if I am driving anywhere, I pack a lot of supplies that would help me get back home in a disaster scenario like this. If you weren’t able to pack your Get Home Bag or any firearms, what would you do?

It helps to consider the journey back home and the different factors that you will encounter. Is this winter or summer? Will you have extreme temperature that needs to be planned for. What will you use for shelter? Security?

A good exercise if you find yourself in a scenario like this is to take stock of what you have. Empty your pockets of everything and conduct a simple inventory. When I travel, regardless of where I go I always have a bandanna, flashlight, multi-tool and small hank of paracord. These items can really come in handy, but they wouldn’t be the only things I would count on to get me back home over 700 miles away. Depending on the season, I would try to acquire additional clothing if I needed it, but usually, I pack appropriate clothes for wherever I am going. What I don’t normally pack are clothes designed for living out in the woods for a month. Some modifications might have to happen.

A simple tarp and rope/bungie cords will provide shelter for you and will keep the elements off your head while you sleep. A big sheet of plastic would do the same. Is it the same as a nice backpacking tent? No, but it works and is lighter and speaking of lighter… You need an easy way to start a fire also.

Great walking shoes that are already broken in would be a huge advantage. Actually, I think sturdy leather boots would be the perfect choice, but some people might have to hike back in dress shoes. If possible, I would look for boots as quickly as you can after deciding you are walking.

For security, you have to take what you can get if the grid crashes like this. At a minimum, I would find a large stick or pole. Baseball bat would be my second choice but may be harder to find than a good old wooden stick. This needs to be sturdy enough to use as a walking stick or club to crack someone’s head open with if necessary. Additionally, it can be used to support your tent.

Money could either be worthless or crucial to you getting supplies in an EMP event. If you have your head screwed on tightly and have cash on hand, you may be able to run down to the sporting goods store and buy some needed supplies before you make your trip. When I travel I always try to have cash in my wallet. It isn’t enough to buy out the store but could get me some crucial supplies.

I would caution you though to try and maintain a low profile. If you are all set up for a big backpacking expedition with the latest bag, gear, and clothes you may be a target. Someone might want what you have (because they can’t get it) and try to take it from you. It’s better to keep a low profile and low weight will help the trip too.

I would try to fit everything I needed into a standard size backpack that most everyone has. This way you will look just like everyone else headed home.

How will you eat?

This will probably be the toughest part about a journey like this in my opinion. I think most people can walk long distances. Most people will be able to carry or find some relatively decent source of water, but most people won’t be able to find food. What do you do?

There is no way you could ever pack enough food to last you your entire journey. You more than likely won’t be able to set up traps like Bear Grylls and catch rabbits or fish from a stream with your pocket survival kit, but I could be wrong. I think a lot of people are going to be going several days at a time without food. Could you hole up somewhere and catch wild game? Of course, you could and I am not knocking those skills. What I am going to try to do though is to get home as quickly as possible.

This may be where timing comes into play. Food from grocery stores will be wiped out in days. You could be one of the early birds and grab enough food to last you a week or so and set out. After that week, you will need to find food along the way. Will people have any to sell you or will there be some form of bartering set up already? I don’t know, but I think the sooner you can get home the better. As the realization that the power isn’t coming back on hits, people will be stingier with their food I imagine. The old rule is you can go 3 weeks without food but I don’t want to try and put that to the test.

What route will you take?

The final item to consider is how will you get back home. What route are you going to take to get there and this is where having maps will be invaluable for a couple of reasons. First, you want to plan your route and make sure you know which way you are going. I have on more than one occasion gone the wrong way and had to turn around and backtrack. It’s easy to do this for twenty miles in a car, but if you are walking and realize you took a wrong turn, that could waste a day.

The second reason is I would use secondary roads as much as possible and not highways. I would also try to steer clear of major cities in my path. A highway is faster if you are traveling 70 miles an hour, but it might not be the most direct route you can take. Maps that show the secondary roads to your home will be good to have. Some may even be able to help you determine good places to stay. I would personally camp outside of cities and avoid people as much as possible, but I would want the flexibility to change that plan if needed. Everyone’s circumstances will be unique.

Hopefully, this was useful and gave you something to think about as you plan for your next trip. Please let me know if you have other suggestions in the comments below.

I sometimes have to go out of town on business just like millions of other people each year. The distance and locations all vary with the need, but in a

An EMP is a just one of the threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences. A EMP (electromagnetic pulse) can be caused by an high-altitude nuclear weapon that will interact with the Earth’s atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetic field to produce an EMP radiating down to the Earth and create electrical currents in the Earth. A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack without having a high level of sophistication. The concern of EMP attack is such a fear of national security, there has been a congressional committee to discuss this threat. “Commission to Assess the Threat to the U.S. from EMP Attack”.


In July of 2012 a coronal mass ejection took place.   A “coronal mass ejection” or C.M.E. is a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields rising above the solar corona or being released into space.   This was reported to be the most powerful CME discharge ever recorded from our sun.  The 2012 discharge missed Earth.  However, if this C.M.E. had occurred only a week prior; it would have struck our planet and subsequently led to a complete technological disaster according to researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder.

To put into perspective the size and enormity of this event lets consider it’s speed (force) only. The typical C.M.E. from our sun take between 2-4 days to reach Earth.  The coronal event in 2012 would have reached earth in just 18 hours.  It’s estimated speed was approximately 7 million miles per hour!

While there are systems in place that are designed to warn us of solar flares and CME activity… It’s unclear on whether the teams tasked with monitoring the NASA “Solar Shield” would have been able to alert emergency services in time.   The speed of this event was faster than anything previously seen in our modern space age.

Policy makers haven’t taken this near miss seriously despite the fact that a senior member of the Congressional Homeland Security Committee warned that there is a 100% chance of a geo-magnetic event capable of crippling electrical grids across the globe.  Certain government organizations have deemed this the “KILL SHOT”.   If such an event were to take place it would take up to 18 months before power could be restored to the grid.  If such an event were to occur, it’s estimated that 9 out of 10 people would be dead within one year.  Once the electrical grid goes down, commerce systems will no longer function, food production, farming and delivery will grind to a halt almost instantly, water treatment facilities will cease to work and millions of diabetic citizens will perish from the inability to keep insulin cold.  The ramifications would be serious and almost immediate.


When discussing what measure can be taken to guard against an EMP; it’s first necessary to get rid of a few myths.  It’s essential to understand the nature of EMP and how it works.

One major myth or misconception is that an EMP is similar to a powerful bolt of lightning. While the two (lightning and EMPs) each produce similar results; an EMP is actually more like to a super-charged radio wave. Any bright ideas about using lightning-rods, lightning arrestors  or any such grounding techniques will undoubtedly fail in protecting equipment from EMP.

Another false concept is that EMP “out of the blue” can harm your body or cause major damage to your brain way lightning strikes can.  The EMP levels created by a nuclear weapon would be so minimal, they wouldn’t pose a serious health threat to plants, animals or man.  This is assuming that the EMP isn’t concentrated.

EMP can be concentrated. EMP occurs when it is “pulled in” by a stretch of metal. EMP would be dangerous to living things in this case.  It could become concentrated by exposed metal girders, telephone lines, long antennas or anything similar.  Avoid being very close to such concentrations in event of nuclear war.  A minimum distance of 8 feet from such stretches of metal is recommended for nuclear-generated EMP.

Concentration of metal, wiring etc…  is the main reason that most electrical equipment would be destroyed by the EMP.  It’s not that the electrical equipment itself is really that sensitive, but rather the massive electrical surge would be so concentrated that anything working on low levels of electricity would be completely fried.

So What Can I Do to Prepare For An EMP?

Protecting Small Equipment

A Faraday box is the easiest way of protecting most small electrical equipment that can be unplugged from the power source.  A Faraday box is a metal box designed to divert and soak up the EMP. If the object placed in the box is insulated from the inside surface of the box, it will not be affected by the EMP travelling around the outside metal surface of the box. The Faraday box simple and cheap and often provides more protection to electrical components than “hardening” through circuit designs which can’t be (or haven’t been) adequately tested.  Many containers are suitable for make-shift Faraday boxes: cake boxes, ammunition containers, metal filing cabinets and so on.  Despite what you may have read or heard, these boxes do NOT have to be airtight due to the long wave length of EMP; boxes can be made of wire screen or other porous metal and be equally effective.  The Faraday box is a great solution assuming that you aren’t using the equipment when the event occurs.  (not likely)  It is highly advised that you prepare a “back-up plan” Faraday box filled and ready for such an occasion.  Shortwave radio, weather radio, small television, spare telephone and anything else you may need after.  Do remember that the power grid will likely be wiped out so anything you keep will have to run off of a fuel powered generator.  You should be focused on staying informed but not needlessly entertained.

The only two requirements for protection with a Faraday box are:

(1) The electrical equipment inside the box can’t touch the metal container. Insulating with cardboard, rubber, plastic or even wads of paper are acceptable methods.
(2) The metal shielding must be continuous. There can be no large holes or gaps in the shielding.

Grounding your Faraday box is not advisable. Although EMP and lightning strike are very different in the big picture; a good example how NOT grounding your Faraday box is beneficial would be to look at lightning strikes on a flying plane.  These strikes seldom fry the electrical components or occupants because the metal shell acts as a large Faraday box.  Since the plane isn’t grounded, the effects of lightning strikes are minimal.

Certain electrical parts are incredibly sensitive to EMP.  these include IC circuits, microwave transistors, and Field Effect Transistors (FET’s). If you have electrical equipment with such components, it must be very well protected if it is to survive EMP. Once again A Faraday box is the best solution.

There is a short list of electrical equipment that is innately EMP-resistant.  This includes large electric motors, vacuum tube equipment, electrical generators, transformers, relays, and the like.  This kind of equipment could possibly survive a massive EMP surge and would likely to survive if a few of the precautions discussed below were taken in their design and deployment.  Battery operated equipment will also be impervious to EMP.  If you don’t want to buy a wealth of batteries for every appliance you own or use a radio set up with longer than 30-inch antenna, then you’ll need to use equipment that is “hardened” against EMP.

Larger Equipment Hardening and Protection

If you must operate ham radios or the like during a nuclear attack; there are a few methods which will help to protect electrical circuits from EMP.   These various vary in design as there are multiple ways of neutralizing the effects of an EMP.  Design variations include the use of tree formation circuits (rather than standard loop formations);  the use of self-contained battery packs; the use of induction shielding around components; the use of loop antennas; and (instances of solid-state components) the use of Zener diodes.  Implementing these design elements can eliminate the chance an EMP surge from power lines or long antennas damaging your large equipment.  Another useful strategy is to use grounding wires for each separate instrument which is coupled into a system an EMP system so that it has more paths to take in grounding itself.

On a different note, here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

An EMP is a just one of the threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences. A EMP (electromagnetic pulse) can be caused by an high-altitude nuclear

Imagine it’s 1:15 on a Thursday afternoon. You and some friends at work have recently returned from lunch and you are settling back into work. As you are going about your daily responsibilities, the Emergency Broadcast System starts to blare over a coworker’s radio. Normally you would ignore this, but you also get an Emergency alert message on your smartphone. Funny, you could swear you had disabled those but it says that there has been a terrorist attack in Los Angeles and urges calm and promises more information soon. You start walking out of your office towards the break-room and notice everyone crowded around the TV when the power goes out. Looking down, you notice your phone isn’t working either.

Making for the nearest window, you notice that vehicles on the road have stopped, seemingly right in their tracks. Could this be an EMP? Not wanting to overreact, you take the stairs and walk out to the parking lot. You try your key fob but that doesn’t work either so you use your key. A quick check of the ignition and you realize your car isn’t going anywhere either. Slowly your co-workers validate the same with their cars and you start looking at the possibility that you will have to walk back home. Unfortunately for you, you work 72 miles away from home.

It’s one of the more common problems us preppers try to figure out. What is the best way home as quickly and safely as possible when SHTF and you are far away? I had a reader ask me the following question:

My husband works 75 miles from home. My greatest fear is that disaster or SHTF will happen while he is at work. I would like to start planning for how he might get home, but don’t know how to begin figuring out what is the best route. Most posts (here and elsewhere) on the subject are about get home bags and what equipment to have with you, but not so much about planning the actual route, other than to stay off major highways. Would like to hear the pros and cons of sticking to roadways, crossing private property, what type of maps to consult, etc. – Zendelle


I always appreciate questions from our readers and I will try to give my thoughts about this subject as I have considered this myself. So without any further ado…

What is the best way home during a SHTF event?

There are so many factors that come into play when you are talking about a situation like this. How far away are you? What is the weather like? What region will you be traveling through? Are you in an urban environment or rural? What type of shape are you in? Do you have other people, like children you have to consider? Are your two youngest in school or daycare? What type of clothing and footwear are you wearing? What time of day are you starting out?

Each person is unique and our situations are also unique so there are no firm and set rules for anything but I have given this some thought. At one point in my life I commuted 90 minutes each way to work. It was 77 miles’ door to door and getting home in that type of scenario I mentioned above would be no picnic for anyone. To be really prepared, you have to imagine walking home in the heat of summer or the bitter cold of winter.

For this hypothetical, we will assume that there really has been some type of national catastrophe. Maybe an EMP attack from a rogue nation or terrorist cell has disrupted all modern electrical appliances. Virtually everything electric has shut down and you have precious little time, a couple of days tops to make it back home to your family before the chaos really starts.


To be really prepared, you have to imagine walking home in the heat of summer or the bitter cold of winter.

Before you take the first step: What gear do you need to consider?

I know our reader mentioned that most people only talk about Get Home Bags when this topic comes up but it is worth spending a few sentences here on how best to equip yourself before this even happens.

  • Get Home Bag – Having a get home bag in your car will be an important step in the right direction so to speak. I won’t get into what you should pack in your get home bag, but we do cover all of that in several articles on the subject. You can read our post about putting together your Get Home Bag.
  • Proper Footwear – Flip flops belong at the pool people! My children are guilty of this too, but if you are forced to walk home, what are you going to wish you had on your feet? Sturdy footwear like hiking boots or at least good athletic shoes should be one consideration.
  • Dress for the elements – Dress like you will be spending all day outside not sitting in a cubicle. Regardless of the season, have appropriate clothing on that will protect you from the elements, especially if you are going to be further than an hour’s walking time from home.
  • Food/Water/Shelter – You should have at a minimum, a container that will hold water, a way to filter water, some form of emergency shelter and food. You don’t need a four-course meal to survive, but something to keep your energy up. Think power bars or protein bars. Survival rations work too and won’t go bad in the car.
  • Protection – Do you have some protection from two-legged animals? I always have a personal firearm, but Tasers and bear spray are options too that are better than nothing.
  • Maps – And the knowledge of how to read them. These can be simple street maps, you don’t have to have topo maps of the entire region. You can grab the road atlas out of your car before you head out.

Planning your route and the alternate route home

For the commuter who drives to work, I would imagine that each of you have already mapped out the most efficient route to your place of business that you use virtually every single day. We get into a routine because we found a way that works. It’s usually the most direct, fastest way to get where you need to go. I even go into autopilot some days on the weekend and start driving my work route even when I am not going that direction. These habits can be a good thing in one respect.


each of you have already mapped out the most efficient route to your place of business that you use virtually every single day

Commuters who use trains or buses follow a similar route. The trains go into central spokes normally that would mimic a commute via car. None of us should really worry about the normal route we take back home as long as we know the roads we would take if public or personal transportation was down. With few exceptions, the highway system is going to be the quickest way we can get back to our home city. Highways level out hills and go around natural obstacles. However, what if the route you normally follow has been blocked? What if you travel through less savory parts of town that you wouldn’t normally want to be walking down the street?

Identify your primary, secondary and tertiary routes home – In my case, working 77 miles from home, I was likely looking at 2 to 3 days of hiking to make it back assuming I did not encounter anything that made me need to alter my course. Most of my commute was interstate highway so I would have simply followed that route. However, if that didn’t work out, I could cut back on a smaller highway that would have taken me on a much more rural track to the South back home.

Depending on how people were reacting you could run into rioting or looting in some areas. I would have been walking on the highway through several major population centers that might be best avoided. I don’t think I would ever cut across someone’s property unless there were strong benefits and low risks that I perceived from doing so. Going cross-country, without the benefit of a road can slow you down and may even bring on injury more quickly as you could have to navigate natural obstacles like streams, dense underbrush, rocks, etc. The last thing you want to do is injure your self and make walking more difficult or even impossible while you try to shave 20 minutes off your trip.


Having more than one route back home can help you avoid dangerous areas.

Rather than having a specific route I am taking, I would consult the maps I store in my car to decide which ways I would alternate if needed. I would go to the south of the major urban areas if I sensed any danger but I would still be staying on paved roads that were common thoroughfares.

Pros and Cons of various routes

In the example above, does your normal route take you through urban areas you would rather avoid? Has the disaster already started to make people act irrationally? I think that most of us even in the scenario I described above will be able to count on average people thinking that nothing is wrong. The power will come back on because it always does. Food will still be available and there will still be items on store shelves. You should be home way ahead of any actual panic, but sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry with your route. I don’t think anyone would be barricading streets the first or even third day after the lights go out.

Are you carrying three days’ worth of water on you or are their sources you can tap into along the way. Assuming you have cash on hand you will likely be able to purchase it from stores who are likely still in operation as the Normalcy bias takes over for most.

What factors do the weather play?

Adverse weather could seriously impede your progress. Walking on snow or ice or even extreme heat would sap your energy and could cause injuries. You first have to plan for those extremes if they are common to your area.

If you are facing a walk home and you live in the deserts of the Southwest, you could be forced to walk only at night when the temperatures are cooler and find shade to rest during the day. You understand the weather factors that could influence a trip like this so you have to plan accordingly.

For most of us, walking home is not incredibly difficult with a decent fitness level and some simple preparation. We may never be forced to use our get home bags, but it makes sense to prepare now like we do. You will be more able to react quickly and make the right decisions if you do.

Imagine it’s 1:15 on a Thursday afternoon. You and some friends at work have recently returned from lunch and you are settling back into work. As you are going about