If an EMP strikes there will likely be little or no warning.

An electromagnetic pulse may only be a minor inconvenience for a few or it literally may destroy our civilization.  There is much conjecture about possible outcomes but there is the distinct possibility that the electrical grid will be completely down for an extended period of time.  This means your cash will become worthless, no food will be available for purchase, water will stop pumping to your home, electric lights, heating and air conditioning no longer work, there is no fuel for your car, your car's electronics are likely fried, no television, limited or no radio, no access to critical medications and the resulting lawlessness of people who are without will be staggering.

For what length of time should you prepare?
The notion of preparing for months or even a period longer than a year is daunting to even the most hardy.  Pick a number of days or weeks first as a goal and get those supplies secured.  Then begin to look out to a longer period to see how you may solidify your preparations.

These checklists are in no way meant to be all inclusive and any quantities are only estimates.  Consider your particular situation of your family and neighbors and choose what best fits your needs. But, please don't ignore this critical threat to your existence. Select the tab below for the checklist you would like to view.

  • Cash
  • Water & Food
  • Shelter, Light & Heat
  • Medications & First Aid
  • Communications
  • Security
  • Personal Documents

Cash - Who Needs It?

In our current world "cash is king".  Cash on hand, or the availability of credit, allow us to purchase our basic necessities.  For a short period of time after an EMP, your cash should still have value.  After just a few days or weeks though, everyone will realize that their cash is worthless.

Use it. Buy any supplies which you may be short on.  You may have better luck at small stores whose owners are concerned about the power outage and the possibility of unprotected or perishable items.  Stores will quickly run short of items and likely will be looted.

Have cash on hand because after the EMP hits you will not be able to withdraw it from your local bank.  But, don't let it lose all of its value in the first critical days.  Stay ahead of the curve.

Water & Food

After an EMP you will be drinking and eating the water and food you have stored or which you can procure.  Take some time now to store food and water supplies which can enable you and your family to survive.  While it may be inconceivable to contemplate providing food and water for an extended period of time, at least try to prepare for some number of days so that you can sustain you and your family.


Depending on your activity level and climate the average person should drink between two quarts and a gallon (four quarts) of water per day.  Try to have at least a two week supply of drinking water stored for your family.  Water is also needed for food preparation and personal hygiene. Store at least one gallon of water for each person per day in your family.

As soon as possible after an EMP strikes fill all containers in your home including your bathtubs. As soon as the grid goes down, water may stop flowing to your home very quickly.  Make sure any stored water is purified before you drink it. General recommendations are 8 drops of Clorox bleach per gallon of water to be purified.

Consider storing

  • between 1/2 and 1 gallon of water per person per day for consumption
  • 1 gallon of water per day per person for hygiene and food preparation


You will have a certain amount of food stored in your home and available for consumption.  When the power goes out your food in your refrigerator and freezer will go bad as soon as it gets warm.  Eat it first.  Then use the food in your pantry with the shortest shelf life.  Have on hand a supply that will provide at least 1,600 calories per day per person.  Numerous companies provide long term storage food. Don't forget a portable stove and fuel with utensils and cooking pots.

Items to consider

  • Eat perishable foods first
  • Have on hand food which can be stored to supply 1,600 calories per day per person
  • Don't forget infant and baby food
  • Food preparation items such as camping stoves and fuel with matches
  • Food for your pets



Shelter, Light and Heat

As the EMP is not a physically invasive event, your home will likely suffer no damage, although it is safe to say that any electronic devices may potentially be fried and worthless.  You will undoubtedly lose power which will result in no electric lights, heat, air conditioning, or refrigeration.  Any automated systems such as burglar alarms will not be functional. Assuming that at least for the coming days or weeks you will be able to stay in your place of residence keep the following supplies in mind:

  • Candles
  • Matches
  • LED lanterns with spare batteries (these may need to be protected and we will discuss this in another section)
  • Headlamps with spare batteries
  • Solar chargers
  • Propane stove, lantern, spare mantels, and fuel, with spare parts. These may will likely need to be used out of doors.
  • Portable generator with fuel
  • Plan as if you were camping - plenty of blankets and sleeping bags
  • Warm clothing which you likely already have
  • Travel bag or pack

A number of reasons may require that you leave your place of residence to move to another location.  Keep this in mind as you assemble your supplies.

Medications & First Aid Supplies

In the event of an EMP it may be impossible to go to a pharmacy to get medications for you or your family. Elderly patients, diabetics, anyone who requires medications will be affected.  Try to have on hand medications which will take care of any essential needs for as long as possible.  Have basic first aid supplies available as you may not be able to get to medical care if you need it.

Medication Considerations

  • Prescription drugs
  • Insulin & diabetic supplies
  • Aspiring and other over the counter drugs
  • Contact lenses for as many months as possible

First Aid  Supplies

  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Absorbent compress dressings
  • Cloth tape
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Aspirin
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Bandage rolls of various sizes
  • Thermometer
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Needle and thread
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • First aid instruction book



An EMP of sufficient magnitude will cripple most electronic communications.  Be prepared for your cell phone not working, no TV and limited or no radio.  Most of the internet will be down. 

Here are some items to think about regarding communication preparation:

  • Have a shortwave radio on hand. The thought regarding a shortwave radio is that you may be able to receive broadcasts from radio stations on another continent that have not been affected by the EMP.
  • It is important to also have a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Keep plenty of batteries of various sizes and makes on hand to power any electronic devices you have that do survive the EMP.
  • Shield radios and other electronics equipment using a nested faraday cage system which alternates foil and plastic.  The chamber of an old microwave oven can be used as a somewhat efficient method to shield small electronics.
  • Consider a small electric generator, one that does not depend upon electronics to start it.  Keep spare fuel on hand.
  • A small solar panel can be stored in a nested faraday cage and supply a small amount of power indefinitely.
  • LED flashlights may survive and EMP but have at least one good flashlight stored in a nested faraday shield.


The need for information after a disaster is critical.  Discuss with your family how you will try to communicate in case of an EMP.  If you can get your neighbors interested in planning for the possibility, you will be ahead of the game.  Most people will be oblivious to the event for at least a short period of time and just be waiting for the authorities to come.  Don't fall into that mindset.






Have you observed that when a weather event is predicted stores are quickly emptied of basic items including food, water, and batteries? Panic can ensue over the most trivial of events in our "instant on" society.  Now imagine no food deliveries to local grocers, shelves quickly bare of food and water, hardware stores lacking basic supplies.  Things will turn ugly quickly.

You must consider a security plan for you and your family.  Despite your best efforts to plan and prepare, most of your neighbors will not have taken the same precautions.  After a short period of time those who have resources may be targeted by those who don't.   Looting will become prevalent in all communities.

Consider the following:

  • Never walk around unarmed.  For your chosen methods of personal protection be competent in their use.  Do not use force unless absolutely necessary, but be prepared if you must.
  • Do not allow any of your family members to go out alone.  Lone wolves are easy prey.  There is safety in numbers.
  • Stay in after dark.
  • Organize a neighborhood watch so that your community can come together for protection.
  • Things are different now.  Be suspicious of all activity.



Personal Documents

Regardless whether you are preparing for an EMP or another natural disaster you should make sure that you have your personal documents secured and medications - particularly ones which are essential, stored in sufficient quantity for the length of time where you may be without outside resources.  Some of the documents listed below may be useless in the event of an EMP but are included as items which may need to be available.

  • Gather or prepare the following legal documents:
    • Last Will & Testament
    • Living Will
    • Power of Attorney
    • Pet Protection Agreement
  • Also gather the following documents for you and members of your family:
    • Birth Certificates
    • Drivers Licenses
    • Marriage License
    • Confirmation, Baptism Cards
    • Passports
    • Social Security Cards
    • Insurance Cards
  • Create a document which includes the following information:
    • Banking Account Numbers/ Online Passwords
    • Investment Account Numbers
    • Insurance Account Numbers (Medical and Home/ Auto/ Flood)
    • Credit/Debit Card Numbers / expiration dates / ccv number off back
    • Important contacts and phone numbers including:
      • Insurance Agent
      • Physician
      • Immediate family
      • Any other important contacts
      • Your essential computer passwords
  • Essential medical information for you and family information including prescriptions


In the event of an EMP, electronic storage of these documents may not be retrievable so  Print Them Out and store them where you can retrieve them.