preparation 300x200The mere prospect of preparing for an EMP or major solar flare event is so daunting that many just throw up their hands.  It is one thing to worry about a snowstorm, hurricane or tornado.  Those storms may be devastating, but generally affect only a small area and the resources in the United States to respond to emergencies are generally so overwhelming that long term effects are mitigated.  A long term interruption of our power grid results in a much different situation.  Resources that we count on for storms or natural disasters will be limited in supply or may not exist. 

Preparation for a power outage is very similar to that which you would do for a major storm.  You need drinkable water, food, shelter, light and security.  Any medical items which are used on a frequent basis (such as insulin) need to be on hand.  Your planning can be as advanced as your resources will allow but it is suggested that you start with a specific time frame to prepare for as a goal. Then, once that is taken care of you can extend your planning horizon.  If you know that you can make it for at least two weeks you will be ahead of the game.  We have developed preparation guidelines here on EMP Aware that you may find helpful.  There are also numerous resources on the web that we will be referencing in the future.

You must have your food and water stored in a location that is secure that you can access. Plan on one gallon of water to drink per day per person plus an additional gallon for cooking or hygiene.  A typical adult will consume around 1,600 calories per day so plan on having that stored.  If you start with a two week timeframe in mind it is fairly easy to calculate how much you need. Stock items that you or your family typically consume and you can rotate through these in your daily lives so that they don't expire.  Consider some long term food storage. It is not expensive and the shelf life can be over a year.  Get a portable stove with plenty of extra fuel. It will likely need to be used out of doors - check the manufacturer's advice.  Water purifiers are also available for longer term needs.  Do not drink water that has not been purified.

Keep some amount of cash on hand in small bills.  Banks will likely be closed. Don't be afraid to use the cash as the longer the power is out, the more worthless the cash will become. Go to smaller stores as they may be more willing to work with you to sell their items which will either perish due to lack of power or be subject to looting.

Have emergency lighting on hand.  Camping lanterns and fuel are non-electronic devices and should survive an EMP but will need to be used outside your home or shelter.  Do not use these inside as the fumes may be toxic.  Keep a number of LED lanterns or flashlights on hand with plenty of extra batteries. Keep plenty of candles and matches.  If you are in a cold environment you should have plenty of blankets and warm clothing.  A portable generator to provide power to small devices will be incredibly useful.  Make sure you have fuel.  Solar battery chargers are also available which can recharge certain devices almost indefinitely.  If you have a wood burning fireplace make sure you have plenty of wood on hand.  Propane or heating fuel powered? - Keep those tanks full.

You will not be able to run down to your local pharmacy to get medications.  Keep on hand any medications that are necessary for you or your family. If any medications require refrigeration make plans for a small refrigerator that you can power with a generator.  Keep a first aid kit on hand.  Personal items such as toilet paper and feminine products are not expensive to keep on hand and could help ease the discomfort of the long term outage.

Get a short wave radio as well as a NOAA weather radio and protect it if at all possible with a Faraday cage.  We will be adding content on this in the near future but in the meantime there is a lot of information available on the web.  Keep plenty of batteries. Know their expiration dates and replace accordingly. Hand crank or solar powered radios are nice and not very expensive.  Think no power - do you have a whistle compressed air horn that you could use?

Security is a personal preference.  Some are trained and comfortable with firearms but that is beyond the scope of this site.  Know that you will likely not have the luxury of police protection so you may have to fend for yourself.  Think about how you will protect your family during this time and plan accordingly.  Communicate your plan with them.

Personal documents that identify you and your family should be printed out and stored in a safe place.  For documents that are in electronic form that you don't want to print put them on a CD or DVD, not a removable hard drive.

When the Event Occurs

If an EMP strike or solar flare occurs you should move quickly.  Most people will be unaware and unprepared.  They will sit and wait to be told what to do.  If you are at work - get home. If your car still works (you should definitely always keep it as full of fuel as possible), then drive it home as traffic will rapidly come to a standstill.  If it doesn't work and you are close enough, start walking.  Gather your family as rapidly as possible and explain to them what is happening.

Increase your resources as rapidly as possible.  Fill your tubs with water as the pumps may soon fail. Fill any other emergency containers you may have that are empty with water.  If you have a neighborhood store get there and use your cash to buy anything that may be useful.

Communicate with your neighbors.  Get your radio out - knowing what has happened is essential to help you plan your response.

Most people will not be prepared for this situation.  It is really not that hard to take care of these items and you have the extra advantage of this helping you in case of other natural disasters.