The 19 Pressing Things To Do AFTER an EMP Attack

Pressing Things To Do AFTER an EMP Attack, EMP Attack, Grid Goes Down

With our increasing dependence on technology, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack could be just around the corner. In a high-tech war, this would be more devastating than any bomb imaginable. It would shut down the power grids. It would take out the internet and phone signals. It would render everything from credit cards to gas pumps useless. Our society would start to collapse.

The most important step is to prepare ahead. Have a bug out bag in your trunk, food and water at home, and plenty of guns and ammo. Things will get violent. But after the attack hits, time is limited, and there are certain steps you need to take immediately.

1. Get Home

Get Home

Wherever you are, drop what you’re doing and head home. If your car still functions, drive home quickly before others clog the roads. If it’s too late for that, grab your bugout bag and start walking.

Others will still be confused, assuming the power will come back on. They’ll try to call authorities, and they’ll sit tight at their offices. You need to get a jump on them so you can hunker down.

Defending your home and your life is time sensitive, and you’re vulnerable outside. Get home.

2. Stock Up

Stock Up

Your bag should contain a few hundred dollars in cash. On your way home, make a stop at a gas station. If their pumps are still functioning (without card readers of course), pay in cash and fill up.

Their usability won’t last long. Also stock up on food, water, batteries, etc. You should have plenty at home, but you can never have enough.

Since this isn’t a predictable disaster, stores won’t have been picked over by preppers. It’s very likely most people won’t have cash, so you’ll be one of the few people able to shop.

3. Consider Leaving Town

Consider Leaving Town

If you have a remote cabin or country house, it might be best to relocate from your suburban home to there. Get your family and supplies and be prepared to make that decision.

It’s not crucial, as having neighbors around CAN be a benefit. But if you live deep in the city, you’ll want to leave immediately. That’s where the chaos will start.

Whether you leave or not, all of the following steps apply. You’ll just be doing them at a likely less equipped location. If you have an already prepped remote shelter, then this isn’t even a question. Get there.

4. Check For Electrical Fires

Check For Damage

EMP attacks could result in fires, or otherwise fried electrical devices. See if anything has gone wrong in your house. While you will likely notice active fires immediately, bring an extinguisher. There could be embers that might start a fire later, killing you all.

Look for damage in your neighborhood as well. Note downed power lines, scorched transformers—anything.

If it could result in more danger down the line, this is a top priority. Especially in tight suburban areas, a fire at one house could quickly spread. Be prepared to extinguish a few. If not now, later.

5. Check Your Vehicles

Check Your Vehicles

We don’t exactly know how EMPs will affect vehicles. It’s likely that they will all be useless. However, that’s not certain. Especially if you have older vehicles, you may have some that function. From ATVs to RVs, try to start them.

If you have multiple, without the need for multiple (i.e. big family), working transport will be a valuable commodity.

If you can, hide them. Bring your cars into the garage, or behind the house. If they function and your neighbor’s don’t, that’s a hot item to steal. Take every precaution to protect them. You may be able to trade them for supplies.

6. Check Vital Electronics

Check Vital Electronics

Flashlights will be crucial in these scenarios. While you should be checking them often before the fall, make sure you double check them now. Same goes for radios, and anything else that wasn’t destroyed after the EMP attack.

There’s a good chance that all of this was destroyed if it wasn’t in a protective container. However, since we haven’t had a major EMP attack, we don’t know how small electronics, not connected to a grid, will be affected.

7. Check Up on Loved Ones

Check Up on Loved Ones

Any close friends or family in the area? If you can, get to their house. Educate them, and potentially bring them home. Having people you can trust at your house can be a blessing and a curse.

Hopefully you’ve already educated those close to you on the importance of prepping, but it’s likely they didn’t listen.

If you have a wife and/or kids, go pick them up. Schools may not let you pick up your kids, but be ready as soon as the school day ends to grab them. Get them home before the roads are a mess.

Be quick, and be careful.

8. Eat Your Perishables First

Eat Your Perishables First

Once the family is home, set about eating everything in your fridge. It’s just going to go bad, and the next few days are going to be exhausting. Fuel up, and use it as a moment of relaxation - you need it. Pull out the grill and cook. Enjoy what you can for now.

If you have coolers, fill them with whatever ice hasn’t melted. You can store some of your perishables in there for a day or two.

After that, it’s a health risk. Milk, meat, and eggs are all going to go downhill fast. You don’t want to risk getting sick.

9. Fill Your Bath Tubs

Fill Your Bath Tubs

Water will stop flowing soon, and if it stays on, it will be undrinkable. Fill up every bathtub, bucket, empty bottle, etc. in your house. Again, you should have water stocked up, but each person/pet needs a gallon a day. If you have a family, your supply is going to go fast.

Your tubs can hold a LOT of water. Even just filling a single one can save your life. Every drop makes a difference. Save your portable sources like jugs in case you have to flee.

10. Start Filtering

Start Filtering

You can’t drink that bathtub water yet. It’s filthy because the water purification systems are down. If you have purification chemicals, go for it. Even a small amount of bleach added to a tub is safe and effective.

BUT, If you have a manual filtration system, start running the water through it. Preemptively doing this means you need a second storage unit, but it also means you can fill the tub again. It also means you can start drinking immediately. If you just had a long trek home, you need water right away.

11. Organise your Munitions

Organise your Munitions

Weapons are crucial after the fall. There will be looters, thieves, and people trying to grab power. You need to protect yourself. Plus, you will eventually have to hunt. That doesn’t mean much in urban or suburban areas, but it does if you live far out of town.

Take stock of exactly what you have. Hopefully you have guns for every member of your household, or at least the ones that know how to use them. You also need bullets for all of those guns. It’s also good to have melee weapons. A blade never runs out of ammo, and has a thousand different uses.

12. Organise With Neighbours

Organise With Neighbours

Those around you will still be in shock. Go door to door to educate and attempt to organize. Don’t offer to feed or house them, but tell them what steps they can take to fend for themselves.

Tell them to spend all of their cash, as it will be worthless soon, and they need food. This applies to you too.

Get together a neighborhood watch. With no lights, and soon to be no social structure, looting will become an issue. If your neighbors have weapons, help them organize a patrol team to help protect.

13. Start Rationing

Start Rationing

Parcel out food for your family. If you are well stocked, you’re in a position of power. Food and supplies will become like currency within your community, so be prepared to share. You should have prepped not only for you and your family, but also extra for just such a situation.

Yes, society has fallen, but you and your neighbors still need to cooperate. You’re a tribe now. This is not a time for cold individualism.

Your family comes first, but you will need to work together to survive. Plus, hording can result in angry neighbors looting you.

14. Dig A Latrine  

Dig A Latrine

Your toilets won’t work forever. You’ll have to dispose of your waste somehow. The best option, and perhaps the only, is digging a ditch in the backyard. Your waste has to go somewhere, and digging a new hole every time is impractical.

The same goes for trash. Either dig the one whole big enough for both, or dig a separate one. You can’t have waste and garbage lying around. It’s unhygienic and could attract animals.

Your hygiene is just as important as your nutrition. You won’t be showering, but you still should do what you can.

15. Prep For The Season

Prep For The Season

Depending on the time of year, you need to be ready for either extreme heat or cold. The former requires less work, as there’s not much you can do but store water.

For cold, you need to set about improving your insulation. Fill every crack. Seal every window. Gather blankets and firewood, and make sure your fireplace is clean an functional.

Water is just as important in the cold as in the heat. You won’t sweat as much, but that means you often forget to hydrate. Get in the habit of taking regular water breaks. Dehydration can mean death in these cases.

16. Prep For Defence

Prep For Defence

While you do need to be on good terms with your neighbors, you can’t always trust them. Make sure your home is secure from them and outsiders. If you have a fence, reinforce it. Bold the gate, put up height extending boards, and, if handy, use some razor wire.

Also make sure you have plenty of vantage points where you can watch without being seen. Peep holes are great, but a gun nest in the attic is better. Make sure your door is reinforced as well. Getting out will be hard, but getting in will be impossible.

17. Make An Escape Plan

Make An Escape Plan

If things get chaotic, you need to be ready to leave. Set aside some of your supplies so that you can grab them quickly and leave. Every member of the household needs a back-up bug out bag. You’ve likely already busted into the first, so make a new one.

Every member of the household also needs to know what direction to head, and where to meet if you get separated. If you have a functioning car, this is easy. If you don’t, you all need to be prepared to survive solo. Together is better, but be prepared for the literal worst.

18. Start Hunting

Start Hunting

Your stored food will last a long time. If you have a chance to not dig into it, go for it. That can include foraging, actively hunting, and setting traps for small animals. Assuming you have a way to cook, this can be a really important source of food.

Even if you live in the suburbs, setting traps for small animals can work. Squirrels and opossums may be frequent in your area. That’s a perfectly fine source of protein. Make sure you know how to clean and cook all animals that inhabit the area. You should also know what local plants are edible.

19. Keep Your Family Calm

Keep Your Family Calm

You need to be the level headed one. That means helping to keep the rest of the household calm. Play games with the kids and let them get their energy out. They’re going to get cabin fever if you keep them locked inside all day. Kids will still be kids after the attack.

Another aspect is remaining confident. Even if you are panicking on the inside, present your plans and procedures in a calm manner. Make sure they know you are prepared and have it under control.

You need to be the anchor for your community.


There are plenty of steps to take after an EMP attack. However, the most important one comes first. Start prepping now so that the first few days aren’t hellish. That means putting aside food, water, batteries, etc., getting your home ready, and researching the skills you will need.

Surviving is hard, but it’s even harder if you’re unprepared. Be ready to follow these steps as soon as the grid falls, and you just might stand a chance.

About the author


Colin is a freelance writer and editor. A fan of The Walking Dead. It led him to think what if SHTF and what does it takes to survive. Colin hobbies includes gears, tech gadgets and rehearsing different "End Of The World" situations in his head.

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