15 Tips to Get Safely Home Following an EMP
Let’s just say that the unthinkable becomes the real and happening. Let’s take this article and go over it. This will be a segment in three parts, the next ones being immediate actions taken at work and at home. I’m hitting on traveling first, as there are so many vacationers jaunting around happily over the landscape. All kidding aside, traffic is congested during the summer, extending traveling time on the commutes. Let’s game the scenario, and here it is.
Here’s the scenario:
You’re cruising down the highway in your 2013 four-door sedan, having just dropped the kids off twenty minutes ago to the swim club. Now you’re on the open highway with a heavy traffic flow…about 5 miles from the edge of town and 7 miles from work. You’re listening to the radio, when suddenly it crackles and goes dead, along with your engine. You look around and pumping the brakes manage to slow down and then drive off the road onto the shoulder, just feet away from the back bumper of another vehicle.
The vehicle comes to a stop, and you try the ignition again. You look at your watch, a Casio G-Shock, to find there is no display. You reach for your cell phone. Nothing. It’s dead. There are perhaps a dozen cars around you…half to your front and half to your rear. All of them have stopped, and most of the drivers have gotten out. You hear the sound of an engine, and looking up, see a ’58 Ford pickup truck weaving in and out of the stalled traffic, moving toward your rear, away from town. The book “One Second After” has just played out in real life. The United States has been attacked by an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) weapon. You’re 15 miles from home, and the “S” has hit the fan.
On Friday 7/29/17, North Korea just successfully tested an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) and experts from four different countries including the U.S. have determined that they have the capability of striking the U.S. anywhere. That means the optimal point for an EMP strike (dead center of the continental U.S., at 300 km above ground) is not only their prime target but also attainable.
15 Tips to Get Safely Home Following an EMP
Back to our scenario. Most will be clueless and unprepared. Let’s do it up, down and dirty with the steps that you should take if you are “Citizen X” outlined in the scenario:
1. Have a plan already in place: That means to formulate one right now, f you haven’t already done so.
2. If there are a lot of people around, such as in the scenario, then immediately grab your gear and get out of there. What gear, you may ask? We’ve “gamed” much of this to the point of nausea, but let’s list out those essentials:
“Go/Bug Out Bag”: This guy already needs to be packed and ready, in that vehicle that will become a 3,000-lb. paperweight. Three days’ supply of ready-to-eat food, one day’s worth of water and the means to filter more. Compass, flashlight, knife, first aid kit, poncho, jacket/sweatshirt, extra socks, map, light sleeping bag, fire starting material, small fishing kit (hooks, line, bobber), sewing kit, MSW (Minor Surgical Wound) kit, extra cash ($20 denominations and smaller), ground pad, extra clothing (hat, OG bandana, etc.), and ammo. An EMP may be followed by radiological and nuclear consequences. Having an NBC gas mask and anti-radiation pills in your vehicle could be a lifesaver.
Weapon: Please don’t feed me “legal information,” or “I can’t do that in my state.” These are “sink or swim” rules. If you don’t have a weapon now, you may not have one later. If you don’t have the fortitude to take that weapon and be ready to use it when the time comes, then you probably won’t survive this or be able to help your family. One rifle, one pistol, with ammo for each.
Grab that bag and put it on, securing your weapons. Then secure the vehicle, closing the windows and locking it up. If nobody is around, throw it into neutral and push it off the road. Camouflage it with branches and leaves…taking care not to cut them from the immediate area that you stash it. Most likely it’ll be “violated,” so now is the time to take the stuff you need and get it out. If the scenario above applies, just secure the vehicle and get out of there.
3. Traveling: Do not walk on the roads. Skirt the road with about 50 meters (that’s about 150 feet) between you and the edge of the road. Stay away from people unless you know them and trust them…both qualities are emboldened.
4. For metro people: If you are out in the suburbs or open road, and you must return to the city? It may be better for you and your family to arrange for a rallying point outside of the city. If that isn’t possible, then you should exercise extreme caution. Allow the nearest family member to secure the home and then wait for you. Travel when it’s dark to be on the safe side. Your visibility is cut down, and so is the visibility of those who may be hunting you.
5. Long distance to go? Forage along the way. Refill your canteens/water bottles whenever you’re able, and take note of any freestanding water supplies or “blue” features (that’s the color of water on a military map) for use in the future. DON’T MARK YOUR MAP! If someone gets a hold of it, you do not want them to be able to find your home. You must commit the route to memory and adjust your steps accordingly.
6. Dealing with the Stress of the Event: The power is not coming back on…ever…and it really has begun…the Day After Doomsday is here. Take a deep breath and concentrate on your training, your preparations. If you don’t have any, then this piece is a wake-up call to get moving! The best way to do it is immediately accepting what has happened without dwelling on it. Concentrate on the tasks at hand: navigating home, scouting what is in between, and foraging for anything you need. You have a job to do! Reconnaissance! We’ll go over that now.
Reconnaissance: You must see on the ground what is in between you and the happy Hallmark home you’re returning to. You should take note of any places that hold medical supplies, food, or anything you may need for yourself or your family. You should take note of possible refuge sites to hide if you and the family hightail it out of the home instead of having a “Walton Family Homecoming.” You must take note of water features, danger locations (cliffs or impassable terrain features), as well as dangerous individuals. Yes, the ones who were jerks before all of this? Wait until you see how they’ll be now, with no controls exercised over them.
7. The best advice I can give: Travel at night. This may be impossible for several reasons. Firstly, if it’s an all-out nuke attack, there may be the problem of radiation for you, in which case you’ll have to either reach home immediately or seek shelter immediately to remain in place for several weeks. Secondly, you may have other family members that need to be attended to and cannot wait for a long time. The kids in the scenario are a prime example. If it is an EMP only, there will be a “quiet period” of about 6 to 12 hours before everything breaks loose and the sequel to the movie “The Road” begins in real life. Darkness is the best time to travel. It hides you and helps you to cover your tracks until the morning light.
8.The rest of the family: They must KNOW THE OVERALL PLAN AND HAVE A PLAN OF THEIR OWN TO FOLLOW UNTIL YOU GET THEM OR UNTIL THEY REACH HOME. This is all going to take some preparation on your part and remember the saying: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t put it off!
9. Avoid people, families, and groups of people. Your goal when traveling is to be invisible. I wrote some articles on how to hunt and how to avoid the manhunt. You may want to refresh yourself on those points, and follow a few basic rules I keep in my own mind and heart:
- When a disaster occurs, everyone is your “friend” even when they are not
- There is no interest but self-interest outside of you and your immediate family
- Whatever you need and have, they also need and want
- They will kill you for the barest of essentials of what you’re carrying
- Don’t talk to anyone: don’t exchange information, pleasantries, and do not tell anyone anything about yourself, your family, your general destination, or your home…it can be used against you later…and it will be.
10. Coming home: Don’t walk right on in. Use a roundabout route, and go to a spot where you can watch your house for at least half an hour or so before making your “triumphant return.” The S has hit the fan, and this is not the return of the Prodigal…you’re just going to tiptoe in. But before you tiptoe through the tulips and the window, keep in mind that Tiny Tim and his gang of marauders may have done it before you. That is why you want to watch the house closely. Best Advice I can give: Have your kids/spouse put up a long-distance-visible sign/signal so that you know everything is either OK or that you’ll have to come in and rescue the family. For example, if the birdhouse is still on the corner of the porch, then all is well. If the birdhouse is gone, or if it’s sitting on top of the post that holds the mailbox…well, time to play CQB (that’s Close Quarters Battle) and clear the house of the rats.
11. Never underestimate anyone’s ability to take your family members hostage: That goes for the “friendly neighbors,” most of all…the biggest rats on the block. If that happens, guess what? You’re now the HRT (that’s Hostage Rescue Team), or you better have a couple of guys such as this in your survival group/pod/neighborhood unit. The hardest guy or gal in the world will “cave” when their son or daughter is being held at gunpoint by some goon.
12. You’re home…Now, it’s time to fight! That’s right! Just when you thought it would be cozy and comfortable…just you and the family and your happy supplies…here comes a whole bagful of “Gummi Bears” down the block…only these bears are armed with baseball bats, zip guns, chains, and crowbars. Armed also with about a week of BO (that’s Body Odor), all twelve of them combined still have an IQ of 50, tops…and here they are, at your door. They don’t want Halloween candy, by the way. You just walked twenty miles. Say, remember that article I wrote about using ginseng, and drinking coffee to help you keep alert and awake? I hope that one comes to mind because it’s about to become a “festival” at your house. We’re going to cover more on this in the next segment.
13. Obtain that “second set” of electronic equipment. Oh yeah, the one JJ continuously warns about! Well, now that all your electronics that were exposed are junk, I hope you made some Faraday cages and stashed an extra one of those radios…or even several, for those of you who thought long-term. You need to find out what’s going on. Ham radios may help if you shielded them. So may CB’s and satellite phones.
14. Arm the whole family: by the time you reach home, every family member either accompanying you (small children and toddlers excepted) should be armed. Time to really see how tight and full of solidarity you are as a real family unit…one that must fight in order to survive.
15. Exit stage left: You may just find that the homecoming isn’t; that is, you must write it off as a loss and get out of there…it’s either destroyed and burning or occupied by the marauders. Unless you have the skills and the ability to deal with all of them, it is better to retreat and stay alive. You need a plan in place in order to make this work.
We’ve covered a lot of information here. This is all designed to stimulate those creative thought processes. The thinking alone is not enough: you must formulate a plan and then implement it. A plan without action is of no use. A plan executed too late is a tragedy: a funeral dirge getting ready to play. Don’t be too late to formulate your plan for you and your family. If the lights go out, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the party’s over…and the party may be one that never comes to an end. Fight that good fight each and every day! JJ out!
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.
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