Blackout: How You Can Act Decisively If an EMP Strikes at Work

[Editor’s Note: One thing is for certain if an EMP occurs while many of us are away at work, the city quickly can become a death trap. As writer“, Jeremiah Johnson warns, “Definitive action taken at the critical point is critical to your survival.” Having a plan in place and supplies will give you that critical edge you need to survive.]


ReadyNutrition Readers, this is Part 2 of a 3-part series dealing with immediate actions to be taken in the event of an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) attack.  You can read Part 1 here. In the last segment, we covered what you should do if you’re on the road heading to or from work, or traveling.  Now we are going to detail some actions and preparations for your workplace.  Keep in mind: there will be a “blending” of these parts in actual practice, as to move from one locale to another, you will use the information presented in Part 1 when traveling.  All the parts should complement one another.

I also think it would be a good idea to take listed items and burn off an extra copy as a form of a “checklist,” as not many people have perfect memories (myself included), and it could help you out in the time of trouble and eliminate the need for guesswork.  Let’s start off with a scenario.

Let’s start off with a scenario.

You are an office worker in Anytown, a small midwestern city who works in a 7-story building located on the eastern 1/3 of the town.  The direction of your home from work is toward the East.  You are sitting at your desk with a window facing the west, and it’s about 10:00 am.  Suddenly, a flash of light catches your attention in the sky, and then it disappears.  Simultaneously, all the lights in the office go out, as does your desk computer.  No backup lights come on.  You look at your watch, and it’s dead.  You pick up your desk phone, and there is no dial tone.  There are murmurings from coworkers, and people are shuffling into an open area with a conference table.  You have just been hit by an EMP attack, and it appears that you have already punched out early, and probably for good.

The scenario will be played out throughout the United States.  Now is the time to act. Those who are preparedness minded must keep this in mind: Definitive action taken at the critical point is critical to your survival.

10 Emergency Items to Have in Your Workplace

I have written articles similar in nature to this subject that you may wish to peruse.  What is on your person?  In your desk?  In a locker (if you have one) on the premises?  Let us examine some of the items it would be beneficial to have on your person at all times:

  1. Flashlight (with extra batteries)
  2. Watch (that will not be affected by an EMP or need batteries)
  3. Leatherman/Gerber multi-tool
  4. A good folding knife with a locking blade
  5. Matches and/or a lighter
  6. Some type of firearm for your defense with ammunition for it… (Note: this is, to paraphrase Alice in Chains, Your Decision…you will have to weigh your options)
  7. Pen and writing paper/note cards
  8. Transistor radio that works with a battery and an earphone-attachment
  9. Having an NBC gas mask and anti-radiation pills in your workplace could be a lifesaver if an EMP may be followed by radiological and nuclear consequences.
  10. Map to get home with multiple routes highlighted.


You are going to need a light source if battery-powered lights do not switch on and there isn’t any backup power source.  That small Maglite in your pocket may do the trick: the simplest of circuits will probably be safe and still working…a flashlight is one of them.  All the rest of the items are self-explanatory, except for the pen and writing paper.  These you’ll need to either make calculations, leave a note for someone, or copy any kind of relevant information that you may find.

Transistor Radios

Regarding the transistor radio, you will want to see if you can hear any kind of emergency information that you may be able to use.  The earphone/ear-buds you want to have for OPSEC…you don’t need to advertise that you have a radio.  More.  You don’t want anyone to hear where you are or give away your position with the noise from a radio.

Emergency Exits

Now, in previous articles, I had recommended walking the route and counting the steps from your desk to your vehicle, or from your desk to the front street, if you don’t have vehicle parking in your building.  You’ll have to do it in the dark, and you want to prepare as much as possible for this.  You’ll be taking the stairs.  You should be able to estimate how long this will take you.  Speed is of the essence.

Workplace Gear

Now, what’s in your desk?  You will either want to have a small bag with you with some dried food, a small first-aid kit, and some essentials.  Maybe a couple bottles of water and a few canned meals (prepared meals are the best…focus on high protein and high carbs…you’ll be burning all of it off with the energy expended.)  There should be some room in the bag, because also, you’ll want to change (if you’re not already wearing them) into good boots/hiking shoes, and a good set of clothes instead of the Happy Western Consumer Clown Suit of tan pants, loafers, button-down shirt, ad infinitum, in all the ensemble’s color variances.  DX’em (that means get rid of them) …. you won’t need them anymore.  They’re not worth the weight to carry.

Move quickly and with a purpose: your mission to leave the building without incident and without fanfare.  Your vehicle?  If it doesn’t start, and its electronics have been “fried” by the pulse…then salvage that “go/bug-out” bag from the trunk, along with any weapons and equipment you packed.  Food and water, medical equipment, and prepositioned supplies…tote as much of it as you can.  This is where a large rucksack (or Alice pack) comes in handy, as it can take the weight, take a beating, and hold a ton of stuff.

For a long-gun, I strongly recommend a scabbard-sheath that will enable you to reach up and grab it, while keeping it sheathed.  You’ll be relying on your sidearm, hopefully, a semiautomatic pistol or a powerful revolver of some type.  Get your stuff, get it up on your back, and get out.

There will probably be vending machines in your building.  There won’t be electricity, even if you have coins or bills.  On the other hand, a backup power system may kick in.  You may wish to pick up as many dried/packaged goods as possible.  Just remember this: on the Day After Doomsday, there will be no more of those packaged goodies.

To paraphrase Jack London, the “law of club and fang” just emerged as the new norm for society.  As you leave the building, you need to have several points where you can rest or take refuge.  You should have already planned these out in advance, as well as the route you will be taking.  This route must also take into consideration any rally points for the family, points for resupply (food, water, and medical supplies), and places you may need to shelter in for more than a few days.

Success regarding this segment will completely depend on what you have planned for in advance and either stashed in your now-defunct vehicle or at work.  Good intel is the key to making it through this one.  You’ll have to consider sections of the city/town where you work you must “traverse” through, such as a “bad” area with gang or criminal activity, or such.  For those with the ’67 Mustang Convertible or the ’54 Ford pickup who have working vehicles, then refer to Part 1, and get out of that town as quickly as you can.  If you’re on foot, also refer to Part 1 for techniques, such as traveling when it’s dark, if possible, and things to look for/avoid on your way.  Stay in that good fight!  JJ out!


Additional EMP Reading:

A Green Beret’s Guide to EMP

Protect Your Vehicle From an EMP with this Simple Strategy

A Step-By-Step Guide to Preparing for Emergencies

Prepper Home Defense: 10 Ways to Create an Impenetrable Home Security after an EMP

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.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 22nd, 2017
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15 Responses to Blackout: How You Can Act Decisively If an EMP Strikes at Work

  1. John Gallion says:

    Forget the transistor. That’s toast.
    I have a foldable bicycle in my car with a day pack FULL of survival supplies for getting home in one piece and quickly ( I live about 20 minutes drive and about a 1 1/2 hours bike ride from work – but I have to go through a small city to get there) I also have a large bin with a small propane cookstove (and small bottle of propane, MREs, Camelback, etc. In winter I carry a cold suit suitable for 50 below temps used by oil rig guys in the arctic. Plenty of iodide tablets and high quality water filters for drinking just about any quality of water I find.
    I am as ready for an EMP/nuke emergency as anyone can be without being filthy rich.

    • The aftermath of an EMP attack would be the world’s largest flea market.
      The Carrington Event was a continuous version of an EMP, and even the telegraph systems survived it.

      • John Gallion says:

        Well transistors won’t and therefore microchips won’t. If you want to place your bets on the Carrington Event rather than the results of nuclear tests done since 1945 on transistors, feel free, but don’t whine when you are utterly screwed.

      • Properly protected transistors and integrated circuits will be just fine. The threat is related to the sensitivity of the circuit to the specific frequencies produced in the upper atmosphere. If the circuit isn’t sensitive to those frequencies or isn’t connected to an effective antenna, there won’t be enough coupling to do any damage. The antenna during the Carrington Event was thousands of miles of railroad track, which is even larger than the antenna used in Project ELF. Hiding in your ignorance won’t protect you from it.

      • Cheryl Olson says:

        I may be stupid, but wouldn’t an EMP from a nuke be a LOT more powerful than a solar flare EMP?

      • Not stupid, ignorant. We all are about something. The “P” in EMP stands for pulse, which is a nanosecond long event. Solar flares and coronal mass ejections like the one that caused the Carrington Event are hours to days long events. Their effects are very similar to EMPs, but they are of longer duration instead of being a flash in the pan. All of these things induce large radiofrequency signals in anything that can act like an antenna to receive them. If those signals are dissipated or eliminated, no damage will be done. Very little such consideration is given to the majority of the potential antennas that surround us, especially the very large ones that weren’t intended to be receiving antennas, like power lines and towers. It is similar to what could have happened with computers that hadn’t been programmed to deal with years beginning with “2”. Fortunately, the vast majority of them were made compliant before the problem happened, so there was no crisis. A few dollars spent intelligently combined with some common sense habits can make you pretty much EMP-proof.

    • The only wealth you need to protect yourself from an EMP attack is sufficient knowledge of electromagnetic physics to understand what causes the damage, so you can mitigate those threats. For me, that means not leaving anything that uses an antenna connected to it when it isn’t in use.

      • Cheryl Olson says:

        Unless the EMP hits when you ARE using it.. that is a possibility

      • That is a possibility for everyone who uses what they have, but most people leave everything hooked up. That can be resolved with a few dollars of protective devices, but the reliability of that approach has always been very poor. The Russians left the vacuum tubes in the front ends of their comm gear because they are very tolerant of EMP and other large electromagnetic impulses. Broadcast transmitters are very unlikely to go down from EMP unless they solid state.

      • October 2017 says:

        Minimal. So alluring.

  2. I wish that someone who really understands EMPs would actually write an article about an attack, so that all of these irrationally improbable scenarios could be put to rest.

  3. Darius Jamil Greene says:

    Throw away your electronic devices. You’ll be far too busy to notice, as you’ll be frantically reloading you AR-15s with armor-piercing ammo to ward off the attacks from the hungry and thirsty populace that knows exactly where you refrigerator is and that they get everything you have if they can kill you. Humans will act like animals in such a circumstance. I do have a large 18Volt solar panel and hope an EMP doesn’t fry it…I won’t be able to recharge my iPod which will be playing Ride of the Valkyries in my audio-enabled Beretta ear protection.

  4. Cheryl Olson says:

    Some of us live way out in rural areas. I have a 23 mile trek from job to home, but all very remote. No cities here at all. In some ways, it’s an actual blessing as there will be little traffic. The roads hardly have a vehicle on them as it is. Pretty sure I could make it home in 2 days, and I have a pre-planned stop where I could sleep for the night. Just wish I could carry more supplies. Like John Gallion in a previous post, I have a bicycle in the back of one of my vehicles. I hope I am in that vehicle if an EMP happens. But the bike won’t fit my other car. Depends on what I am driving.

    • Cheryl Olson says:

      I have been a hunter for many many years now, so I DO have a pretty good knowledge of how to survive outside. I am way up there in the Wisconsin northwoods. I doubt many people would be headed north if there were a disaster. It gets -30 to -40 when it’s winter.

  5. Pdf Calendar says:

    Mission accomplished. It’s delightful dude

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