When The Grid Goes Down...

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces) via ReadyNutrition.com,

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, if 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!

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StarGate's picture


Pacemaker does not mean the heart cannot work without it. Might even start firing in regular beat when the EM pollution is knocked out.

Only Diabetes 1 is dependent on Insulin and standard injections will still work if you can find the med. Diabetes 2 might self correct once packaged food becomes unavailable.

adanata's picture

JJ is the king of doom porn...

Truther's picture

What the hell is going on here. Is this predictive programming or what? I am fucking tired of this doom and gloom shit.

HRH Feant2's picture

Fuck you! Don't mess with my doom porn! An EMP is highly likely fuckwad. They were just discussing it as a real possibility for NK. Easier than a bigger nuke and it doesn't have to hit the ground, either.

idahobandito's picture

It has to survive re entry...They will need the chinks technology for that.

HRH Feant2's picture

Whatever. I consider an atmospheric EMP more probable than anything else.

skinwalker's picture

Does it?

My understanding is that for maximum effectiveness a modified nuke is detonated in the ionosphere, which is well above most of the atmosphere.

Reentry may not be necessary.

Perhaps someone with greater knowledge can chime in.

TBT or not TBT's picture

300km up is low earth orbit, where  NK already has two satellites in polar orbits.   An ICBM often is a good enough booster to launch a satellite.   

Truther's picture

STFU bitch. You're a fucking 14 week old baby. Now get back in line or keep sucking that thumb.

Socratic Dog's picture

But...but..."they" were just discussing it! I'm scared....

False flag highly likely with all this fear porn from the MSM, and everyone else. It's not the NK capabilities "they" should be discussing, HRFeant, it's our own. And Israel's.

Mr 9x19's picture

it is not fear porn from msm, are you idiot ?


msm will never spread terror or fear it would collapse the economy, why the hell they say all day long all is fine while we are 9 years free fall from 2008...!


doom porn of shtf writter are for dedicted // economy, to sell products. if you do not fear bombs , how shelter builder can have work.?


it is a modern end 20th century economic model, you create the need 1st and respond by the product then.


we didn't need smartphone in 2006, now it is a world economy of portable techs, but we handled things very well with nokia 3310...


you create the need, then you create the market.  never forget  that rule.


why elite do not want to ear about ungrow, reduce economy, because it is exactly the opposite process of killing what you do not need, to be selective for your very own specific needs, then to check only what is available at its best for it,  instead of  " this exists so i must have one "


think about it.

Eyes Opened's picture

"STFU bitch. You're a fucking 14 week old baby. Now get back in line or keep sucking that thumb."

Jeez... we haven't even been EMP'd yet & this guy is losing it already !!!  lol

Jethro's picture

I love doom porn as much as the next guy, but an EMP really is unlikelyand limited in scale. 

What I really have my fingers crossed for is a new, highly lethal, pandemic.

idahobandito's picture

Agree. A lot of power plants use mechanical/hydraulic breakers etc, and A EMP has no effect on transmission lines. If a CME from the sun hit, as it did in the 1850's, we would be totally fucked, depending on the serverity.

HRH Feant2's picture

I think an EMP is feasible for NK. I think they could launch one, maybe two more from a sub or cargo ship offshore. The scale would be massive! If they hit LA, NY, and DC can you imagine the chaos?

As for a pandemic, I have thought about that, too. My guess is smallpox. Why? No one is vaccinated for it anymore, not unless you work in a military bio lab and could be exposed. Supposedly the CDC has enough stored for everyone in the US. Do you believe them? How long has that shit been sitting around? Since 1978? Oh yeah, that shit is still good, NOT! It isn't like they still make large batches of smallpox vaccine. Supposedly only two labs still have samples: the US and Russia. I don't believe that at all. You could dig up an old graveyard and find it. And recreate it in a modern day lab.

Considering how vaccinated children are in the US, guess which vaccination they don't get anymore? Yep. Smallpox. And without booster shots are those early smallpox vaccines still effective? No one knows.

My other guess for a pandemic is the 1917 flu pandemic. It hit the young people the most. Lots of graveyards from that era with stuff just waiting to be found . . .

New_Meat's picture

If they hit LA, NYC, and center-mass within the beltway?

Some around here would say ...

kellys_eye's picture

I call BS on this.

Induced current is proportional the length of the conductor that is in the magnetic field.  True, power lines are loooong.... but your everyday electronics??  Micro-scale - insufficient 'antenna' length to induce enough damaging current.  If you're equipment is damaged by the EMP you're likely dead from the blast in the first place.

New_Meat's picture

all of that miniaturization that allows all of that "functionality" to get stuffed into a really small package?  Doesn't take much energy to zortch a junction or two.

Cloud9.5's picture

You have one chance in eight that the sun will take down the grid.  https://www.wired.com/2012/02/massive-solar-flare/



New_Meat's picture

so we're fucked by Monday week?

Cloud9.5's picture

You can flip a quarter and it turn up heads for the next thousand years, but the odds are that you have a 50% chance of it turning up tails.  A 12% chance is not a certainty, but it is pretty high odds.

New_Meat's picture

Is that like when the weather-guessers say "30% chance of rain today."  And it is 0530?

IridiumRebel's picture


Yukon Cornholius's picture

At least this topic is more up JJs alley. His geopolitical 'insights' were starting to wear thin.

idahobandito's picture

Too bad JJ doesnt know the difference between a CME and a EMP. 

_triplesix_'s picture

It's becoming a thing,apparently

RumpleShitzkin's picture

Got my last account banhammered for pointing this out.

Seriously. Make fun of the green beret bs and get your account nixed.

BarkingCat's picture


What did they do, have Karl Denninger work as an admin for them? 

The Squid's picture

This article is nonsense. If your car is made after about 1980 it wont be affected by an emp and also unless there were like 10,000 nukes set off above a country over a wide area, which were optimised for emp, the power may only go out in a very limited area and would only be out for as long as the tranformers that were fried took to be repaired/replaced.


The idea that one emp weapon can be set off in the ionosphere and knock out all electronic devices and the entire electricity grid of a nation is just absurd.

It is just fear porn.


Praetorian Guard's picture

Uh, if the mains are fucked you realize it takes a VERY long time to manufacture new ones, and most are brought in from over seas. In any event, even if an EMP was triggered, you can expect more inbounds...

JuliaS's picture

I think you have it backwards. If the car/motorcycle is made before 1980 and has a mechanical carburetor as oppose to a chip-regulated fuel injector, then the vehicle is safe. Also, back then cars had a lot more metal with less concern over fuel economy. That contributes to shielding. I have an old Chrysler sedan that weighs more than a modern SUV. I put it in storage, when the radiator blew about a decade ago, but it can be fixed for a couple hundred, so I'm not willing to scrap it just yet. You can sit on any part of it, even on the roof and it won't bend. A modern Japanese car feels like it's made of candy wrappers. You can tear the panels off with your bare hands. That thing doesn't need an EMP. The wheels will come off if anyone as much as sneezes at it.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

A modern Japanese car feels like it's made of candy wrappers. You can tear the panels off with your bare hands.

You must grow a heck of a beard there, "Julia". While there is a nugget of truth in what you said, Squid still is more correct than you. If you study the property of INDUCTANCE - the physical act of inducing current on a wire, you will see that the longer the wire, the more pronounced the effect. Therefore, transmission lines will indeed carry a wallop that will fry objects connected to them. The air, on the other hand, does not transmit electrical effects efficiently (does lightning close by fry your phone? Knock out your car?). Modern cars, sitting on rubber tires, will only be disabled if in the proximity of a EMP event, and likely most will not be permanently damaged. A high airburst scenario will only work on the long lines, and those things connected to them.

I shield my SHTF electronics when not in use, but it wasn't until I really did my homework that I stopped worrying about that aspect. A generator and plenty of fuel is what you should focus on. After that - get a decent smoker for all that food in your freezers. You do have more than one, right? Right?

New_Meat's picture

"Skin effect" doesn't really care about the thickness.  And "JuliaS" is a girls name, so it probably doesn't have the maths to figger it out.

JuliaS's picture

I think it was mythbusters that tried disabling a car with an EMP. Since their EMP gun didn't have enough power, they replaced the metal hood of the car with plastic to increase exposure. Prior to the modification the test went on unsuccessfully. I'm sure it's on youtube somewhere.

Now why would they do that, if metal had no effect of it induction negated positive effect of shielding? Why do cables get wrapped in wire meshes for shielding?

As for freezers - I have none. I keep dry food which requires no electricity. I'm not a prepper and I'm sure if there was an EMP blast, it would only be the beginning. How many wars start and end with just a bomb? None!

And don't insult my intelligence. I'm a physicist, mathematician and an electrical engineer professionally.

Lastly, are you implying that a modern Japanese car is less susceptible to an EMP than an pre-1980's American car? I think my assumption is sound, even with your points taken into consideration.

Plenty of articles out there on the subject of carburetors vs. injectors. I'm merely transcribing what I've read elsewhere.

MrSteve's picture

Just one atom bomb can ruin your whole day!

nizeoni's picture

exactly this is just fear porn and like bill cooper would say preparing the sheeps for next false flag attack.

Lack of questioning , believing any shit verbatim are the issues. so much of brain washing. unbelievable.  like if tomorrow someonse says that a paper missle cut the twin towers, yeah that shit is possible because they said so.

nizeoni's picture

exactly this is just fear porn and like bill cooper would say preparing the sheeps for next false flag attack.

Lack of questioning , believing any shit verbatim are the issues. so much of brain washing. unbelievable.  like if tomorrow someonse says that a paper missle cut the twin towers, yeah that shit is possible because they said so.

BarkingCat's picture

Can we ask Bill Nye, the fake science guy?

Cloud9.5's picture

“Programmable logic controllers and digital control systems. These units are most commonly found in industrial settings and in particular are extensively used in power plants. They are subject to upset and damage at moderate levels of EMP assault (see figure 2-6). The circuit board pictured is from a typical PLC unit and is exhibiting a damaging short-circuit flashover during EMP Commission-sponsored testing.”  P. 41  Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack http://empcommission.org/docs/A2473-EMP_Commission-7MB.pdf


The suggestion here is that the grid will go down.  I have been in that situation here in South Florida How far can you run on a tank of gas?  Gas stations will have gas in the ground but the pumps won’t work. Do you have access to water when the gravity fed systems run out?  How long can you stay in your apartment with no air conditioning? What will you do when the sewer lift stations fail an your toilet will no longer flush?

Bendromeda Strain's picture

I'll say it again - the EMP "flashover" is a direct result of being in the proximity of a massive wallop delivered at the end of a long PHYSICAL line.

Did not downvote you

bluskyes's picture

FUD. sounds like a late 90s article about linux from microsoft.

HRH Feant2's picture

No, it is not. You may want to read the EMP Commission Report. They still keep the website online. It is about 10 years old as I recall.

When your power goes out, your car dies, your cell phone is fried, and there is no internet be happy! At least you will know WTF happened. 97% of the sheeple won't have a clue. And I am guessing if you tell them they won't believe you. Until the power doesn't come back on in a few days and people start getting hungry. What is that old book? "Nine Meals to Anarchy."

Your choice to be an idiot.

bluskyes's picture

More disinfo from a government mouthpiece. Like I said, FUD

HRH Feant2's picture

I haven't been a government employee for more than 33 years.

bluskyes's picture

I was referring to the report - not you personally.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

Your choice to be an idiot.

Back at ya. Your cell phone won't work because the service is toasted, not your phone - unless it is charging at the time. Again, unless the burst is proximity, electronics will be OK in isolation.

HRH Feant2's picture

Calm down. First, I am not a physicist nor a nuclear scientist nor a nuclear engineer nor an electrical engineer. Second, I have been reading about this topic for more than five years. Third, the US military has been developing and using various types of electronic warfare technology, including directional EMP devices.

However, I was able to find a physicist that has explored the idea of an atmospheric nuclear device being used to cause an EMP. In 2011.

Here is his basic explanation: "Physicist: The weapon itself doesn’t cause the EMP (or not much of one). The pulse is actually generated by the weapon’s effect on the Earth’s ionosphere. An EMP is just a sudden change in the electric and magnetic fields, which on its own isn’t too bad. It doesn’t hurt people at least. However, changing EM fields induce currents in anything capable of carrying a current. This is especially true of power lines, where the current can really “build up some steam”. The problem with current suddenly showing up where it’s not expected is that it can arc or overload circuits. The kind of components and wiring you find in today’s electronics (and the last 30 some odd years) can be destroyed by the sort of sudden surge you get from regular old static electricity.
Of course because of that, sensitive electronics are generally grounded (with ground lines!) and/or shielded with Faraday cages."


With regard to your claim that "unles the burst is proximity, electronics will be OK in isolation." Your evidence for that claim? I don't think anyone fully understands what could happen. The US is the most device and electricity-dependent country in the world. That dependency makes the US vulnerable. As discussed in the EMP Commission report, the US electrical grid needed to be upgraded and shielded. Has that been done? No.

I hope this is just a thought experiment. That nothing happens. I hope everything I have said is wrong. I hope that if NK decides to go full retard and decides to detonate a nuke in the atmosphere nothing happens to anyone, to the electrical grid, and most of all to my smart phone! I hope I am wrong. But hopium may not be enough if Lil Kim goes full retard. Just saying.

Praetorian Guard's picture

This stupid fuck is a "Green Beret"?!?!? If the lights go out due to an EMP they are not coming back on ANYTIME SOON as in YEARS. What's this shit about going home? To survive you would need to be MOBILE - along with all the other Zombies out there.  Shoot first, ask questions later. Electronic equipment? Who is going to be broadcasting? Even if you had a Faraday Cage, you still need something called electricity, from a generator and FUEL. Jesus, to many arm chair commandos that may have experienced shit in a third world shit hole on a temp basis, but came home after their tour. This event is permanent. Can you say Mad Max?


Oh, and that '58 Ford never passed you - they have points and condensors which fry when too much of a load are on them... along with the owner probably converting from a gen to an alternator with voltage regs and diodes...


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