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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Cloud9.5's picture

It will take some time for the normalcy bias to wear off.  People will be isolated in the midst of a million people because their I phone is flat.  Their social network will be down and they won’t know how to access information.  The looting would probably start the moment the yutes figured out that police radios don’t work.

stampman's picture

Mormons are required to stock in a year of food or some such thing.

Hence I keep all their local addresses on a handy list ....


Sweet Cheeks's picture

It may take you days or weeks to get home-hence the advice to stay off the roads. Anyone can figure out that that for the first hours or days, roads are somewhat safe if you are observant and prepared.

BarkingCat's picture

If you have face ir nevk tattoos you better be out of my sight.

I will drop any of those that I see, as long as I have ammo.

My reasoning is simple - you are a dangerous lowlife who will kill me for my stuff given the chance.

bunkers's picture

Have a bicycle in the trunk.

Ms No's picture

I have a new rule that it is asinine to live anywhere where the temps are so extreme that you could easily die if you lost electric.  ND and the Phoenix Valley are two good examples of what not to do, and I made sure to prove that I was an idiot by doing both, one after the other.  There are some people who could handle it but not many. 

stampman's picture

Then may I recommend San Diego?

Where you can die of boredom from the weather while sharing an idle major league stadium with 90,000 homeless.

Go, Chargers!

Oh, you did.  Thank you!

I guess the Chargers maxed out their 'Charger Card' with the SD County taxpayers.

Too many rigged stadium elections.

Silver Savior's picture

Ohhhh brother. What is people's thing with the grid going down? 

Chmee's picture

They're hoping for the end of the way things are, thinking that somehow a world turned Mad Max is better.  Hey, maybe it would be, but personally I'd rather stick with the devil I know.

Chmee's picture

Maybe less an immediate concern, but long thought dead viruses might do us in first. (no, it's not about the "climate change' debate)



stampman's picture

Jimmy Hoffa's gotta be in that glacier somewhere.

Lost in translation's picture

ZH has turned into dog excrement.

pparalegal's picture

Screw that. I am going Somali refugee and headed for a free lunch in Trudeau's Canada. Hey Mr.Mountie, over here!

TeddyBear's picture

Pacemakers are shielded and will just reset and restart.


There was a study done a long time ago that said about 90% of the population would perish. Based on that the only advice is to leave the area not be a prepper and not hunker down. Just leave and go someplace else seems like the best advice. 


Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme wait for the crash.

stampman's picture

"There was a study done a long time ago that said about 90% of the population would perish"

Well that was balderdash.  Zero percent will perish.  Like a pacemaker, most small devices are protected.  The only casualties would be devices with long lines such as phone and power lines, but even these would be limited in scope of damage.

A big fat nothingburger.

eyesofpelosi's picture

ZH has become the purveyors of BS...

stampman's picture

And they just keep banging away at this stupid EMP thing again and again.

Someone is making them do it.


DavidFL's picture

The US intel agencies want to take down the internet, so they will take it off-line and blame it on N. Korean EMP. Its as easy to see as anything. Why else are we being conditioned?

my new username's picture

Civilization lasts 9 meal-times. Missing the 10th will take people back 5000 years.

RafterManFMJ's picture

Most Americans have a 30-60 day supply of food stored up - as disgusting fat all over their bodies. We are the first EMP and famine-proof people in history.

DavidFL's picture

US citizens - the rest of the world knows how to handle the situation.

stampman's picture

This article is all bullshit.

Pure bullshit.

EMP is not nearly as effective as these scaremongering claims state.

If it were, it would have been used by now.

HRClinton's picture

This guy bores me. He's merely adding his views to what he read in the ZH blogs.

One more time... the Norks won't attack first. But they will retaliate (with an EMP), if our (((Neocons))) and droid war hawks are dumb enough to attack them. Ergo...

You've got to decide how many hours you/we have until they retaliate after our attack. My guess is 6-48 hours. That is how long you have to get out of Dodge, i.e. outside the EMP blast zone for good - unless you enjoy a shitty version of Little House On The Prairie, while the rest of the world goes on.

We've got a Plan for this scenario. Have you?


Megaton Jim's picture

Shoot any and all niggers you see in groups!

ChaoKrungThep's picture

Yep. White folks never make trouble...except when they're mowing down other White folks.


RedDwarf's picture

Fuck me, why is this article even on ZH?  It's not a slow news day, there is actually stuff going on.

NobodyNowhere's picture

Kim Fat Boy is smart enough to know that if he were to detonate an EMP weapon over CONUS he would have no place to hide on the planet and his days of frolicking with concubines would surely be over.  So that can be safely ruled out.

An EMP weapon attack on the US or its allies from a superpower (Russia/China) will occur only as the starting phase of an all out nuclear war, in which case no amount of preparation will change the odds of survival short of having a very sophisticated bunker.

And an all-out nuclear war between superpowers is highly improbable - it is mutually assured oblivion for each nation involved.

This equation changes once mass deployment of missile defense systems becomes feasible - but that is decades away.

I see military preparedness for a nuclear war as an absolute necessity, but preparedness at personal/local level should mostly be for domestic upheavals.



sacredfire's picture

I think Nobody has nailed it.

Dirtnapper's picture

Quick and dirty Faraday cage:  Unplug your microwave from the wall and put your cell phone, HD/SSD/microSD in it and shut the door.

turkey george palmer's picture

I know a guy who has chickens so I'm good. I would like a boat. Seems many security issues would be easier in a boat. Of course it depends on my being able to get it in the water but normally that isn't a big deal even if I use my lawn tractor to tow it. How funny that would be driving the old craftsmen down the road with a boat. I can go out on the river and row to an island too. I'd not really relish living on an island with the bugs or cold but for a daytime hid out it would do. We got no big population anyway nearby so strangers would be kinda obvious. The dash is a concern but also a possible asset. If trucks are abandoned it's likely something substantially valuable could be found. At least the diesel could be salvaged by dropping the tank on a dolly and towing it home. Maybe I better get a couple totes to store it in and a nice rocket hand pump. There could be a diesel generator available somewhere too.

Cutlery Hill's picture

There are some evil on ZH message board.  I prefer to stick to the guys who make money.


The Shepwave guys have been discussing the markets and how to make money if this type of crisis hits them. They have been calling exact the market movements so I will stick with the winners for today. All of this doom porn is depressing.

conraddobler's picture

The greatest evil in all of history rises out of the very belly of the earth and you are concerned with making money.

Nice, oh no we are not at all fucked.

I don't even know where to start with this doom and gloom shit.

Perhaps it begins with the realization that there is a game afoot and there has always been a game afoot and that is people who run for the levers of control over others as fast as humanly possible.

Those levers are for spiritual toddlers as they are fake in the first place.

What do you want to make money for?

Making money isn't bad in itself but if the very game you are playing is rigged and you know that then you are yourself enabling the sickness that befalls everyone.

By playing the game still you are playing right into the hands of those who built the fucking game you twats.

You can denegrate the doom and gloom all you want but not facing something obvious are the actions of a toddler.

Swamp Yankee's picture

Here in the swamp not only are we ready, we can't wait.  :)

Sky flyer's picture

One little fishing ship with a 10 kiloton warhead in San Fran bay and the whole system goes down in a few days as markets crash and panic spreads nation wide. You don't need an EMP.

DavidFL's picture

I think SF would be a good trade

conraddobler's picture

I fully expect anything like this to be a complete false flag aimed at the heart of the resistence the heartland.

It's so simple a child could predict it.

Cities will be left completely helpless so that the government must take care of them and ship in the food.

The gun toting rebel wannabe's will be busy with their own private showing of the road.

Fear will grip the remainder and all will fall in line.

The tragectory of all is towards the very doom and gloom everyone is predicting because we as a society have failed to cull those from power that are the worst of the worst.   This is a relatively simple failure that will lead to nearly incalcuable costs.

All very predictable and all very obvious.

Those in control are miles ahead of those who have woken up.   It's as if good was on a week long bender while evil spent the week buying up good's very homestead.

Sigh it just should not have to be like this.

In the fullness of time it will all cycle back but the glory days of good are long gone and won't return for generations.

For what it's worth I do not believe evil will win, because evil and good are just two sides of the same coin.

What will be lost is any semblence of peaceful coexistence as that will cycle to a low not seen in thousands of years.

Then one day people will have relearned all the same fucking leasons and here we go again but it might be after they have to re-invent the wheel.

Most people if nothing else have lost the art of who to give power to and who not to give power to, that is one of the only things I really know but this much should be obvious to everyone.


runnymede's picture

"Then one day people will have relearned all the same fucking leasons and here we go again but it might be after they have to re-invent the wheel."

The vast majority of people are ignorant beyond description. I read a scientific essay a while back that most people have a functional memory of 2 years. Anything before that doesn't compute. 

'If you've lived 40 years, you've lived 4000'   -----Marcus Aurelius

There's nothing new under the sun, which is why the result never changes. Only the faces and the details.

chilller's picture

One second after is in excellent read. The country blamed for that attack was North Korea. Keeping an EOP, Emergency Operating Procedure for what to do and what order to do it in all the while accounting for unforeseen issues is a must. Different scenarios are in table of contents. If you haven't done one of these yet...why not?

RafterManFMJ's picture

The book was just OK. I, for one, look forward to an EMP attack because I'll get to sleep in every day and not go to work while all the welfare trash WILL have to go to work (raiding and stealing) to survive.

Wake up at noon and shoot anything moving on my property. Sounds like a good life to me.

DavidFL's picture

It is fiction - wake up! Do a little research before you fall in line!

chilller's picture

I did. One of the writers who contributed to its writing was tasked by congress to assess the emp threat and report back his findings...except the report was to be done on 9/11/2001. Never happened.

hun's picture

It is a very good written book, and the interesting thing is, Newt Gingrich wrote an unbelivable foreword to it. By  the way, the book written by William R. Forstcen.

shimmy's picture

I like all the doom porn that ZH is pushing these days. Just sooooo much different than the libtard media pushing their doom porn that ZH is critical of.

just the tip's picture

That means the optimal point for an EMP strike (dead center of the continental U.S.,

stopped reading there.

why do all the EMP articles, either say that, or they have that goofy map with the bullseye.  why explode an EMP over flyover country?  doesn't everyone here at ZH criticize and make fun of flyover country?  what do you all say?  there ain't nothing there.  and you're right.  so why target flyover country?  explode one over reno and another over richmond and you have directly impacted 3/4 of the US population.  the distance the missile has to travel is 1/4 as far as making that goofy bullseye.

meanwhile, flyover country will just move right along.  shift the blast radius of that goofy bullseye and it will confirm my statement.  unfortunately, chicago will survive and continue to issue IOUs to lottery winners.  or have they stopped that completely?

take out EMP from this article and replace it with climate change and the article would be just as accurate.


Sweet Cheeks's picture

An EMP Exploding 300 miles above Kansas is most often chosen as an optimal point because that would disable the majority of electricity or electronics of Americans from Canada to Mexico and from the Atlantic to the Pacific in one swell swoop.

Perhaps another approach might be to explode numerous nukes in the air over major cites on all coasts.

You will get your much loved climate eventually through any number of natural or manmade causes because it has always changed, but it is unlikely to be led by CO2 emissions. Water vapor, + or - sunlight, asteroids, and volcanic ash are all much stronger instigators of change.

DavidFL's picture

This story is BS. I have had lightning strike in very close proximity while I was driving; neither my car electronics nor my watch stopped functioning. I am a pilot and my aircraft has sustained direct hits from lightning - again, no electrical failure - not even my watch! A near (or) direct hit from a lightning bolt is more powerful than an upper atmosphere nuclear detonation. This crap reminds me of the Y2K BS - which (as we all know) was a big nothing! Wake up America - stop believing all of the doom porn designed to put money into someone’s pocket.

Liber Hater's picture

I was visiting the north east in America in 2002 and the power went out in the whole region of the united states. So I do not know what you are talking about.  Maybe if you are 10 years old.

JerseyJoe's picture

BTW Since the USG has known of this problem for decades and solar flaring (random but very real)- why haven't they taken measures to shield at least part of the grid?

Nevermind - no one is paying them for that...

DavidFL's picture

No one is doing anything, because it is utter BS. You think man can make somethng more powerful than a CME from the sun - incredible what people will believe!