When The Grid Goes Down...

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!


Manthong Fish Gone Bad Sat, 08/12/2017 - 23:29 Permalink

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Oh JHC  ….. F me Outside of the little laptop… everything is off line ..and the mesh meter on the outside will blow up with a sufficient EMP

In reply to by Fish Gone Bad

chumbawamba Manthong Sun, 08/13/2017 - 00:41 Permalink

Retired Special Forces Green Beret going under the Nom De Plume Jeremiah Johnson must be jizzing bucket loads in his pants over this North Korea shit.  I'm guessing he's down in his bunker, surrounded in bean cans wearing his Vietnam era helmet with his AR-15 at the ready.  And jizz coming out of his pants legs.I am Chumbawamba.

In reply to by Manthong

toady chumbawamba Sun, 08/13/2017 - 01:18 Permalink

The more I hear about emp the more I realize people just don't understand how it works. A pulse doesn't just magically fllout through the air for hundreds of miles. The nuke goes off and the blast radius is done for, but beyond that the pulse needs a physical transmission medium (power lines, phone lines, etc.) A pulse will travel the wires for hundreds of miles, blowing out fuse boxes and whatever is plugged in inside houses, and, more importantly, those giant transformers that will take down entire metropolitan grids.Now, that's devastating, for sure, but things like cars, cellphones  (that aren't plugged in) watches, etc. will NOT have any issues.

In reply to by chumbawamba

Wheresthesolutions toady Sun, 08/13/2017 - 07:50 Permalink

It's all cool to prepare and shit, but this is some hardcore 'fuck you and everyone else' fear. There are some serious mentals in this world, but never underestimate the power of small local communities coming together to help each other. Or be a paranoid skitz, your choice. You're most likely gonna be fucked anyway ;)

In reply to by toady

Lucretius Wheresthesolutions Sun, 08/13/2017 - 12:27 Permalink

Serious fear porn? Why yes, yes it is...Isn't that the point? One is either a cub/boy scout/ former/active duty military. Either you are a prepper or you are woefully UNPREPARED   .Fear porn gives me a huge throbbing snotty boner, though I'm not dripping jizz down my pant legs! The reason is because I'M ALWAYS PREPARED, and I cannot wait for this shit show to END! I enjoy studying upon the subject only to check if my plans and situation are fully functional, they are   . I have 1500 gallons of fresh clean water on deck at all times, from my well. I always have an ample supplies of dry goods in the pantry, and a few weeks of meat in the freezer, fresh produce in the garden/freezer, home defense, covered, know EVERYONE on the lil hood, all cool but one libtard twat (and hideously, grotesquely ugly to boot, poor thing), she'll be fucking her ostrich or cats or donkey or something, cuz no sentient being would touch that shit but another libturd! Fortunately, "it" is the only one around, and, "it"doesn't believe in guns, double plus good! Bug out vehicle (pre computer) with two full tanks of diesel, check, remote bug out location chosen (wilderness area), twenty minuets away, with running water, trees (fuel) and grazing meat, deer, antalope,cattle, jackalope, black bear, etc., check. Alternate power capability, check. Ya, I got my shit covered, how bout you trolls? Gonna wait upon Mr. Soros to rescue your sorry pathetic asses? Good luck with that. Remember all the propaganda we've been collectively fed about nukes destroying the local/global environment for THOUSANDS of years???https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroshima_Peace_Memorial_Parkhttp://www.j… Odd, something went wrong, they both look like huge thriving cities... Somehow, that does not fit the narrative, just ignore the facts!

In reply to by Wheresthesolutions

New_Meat toady Sun, 08/13/2017 - 07:42 Permalink

There's a reason that we have the advice of "in a lightning storm, get into a car."And a radiological event as described will be either a) concentrated in cities or b) randomly distributed.  Case a) is if it is serious, case b) is if the instantly appearing, been developed and fielded since November 2016, miniaturized nuclear weapons fired by DPRK ICBMs survives reentry and actually functions.  In either case, being within 50 Meters (that's about 150 feet lol) when the sucker lands and this advice won't matter too much.- Ned

In reply to by toady

The Cooler King (not verified) toady Sun, 08/13/2017 - 09:22 Permalink

"A pulse will travel the wires for hundreds of miles, blowing out fuse boxes and whatever is plugged in" So like, your Tesla, or coal fired Chevy Volt, which is plugged into your garage outlet, starts sparking up, lights some paint thinner you have on the workbench next to it and sets your whole house ablaze, which melts your bitcoin wallet & laptop, whereby you miss Elon Musks next interview about AI being the greatest threat to humanity. Sweet!

In reply to by toady

Pulp Culture toady Sun, 08/13/2017 - 10:18 Permalink

The emp induces voltage in conductive materials. A great distance from the emp source electronics might not fry. Near the emp source, ALL un unshield/hardened will fry. The emp induces high voltages in conductors...even the short wires inside an IC and the copper traces on a pcb. The 1958 Ford truck, if near the emp source will have its ignition coil and starter fry. Fry means that the induced voltage is high enough to arc through the insulation and damage the coils contained in both the starter and ignition coil. The closer equipment is to the emp the less likely it can survive. Electron tubes do have the ability to recover from emps, however, what use are electron tubes in computing device anyway. eniac

In reply to by toady

Stuck on Zero toady Sun, 08/13/2017 - 10:14 Permalink

Just a note: Your gasoline powered electric car is under constant EMP "attack" by its own ignition system.  It is strongly protected.Also, if an EMP blast really knocks out everything as imagined the entire country will burn to the ground within 48 hours. No water, no fire trucks, no help. Also expect all the nuclear plants to melt down as the cooling systems will be knocked out.

In reply to by toady

TuPhat Stuck on Zero Sun, 08/13/2017 - 16:48 Permalink

All nuclear power plants are hardened against EMP.  What will happen is they will lose offsited power and the transmission lines will go down.  They will therefore have to shut the plants down and power for the cooling pumps will be provided by the emergency diesel generators.  They have enough diesel fuel to do that for seven days.  After that they would run the reactor at low power to provide cooling unless they are near the end of core life.  If they are near the end of core life and can't get a supply of diesel the reactor fuel will melt.  The fuel at TMI melted and there was no release of radioactivity to the environment.  The plant will be damaged beyond repair but no one will be hurt.  If you don't live in the USA the safety equipment might not be designed as robust as in the US.  I feel sorry for you if you live in Japan.  I'm also sorry if that ruins your doomsday but, oh well.

In reply to by Stuck on Zero

Excursionist toady Sun, 08/13/2017 - 14:28 Permalink

Toady - You can come up to speed on NEMPs via this Wikipedia entry:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_electromagnetic_pulseTwo points worth calling out:

  1. The U.S. conducted a NEMP test in 1962 over the Pacific and infrastructure was inadvertently knocked out in Hawai'i, which was almost a thousand miles away.  Effects from a high altitude detonation are amplified by atmospheric and geomagnetic phenomena.
  2. You never hear from preppers anything about there actually being three different types of NEMPs:  E1, E2 and E3.  It is E1 that is the particularly nasty piece of business and difficult to shield against.  A Faraday Cage is indeed a start, but it must be constructed properly to fully protect against E1.  Should you be really interested in the subject, then here is a link to a 1970 U.S. military document discussing ways of hardening electrical infrastructure against NEMPs:  http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/707696.pdf

In reply to by toady

Calmyourself toady Sun, 08/13/2017 - 14:38 Permalink

Cell phones don't exist in a vacuum, they need and rely upon infrastructure that uses grid power. Will your car work perhaps until you run out of fuel, then what.. Last real testing of cars was 2003, they have gotten much more sensitive.http://www.empcommission.org/docs/A2473-EMP_Commission-7MB.pdfArm yourself with information and especially pay attention to how they gloss over the problem of Nuclear reactors losing grid power..

In reply to by toady

Jeffersonian Liberal Fish Gone Bad Sun, 08/13/2017 - 10:16 Permalink

There are two ways the 'grid can go down'"

1. A nuclear detonation high above the US.
2. A hack to the power network that delivers the electricity.

The second won't touch our vehicles, only that which is dependent upon our electrical grid. This is not too much different (in effect) than an ice storm, tornado, hurricane. Best to be prepared by having food, water (and water filtration/purification), medicine, the means of self protection (yes, firearms, ammo, and experience).

The first type may shut down cars, trucks, etc. No one really knows for sure how powerful the electromagnetic wave would be. It could kill every vehicle that runs by computer or micro-circuitry, it could stall them for a moment but not disable them, or it could have no impact at all. We simply do not know for sure.

If an EMP were fully successful, then we would be back to the dark ages for an unforeseeable period. Best to have my prepping suggestions in place (you should always have them in place regardless, to be able to survive for at least six months) and, if you can, a means of bugging out (they're out there, but you can figure that out for yourself) and a place to bug out to. Best to go to a group of like-minded people or have a group go with you. Being on your own is going to make it very dangerous and very risky.

In reply to by Fish Gone Bad

StarGate Jeffersonian Liberal Sun, 08/13/2017 - 10:54 Permalink

After the initial shock, the welfare junkies and city denizens would attack each other and fade away in 2 weeks after no one arrives to help. They may start to maraud but will be pushed back beyond 15 miles circumference by the 2nd amendment country dwellers.

In the country however, there are those who grew up without power, can't afford all the gadgetry now, or whose power goes out with every storm and can adjust to a nongrid lifestyle. These types will team up and after the initial shock, support each other with their varied skills.

In reply to by Jeffersonian Liberal

GUS100CORRINA Truther Sat, 08/12/2017 - 23:32 Permalink

When The Grid Goes Down...My response: With everything being Just-In-Time (JIT), supply demand and pull cycles can create a situation where stores could run out of supplies (food, product, medicine, etc..) within days if the grid goes down for any period of time longer then 1 week.Sophisticated "Supply Chain Logistics Management" processes have created highly integrated disparate systems that are very dependent on each other. This leads to the obvious relationship: No grid means no orders and no orders means no product which leads to empty store shelves.I am hopeful that the US has done something to protect the grid.

In reply to by Truther

Excursionist Birima Sun, 08/13/2017 - 14:41 Permalink

Birima - In the United States most (unfortunately not all) people value the right of free speech above any ill effects from it.  The dark underbelly you've seen here is that even the most vile biggots can exercise that right as long as they do not instigate violence.  This does not mean the general population here condones or agrees with biggotry.  It simply means people like me will defend with every resource available even those who feel compelled to spout off foul things.  I prefer a world in which free speech is not abrogated because of someone's good intentions.  The problem with good intentions is that they are not only highly subjective but also a slippery slope.  I realize this may be a novel concept to people who have grown up without a true freedom of speech (e.g., Germans), but the right is precious and cherished in the U.S.

In reply to by Birima

Birima Excursionist Sun, 08/13/2017 - 16:42 Permalink

Hi Excursionist, I fully understand what you are saying and I am not from left wing nor right wing political spectrum and neither from Germany where freedom of speech seems to be under attack indeed. United Kingdom too with their overly political correctness. Controlled freedom of speech is a contradiction in terminus I realize. Yet it keeps me pondering how much of free speech is desireable if hate is spread just because of racial difference and it's possible effect on those who are full of hate already: just see what happened in Charlottesville. Personaly I still believe in abuse of free speech but your explanation certainly holds true. Adding to this, what about freedom of expression in comparison to freedom of speech. I remember nipple gate when whole of America is in shock but someone saying all blacks should be exterminated is not a problem?  Sort of double standards. Thank you for your time.

In reply to by Excursionist

Chaos_Theory Birima Sun, 08/13/2017 - 17:34 Permalink

Okay, maybe I was a little harsh.  Here is my bottom line:  I'd rather people have the ability to come out into the light and say whatever the hell they want, no matter how vile (with maybe the sole exception of calls to kill someone specific, I.e. asking for person X to be assassinated ).  Now, the corollary is then the person and their speech can be debated, debunked and condemned if you so desire.  The SJW/PC road of the West is leading to the evils of 1984 (thought police, double-speak) and weak minds unable to debate or even acknowledge the right of someone else to dare have a legitimate different opinion.Oh, and I despise the one-sided condemnation of white racists ,  while the MSM and academia either ignore racism from other racial and ethnic groups, or actually champion it ("white privilege").  

In reply to by Birima

Birima Chaos_Theory Sun, 08/13/2017 - 18:45 Permalink

SJW Social Justice Warior   PC Politically correct     1984 refering to Huxley right?     I understand now. No need to apologize for being harsh. Being with the most attractive African woman I can think of (I know some of you will be utterly shocked by that), the comment just pissed me off so I used my freedom of speech also on this white trash. I am by far not a SJW. That would be an insult actually.

In reply to by Chaos_Theory