Preppers know that an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack is one of the most devastating doomsday scenarios that they may have to face after SHTF.
After an EMP attack, many of your devices, tools and vehicles will be unusable, unless they were specifically hardened or protected ahead of time. However, this is difficult to do, especially if you have many items that you use every day.
Alternatively, you can prepare for an EMP attack by learning what items will still work after an event like this. (h/t to ModernSurvivalOnline.com)
An EMP can be caused by a high-altitude nuclear detonation or the deployment of a purpose-made EMP generator. This kind of disaster can plunge society back into the pre-industrial era by destroying electrical grids and any technology that runs on a circuit board.
Here are 10 useful preps to have on your homestead if you want to prepare for an EMP attack.
Most basic appliances that you use daily will continue to function after an EMP if they are not connected to the electrical grid. This includes older-model appliances like refrigerators, freezers, washers and dryers.
Like with all electronics, if your appliance doesn’t have a sophisticated control panel, you can probably still use it if it survives the initial surge of power after an EMP attack.
Basic appliances that you use every day like coffee makers can be run on solar panels so you don’t have to go all in on non-electric replacements if you plan properly.
Note that almost all primary and secondary cells that you use regularly will survive an EMP if they are not on a charging dock that is connected to the electrical grid.
The casing of a battery itself acts like a Faraday cage that helps protect the electrolyte inside from the effects of an EMP. If the terminals do not complete a circuit, the dangerous current present during the event will not damage your batteries.
But batteries that are presently connected to vulnerable devices might be destroyed or damaged from the immediate effects of an EMP on its host device. Fortunately, you generally don’t have to worry about the batteries in your survival stockpile. (Related: How to prepare for an EMP strike.)
A traditional magnetic compass might be temporarily spoofed by an EMP, but it will return to normal function in the aftermath.
Even an extremely powerful EMP is usually not a sustained bombardment of electromagnetic energy so it will not permanently interfere with the polarity of the Earth’s magnetic field that a compass needs for proper orientation.
After some time, you can continue using your compass to find your way once the event is over.
Flashlights and lanterns
After an EMP attack, you can still use regular flashlights whether or not it has batteries in them. The same goes for your electric and liquid-fueled lanterns.
These essential items can still be used to light the way at night during a long-term power outage.
When considering electric items and devices, it’s best to choose incandescent versions of devices instead of modern LEDs.
When preparing before SHTF, rest assured that you can keep using all your manual tools in the aftermath of an EMP even after your other electric tools and devices fail.
Tools that rely on humans or animals for power will still function after such an event, from hammers and saws for woodworking to more intricate tools like plows and mills on your homestead. If you’re not sure, anything that is not dependent upon electricity before the event will still work after.
Before disaster strikes, stocking up on various manual tools that can supplement or replace the capability of your more modern tools is crucial for EMP preparedness.
Here are some manual tools that you can stock up on before disaster strikes:
For your kitchen:
- Hand crank grain mill
- Hand utensils (E.g., butter churn, cheese grater, ladles, measuring cups, measuring spoons, meat tenderizing hammer, potato masher, potato peeler, rolling pin, whisk, etc.)
- Manual can opener
- Tea kettle
- Solar dehydrator
- Solar oven
- Water bath and pressure canning equipment for food preservation
- Wood cook stove
For your tool shed:
- Claw hammer
- Grinding wheel
- Hand drill
- Hand saw
- Pry bar
While pumps are rarely used in modern society, they are absolutely necessary for a variety of industrial and residential settings. You can use a mechanical pump to move water, operate sprayers or siphon other fluids from a variety of vessels or holding tanks.
Depending on where you live and where you get your water, you may or may not be able to depend on tap water.
If the water stops flowing from the tap, having an alternative pumping system to supply your house is necessary post-EMP attack.
You should have a variety of pumps to handle various tasks like watering the garden or giving your livestock fresh water. You can also opt for larger pumps that can move huge volumes and are operated by generators.
Mechanical watches and timers
Some timepieces don’t require electricity to function. Other clocks also depend only on battery power.
After an EMP, you can still use clocks and precise timers for a variety of purposes, especially during a long-term bug-in scenario. Post-SHTF, you can keep track of the time using alarm clocks and wristwatches, and even something simple like a kitchen timer.
However, you may no longer be able to use battery-powered clocks or other timers that can also be plugged into a power outlet after an EMP event since anything connected to the grid will probably be toast.
Most pre-1980 vehicles
If you want to prepare before an EMP event, keep in mind that typical motor vehicles will immediately and probably permanently be unusable after SHTF. This applies to modern cars that are full of computer chips, circuit boards and other delicate electronics.
Fortunately, other vehicles from several decades ago that don’t rely on computers to operate can still get you places after an EMP.
Take note that the cutoff for generally reliable function post-EMP for domestic and foreign vehicles alike is around 1980 or so. If you can to still be able to use your cars after an EMP event, look for older car models.
Did you know that most power tools will work after an EMP?
Even battery-powered tools will still function, as long as you keep several things in mind.
- The tool itself or the batteries must not be directly connected to the power grid when the EMP occurs. The batteries or tool may burn out the electric motor and render them useless.
- Specialized tools that use an electronic control panel or a circuit board for power regulation will probably be useless after an EMP event even if they aren’t connected to the grid.
Aside from these considerations, you can probably keep using electric- or gasoline-operated power tools in the aftermath of an EMP event.
If you are looking for worthy SHTF investments, consider setting up solar panels on your homestead. To supply your household needs, you can get larger solar panels.
Alternatively, you can opt for smaller ones that can be used for charging smaller electronic devices like smartphones or flashlights.
Solar panels themselves are not directly vulnerable to the effects of an EMP, but you have to make sure they aren’t connected to an electrical grid during the event itself.
The worst that will happen to solar panels after an EMP event is a tiny overall loss in efficiency. Make sure the solar array is properly set up so you can keep the electricity flowing post-EMP.
If you want to use solar panels for full-time or supplemental power in the house, take special steps to protect them from the surge of energy caused by an EMP.
Before SHTF, prep for an EMP event by getting tools that will still work post-EMP like manual tools, basic appliances and solar panels.