Here’s How to Prepare for an Electromagnetic Pulse

Learn how to prepare for an electromagnetic pulse

One of the most polarizing topics in the preparedness community is how to prepare for an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

How to prepare for an EMP is always a hot topic because there are few certainties when it comes to an electromagnetic pulse. One EMP-related certainty is that projections of their disastrous effects vary. Another EMP certainty is that government reports estimate upwards of 90 percent of the population could perish following a large-scale EMP. 

It’s the potentially devastating effects of an EMP that mandate responsible people consider the question of how to prepare for an electromagnetic pulse. 

What is an Electromagnetic Pulse? 

For those new to preparedness, an EMP is a sudden burst of electromagnetic (EM) energy. EMPs can be either human-made or naturally occurring. 

The human-made version of an electromagnetic pulse happens as a result of a nuclear detonation. Likewise, the naturally occurring form of an EMP occurs due to a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the sun. 

History shows us that EMPs can potentially cause massive damage to the power grid, communications networks, and electronic-based devices. These destructive results of an EMP attack should be particularly concerning to anyone interested in their preparedness. 

The concern for an EMP’s after-effects arises because today’s society has become so reliant on electronics for its day-to-day function. As a result, any large-scale disruption to the electronic-based infrastructure and personal items will be a massive shock to us as individuals and as a society. 

How to Prepare for an Electromagnetic Pulse?

Preparing for an EMP requires planning for the fundamentals of life. While a society-wide disruption due to an electromagnetic pulse may be unlikely, it is nevertheless possible. 

Therefore, you must pay attention to what life will be like without electricity. That means you must consider what life will be like without running water, refrigeration, vehicles, supermarkets, air conditioning, heat, etc. 

Food and Water

An electromagnetic pulse could impact the flow and storage of food, water, and other life-sustaining resources. Therefore, preparing to be self-sufficient with food and water for as long as possible should be considered. 

Because of the possible inability to refrigerate food, you should make storing shelf-stable, long-term storage food. Cereals, rice, and dry beans do well, as do canned food items. 

Even better are food items that come freeze-dried or otherwise prepared to last for long periods. If stored properly, some long-term storage foods can last over twenty years.

Water, like food, is necessary for life. Without water, the average person will die within three days. 

In the event of an EMP, water treatment plants and distribution networks may struggle. As such, part of your planning must focus on water. That planning includes the ability to gather, purify, and store water.

 Stored properly, two way radios are a great way to communicate after an EMP


Communications are an essential consideration when deciding how to prepare for an electromagnetic pulse. Following an EMP, the internet, phones, and power grid may all cease to function. Therefore, you must have an emergency communication plan. 

An emergency communication plan will allow you to communicate with others. It’s communication with others that helps provide improved situational awareness. Likewise, improving your situational awareness will enable you to make more well-informed and effective decisions. 

Many preparedness-minded people advocate for learning how to use a two-way radio. Should you follow this advice, make sure to protect the radio from the effects of an EMP. You can achieve this protection by storing your radio and other essential electronics in a Faraday bag.

Faraday Cage

A Faraday cage is a metal cage or box designed to prevent EMP-type damage to electronics. English scientist Michael Faraday first invented it. There are many available on the market. However, with some internet research, know-how, and effort, you can build your own Faraday bag.

Manual Tools

Whether it’s a drill, a saw, or a can opener, most of today’s tools are electric. In the case of an EMP, basic things like opening cans could become a struggle. Therefore, as a preparedness measure, you should have necessary, non-electric tools ready for use. These tools should cover the most critical tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, and maintenance.


The best way to prepare for an EMP is to ensure that you account for your essential needs first. Think of the things that you would need in the event of an emergency. Then create a list of those needs. 

Of course, there will be other unforeseen emergencies, but you will be better off having your necessities set to go. While luxury items are excellent, don’t over-think the issue. Focus on your long-term survival needs first, and your creature comforts and wants second. 

The Bottom Line of How to Prepare for an Electromagnetic Pulse.

Outside of the potential for mass devastation, little is known or guaranteed with EMPs. What is guaranteed is that if the worst happens, you need to be ready for it. If not, you may suffer as a result. 

In the end, the answer to the question of how to prepare for an electromagnetic pulse is simple. You prepare for an EMP by first focusing on the most likely impacts of an electromagnetic pulse. Those fundamentals of preparedness include water, food, communications, and any electric-based necessities. 

Lastly, while EMPs can be a scary thought, don’t let the remote chance of one occurring make you fearful. Instead, use it to motivate you to become more safe, confident, and ready to face any adversity that may come your way. 


Stay safe,


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Brian Duff

Brian's preparedness career began at sixteen and included professional roles as a lifeguard, firefighter, paramedic, Special Operations team leader with the 3rd Ranger Battalion, Diplomatic Protection Specialist, and international security director. He's managed medical clinics in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, provided high-threat diplomatic protection in Iraq and Pakistan, advised a rebel army in Africa, oversaw U.S. embassy security in Baghdad, and directed a premiere tactical medicine training facility. Brian is an expert in Security, Crisis Management, and Preparedness Mindset and hosts the Mind4Survival podcast. He holds a bachelor's degree in Security Management and an MBA in Information Technology Management.

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  1. tom on May 31, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Great article. Informative without scare tactics.

    It’s my belief that a naturally occurring disaster is more likely to strike. And pretty much everything in this blog post is relevant to that scenario.

    • Brian Duff on August 2, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      Tom, Thanks for the feedback! It is much appreciated. Best of luck with your site,! I can’t wait to see what the new site will look like. I’m hearing it’s going to be awesome! Stay safe, secure and prepared! ~Brian

      • Jeanne Geib on July 25, 2021 at 7:15 am

        Great article! Rather than EMP I fear a cyber attack is more likely but with essentially the same results. Where it comes to the communication situation I not personally sure I care! I really wish we could go back to the era before TV and other electronics ( actually not really) when the whole neighborhood sat on their front porch and talked like the telephone game. One person would tell their neighbor a bit of news and it would be passed from porch to porch up and down the block. Everybody knew everybody!

  2. Annie St. Francis on July 26, 2021 at 11:22 am

    Very good and timely article. It’s our belief that if you are prepared for an EMP, you’re basically prepared for anything.

    • Brian Duff on July 27, 2021 at 11:09 am

      Annie, thanks for your comment. I agree that people who prepare for an EMP/CME are probably better prepared than the average person. STay safe! ~Brian

  3. Murphy on August 18, 2021 at 3:49 am

    Some trucker friends suggest CB radios for communicating? Have 2 or more w/antennas put aside in a faraday box or bag.
    If possible store one in each vehicle, so if a family is stranded apart there is a chance to get in touch. 2 way hand held are optional

    • Brian Duff on August 24, 2021 at 11:25 pm

      That’s great advice! Thanks!

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