Here’s How to Prepare for an Electromagnetic Pulse

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How to prepare for an electromagnetic pulse is always a hot topic because there are few certainties when it comes to an EMPOne 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. 


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, secure, and prepared,


Brian Duff

Brian began his preparedness life at the age of three after surviving the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake. Since then, Brian has made a life of responding to emergencies as a firefighter paramedic, conducting special operations as a U.S. Army Ranger, and providing high threat protection to overseas diplomats. Brian holds a bachelor's degree in security management, a master's of business administration, and numerous certifications from the safety, security, and emergency medical industries.


  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

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