No Cell, No Car, and No Communication; What to do After an EMP


It’s a day like any other.

Maybe you are at work and all of the sudden a power outage turns off the lights and computers. You wait around in desk chair for it to pop back on or for someone to come around and give you a sit rep on what is happening.

In the meantime, you figure, why not check social media or maybe the shipping status of a purchase. You reach over and grab your cell phone which is charging on the company computer. You flip it over and turn on the screen, but you get only darkness. You press the button again and the screen stays dark. Then you hold the button in order to restart the phone, but nothing happens.

Now the power is out, and your phone is dead. Wonderful day at work!

Soon after your boss approaches you to give some status on the power outage. She isn’t sure what caused it, but no cell phones are working either. In fact, the office has lost all ability to communicate or receive communications.

Employees start to leave and those that stay are getting scared. You head out yourself only to find that your car, along with your phone is dead as well.

After an EMP, many cars built before 1975 may not work due to fried electronics

These are the signs and symptoms of an EMP or electro magnetic pulse. These can be induced by nuclear weapons detonated high in the atmosphere or by a burst of energy coming from the sun. It’s a terrifying situation indeed! So, the big question is:

What happens next?

5 Minutes After

The shocking realization that most people will have is the fact that the power is affected, phones are affected, all communications are down and even your mode of transportation is out of operation. This means you are essentially stranded in a vacuum.

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EMP’s will likely knock out communication devices such as cell phones

Now is the time to act. For most people, they will be in shock. The idea that all electronics have been compromised will take time to wash over them. In that time, before things get crazy, you can make your way home. Your first step, if you aren’t at home, is to get there by using your get home bag. We have a great article on the get home bag HERE.

  • Take advantage of the time before panic
  • Use a get home bag to move to your next phase of planning
  • Avoid people and get home ASAP

Once home you will have the ability to think more clearly and plan your next move. Depending on where home is will dictate what your next move is. Highly urbanized areas will become dangerous fast. Your opportunity to leave these areas will shrink the longer you wait.

5 Hours After

Within 5 hours you should have made it home by foot. Now that you are home you will not be greeted with much relief. Remember, with the electricity goes your heat, air conditioning and refrigeration. You will be entering a new world, a new way of life.

Most estimates state that it would take about 4 years to fully recover from a powerful EMP.

You might need some time to process all that has happened and how much that change is going to affect you. Just be ware, by now most people are going to understand that life has changed forever as well. This means good people and bad ones. People will be hungry for answers and that is what they will be looking for.

The time to run an inventory on your items and possibly pack a bag to leave your home is now. From this moment on it will be important that you stay several steps ahead of the game.

Oh yea, you might not want to drink the tap water either. Those machines that filter our water will also be shutdown and eventually the taps should run dry. Before then, however, contaminated water will flow from the spigot. Either sanitize that water or don’t drink it at all.

5 Days After

After 5 days most people are going to be out of food and water. Most people live by the rule of 9 meals away from anarchy. That means that most people have 9 meals stored up in their home. After that they are going to be out of food.

You need to understand that gravity of that statement. They will likely be out of water and food. There will not be any shipments coming to your town either. There will be no vehicles to deliver those shipments. That means you will be surrounded by desperate people who know there is no help coming.

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Store shelves will run dry without the delivery of inventory

The transition from 21st century Americans back to 19th Century Americans will be happening at a destructive and rapid pace.

  • Keep good storage on hand
  • Water filtration and purification methods
  • Medications and first aid kits
  • Prepare the home and neighborhood for defense
  • Open lines of communication with neighbors if you plan on staying

There will be no communication with the outside world but for those who bike to the next locality and hopefully they aren’t met with a hostile presence and their bike stolen. After 5 days the new world will start to take shape.

5 Weeks After

The world has changed drastically. By this point the urban areas have erupted into chaos. There are no resources to feed people. There are no medicines left to treat people. A little over a month, the trash and waste has begun to pile up everywhere and the world you once knew is looking much different.

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The pests. Rats, roaches and other pests are everywhere. Its in this moment that you start to realize the importance of hygiene and sanitation now that the world is upside down.

  • Trash Bags
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Bleach
  • Towels
  • Cleaning Tools

These items are as valuable as gold now because they allow you to keep a clean and pest free home. Waste and pests can kill you just as quickly as dangerous people. Remember there will be no doctors or meds unless you store them.

The violence is also out of control in this new world. With the vacuum of leadership and the constant rumors of what is happening outside your city, people are going crazy. The looting, rape and senseless violence seem unending. Home security has become your new career.

Experts say that nearly 90% of the American population would die after the first year of a full scale, grid down EMP.


The EMP can be delivered from an opposing nation or the sun itself. We have seen the effects of the sun’s power before. The Carrington Event of 1859 shut down telegraph lines and lit the night sky up like it was daytime. There was also another mass ejection from the sun in 2012 that crossed our path but missed the planet by a few days.

These things happen. Its just a matter of all the things lining up just right. Will we see that happen in our lifetime? Well, who knows!?

One thing is for sure. You must be prepared to jump into a life of self sufficiency and to get away from highly populated areas as quickly as possible.

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