An EMP (electromagnetic pulse) has the potential to be a serious problem because it could completely knock out electricity, on which the vast majority of humans in today’s world depend. While the obvious things such as lights and computers come to mind, other things that are likely to be affected include internet, cell phones, water (due to electronically powered pumps), and life support in hospitals.
It is not known how long-term such damage would turn out to be, so having some items available that are not dependent on electricity can be a definite advantage if such a disaster were to happen. Stockpiling a reasonable amount of some particular items can increase your chances of long-term survival.
Clothing and Blankets
There is always a need for coverings. In cooler areas, warm clothing and blankets are necessary. Sleeping bags may be a better choice in places where it gets very cold, as many are made to be able to keep the user warm in even negative temperatures. Having appropriate clothing available is important for comfort when there is no electricity to warm or cool the air to a comfortable temperature.
While e-readers can hold a large quantity of books, they do depend on power. To have entertainment and information in the case of an extended power outage, paper books are the best option. Along with a few enjoyable novels, it is wise to include all or some of the following in your bookshelf:
- First aid and medical how-to books,
- Gardening, growing food, and foraging,
- Home maintenance and repairs,
- Philosophy and religion,
- Prepping and survival, and
Weapons and Ammunition
When things go crazy in the world, many people do, too. If you have followed the suggestions for getting prepared for a disaster, other people may be interested in taking advantage of your stockpile. This could result in it being necessary to defend yourself, your family, and your belongings.
It can also be possible that hunting may be required to survive. If food stores get low and commercial food provisions are no longer available, then wildlife may need to become a food source.
The most important part about having a stockpile of weapons and ammunition is knowing how to use them. If you do gather ammunition and one or more firearms, be sure to learn how to use the weapon appropriately.
Also, while most people think of firearms when speaking of weapons, a good, sharp knife can be just as much a tool for defense and hunting, and is definitely necessary to prepare any hunted food for consumption, so be sure there is at least one good knife in the stockpile.
Getting up at dawn and going to bed at sunset may have been the best way to do things in the pre-electricity days, but it is no longer the common schedule. Also, indoor areas generally get dark before outdoor areas. Because of this, some way to provide light is necessary. Candles and matches (preferably the type that can be struck anywhere and are water resistant, or in a water-resistant container) are a good option. A wind-up flashlight is another option. A battery-powered or propane lantern may work, but these require extra batteries or fuel to be stored, as well.
Keeping money in the bank and using debit cards may be extremely convenient, but if there is no electricity, there will be no way to use a card to purchase things. Having some cash available may be the only way to purchase things in the case of an EMP disaster.
If you have weeks’ worth of food, but it will rot and become inedible, it is useless. Canned goods (and a can opener!), dry goods such as flour, rice, and beans stored in airtight containers, shelf-stable items such as peanut butter, and similar things will last for quite some time and do not require electricity to stay good like things that are normally kept in the freezer or refrigerator.
Fire Starting Tools
Matches may get damp, and lighters will eventually run out of fuel, so having a lot of these are a good idea, but also include a flint and steel or other manual firestarters. Practice using the flint and steel so that it will be easier to use if it becomes necessary. A packet of kindling such as dryer lint or small twigs can also be helpful.
Medications and First Aid
For those who take prescription medications, having a supply of these can make a huge difference. If there is any way to have an extra 2-4 weeks’ worth of medication, using the oldest first, of course, then this is a wise move.
First aid, including pain relievers, bandages, ointment, and supplements, should be kept in a container that is easy to grab and go, if needed. It is best if the container is airtight and watertight, as well.
Deodorant, dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, lip balm, manual razors, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, baking soda, vinegar – these are all good personal hygiene items to stock up on in case of a disaster. Electric razors will obviously not be usable, so having manual razors will be necessary if one desires to shave.
A portable stove will be useful as long as fuel is available. Once fuel is no longer available, a rack to go over a campfire and a tripod to hold a cooking pot will be good things to have. Cooking pots that will work on either type of heat and a percolator for making coffee (or just heating water) over a fire, as well as plates, bowls, and utensils, should be kept together in a tote or backpack, if possible.
Any tools that are not reliant on electricity will be useful. These include hammers, hatchets, knives, nails and screws, screwdrivers and wrenches, saws and picks, and other manual tools.
Water and Purifiers
Water moves through the pipes of many cities using electric-powered pumps. Many homes that get their water from wells also use electricity to power their pumps. Because of this, access to clean water may be limited if electricity is not available. Having a storage of water is very important. If a lot of water is stored, it is very important to use the oldest water and store fresh water regularly.
It may be possible to catch rainwater, but rain can be scarce in some areas or at some times of the year.
A way to purify water if needed is essential. A good filter can be of assistance, although it is important to remember that filters have a limit, as well, and reach a point where they no longer filter effectively. Multiple filters can last longer; however, knowing how to clean water is best.
People have become very dependent on GPS. However, if electricity is not active, then a GPS is not going to be helpful. Having paper maps and knowing how to use them is very important if one needs to travel when there is no power.
Fuel and Transportation
Some vehicles are resistant to EMPs and therefore will continue to run even after an EMP happens. However, fuel may not be available. Most fuel pumps are powered by electricity. Once the fuel in the tank is gone, the vehicle is a ton of useless metal. Alternate transportation such as a bicycle would be good to have on hand, since a bicycle is human-powered rather than dependent on fuel.