In a world where it seems like disaster is looming around every corner, it is tough to know what to expect and prepare for. Preppers are some of the savviest, most informed people out there. They get a bad reputation for being paranoid or are called Doomsdayers or conspiracy theorists. In reality, preppers are aware. They don’t have their heads in the sand. They want to be ready for anything at any time.
One of the scenarios preppers should be preparing for, and one I cover extensively in my fictional book ‘Dark Retreat’, is (you guessed it!) an EMP. An electromagnetic pulse is not something you hear about everyday, but you should. An EMP can cripple a country. It can destroy every nation. If an EMP were to strike in the U.S., it would not only disrupt the country, but the entire world would feel the ripple effects.
An EMP would shut down communications, transportation systems, interrupt the food supply chain and wreak havoc in general. Life as we know it would be gone for good. The power grid would fail, the water supply would fail. It is hard to imagine not being able to turn on a light or get a glass of water from the tap, but it will happen. You won’t be able to call the police for help or run to the hospital when you are sick or injured.
An EMP can be the result of a solar flare, a nuclear weapon being detonated, a weapon designed specifically to create a massive EMP or even a lightning strike. The flash would create millions of charged particles in the air. These particles would create a massive power influx that basically shorts out anything electrical. Including the tiny computers that run our vehicles.
Fortunately, the EMP itself isn’t harmful, but it’s the after effects that will put your life in jeopardy. How could you possibly survive after a massive EMP? This is the exact question I’ve been exploring in Dark Retreat. Here are my top 5 tips that will give you the best odds of survival.
- Prepare now. That means you get a stockpile of food and water built up. BUT, it needs to be hidden, cached. This is something the Morris family did, which gives them a huge advantage in the post-EMP world. You also need to know how to defend your stockpile. Learning how to grow a garden and raise livestock so you have a sustainable food source. Life isn’t going to go back to the way it was. You have to be ready to accept the new reality. That means stockpiling things like toilet paper, heirloom seeds, personal hygiene items and so on. The Morris family prepared for years and are in a position to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, they encounter people who were not prepared and have to make some tough decisions regarding protecting their own or helping out a stranger.
- Build a Faraday cage to protect some of your electronics. Things like 2-way radios, HAM radios and even a few flashlights. A Faraday cage is basically a box lined with aluminum foil. A small metal file cabinet, a metal trash can or a large tin can lined with cardboard can all be used as a Faraday cage. A quick internet search will show you some of the many options you have. A world without a communications system is going to be a huge adjustment.
- Bartering will take the place of cash. You will get an idea of the value of things we take for granted today, like socks, shampoo and coffee in the story of the Morris clan. It is the little things that count and these are the things you will want to trade other goods and services to get. Bartering can be tricky and it is up to you and the person you are trading with to determine value. Stockpiling little, inexpensive things like candy, salt and etc…can make you a wealthy person in a world where bartering is the only option.
- If you are in an urban survival situation, you will eventually need to get out of town. Be prepared to bug out. Going back to number 1 on the list, your hidden caches should be along the way or at a designated area you will be retreating to. Get to an area that has the land you need to grow food and raise animals. The Morris family had the luxury of picking the perfect piece of land, high up in the mountains with plenty of natural resources, like a stream on the land, wild animals for hunting and few human inhabitants. Banks are going to be a thing of the past. Think of life as the Wild Wild West. Land ownership and mortgages are not going to matter. If there is open land, stake your claim and build your homestead. Choosing wisely, like the Morris clan, is important. Their home was built with a large hill behind that served as a windblock as well as provided an easily defended space.
- You need to learn old-fashioned skills like sewing, leather-working, building with non-electric tools and so on. You will not have electricity or the ability to hire a tradesman. It is all on you. Learn about natural medicine and how to treat ailments and minor injuries. The Morris family matriarch happens to be well-versed in natural healing methods, which comes in handy when a little girl becomes extremely ill. Knowing how to use plants and herbs to cure ailments will be the answer to the absence of Western medicine. It will all be very hands-on and very similar to the Pioneer Days.
It is hard to imagine life after a massive EMP, but you can get an idea about what it would be like in the fictional tale that follows single mom, Megan Wolford. You will get to walk in her shoes as she navigates life after an EMP destroys the world as she knew it. She must learn to survive without electricity or grocery stores. She’s extremely self-reliant and hates depending on others, but when her precious daughter becomes ill, she’ll be forced to join a prepper family.
Her story will take you through some of the scenarios that are likely to occur after the country is plunged into darkness. There are highs and lows and through it all, Megan must do what she can to keep her daughter alive. That means she will have to learn to trust others while protecting her daughter from people who are desperate for basic needs.
She must make the decision to join a group and hope they are who they say they are or go it alone. Through Megan, you will get to experience what life will be like and essentially learn from her mistakes and her experiences.
Grace Hamilton’s Bio
Grace Hamilton is the prepper pen-name for a bad-ass, survivalist momma-bear of four kids, and wife to a wonderful husband. After being stuck in a mountain cabin for six days following a flash flood, she decided she never wanted to feel so powerless or have to send her kids to bed hungry again. Now she lives the prepper lifestyle and knows that if SHTF or TEOTWAWKI happens, she’ll be ready to help protect and provide for her family.
Combine this survivalist mentality with a vivid imagination (as well as a slightly unhealthy day dreaming habit) and you get a prepper fiction author. Grace spends her days thinking about the worst possible survival situations that a person could be thrown into, then throwing her characters into these nightmares while trying to figure out “What SHOULD you do in this situation?”
It’s her wish that through her characters, you will get to experience what life will be like and essentially learn from their mistakes and experiences so that you too can survive!