One of the most common disasters that can possibly befall you is a simple power outage. Nothing worse than a passing storm could knock out power in your neighborhood or community, but larger disasters and true catastrophes could knock out the power grid for weeks or even months at a time.
Something truly apocalyptic like a major EMP event could permanently offline the power grid for the foreseeable future.
The implications of such an event are immense, and it is imperative that every prepper be ready to respond to short-term and long-term power outages alike.
To help you do that, I’m bringing you a list of 16 downloads covering every facet of blackout and EMP preparation for you to add to your survival library.
As reference materials for seasoned preppers or starting guides for beginners, they are excellent. Grab your flashlight and let’s get going.
1. Basics of Electricity, SIEMENS
It is difficult to understand the nature of the threat concerning blackouts of any kind if you don’t understand the fundamentals of electricity.
Only by seeking to understand how it works, how it is created, and how it is supplied to your home or business can you begin to fully conceptualize the nature of our vulnerability.
This handy guide from Siemens can take you from completely uninformed and clueless to competently aware of the physics and nature of electricity in no time.
For some of us, this will be nothing more than a basic review of what we learned in high school, but for others, it is an important first step. Download it for someone else in your family or group if not for yourself. Link.
2. Red Cross Power Outage Checklist
It might seem a little lame to some, but the biggest part of preparation for typical disasters in crises can be distilled down to checklists.
Running through the preps, action items, and ordered responses to various problems can ensure that you and yours are not going to get caught flat-footed by a factor that you forgot to account for once the lights go out.
This checklist from the Red Cross is an excellent version for families, as it helps to cover some very human factors like dealing with pets, elderly and other considerations that you might have missed in your own planning. Read and heed. Download here.
3. Be Prepared for a Power Outage, FEMA
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA to most citizens, has gotten a bad rap for dropping the ball during some particularly high-profile mega-disasters in recent decades.
If we’re being honest we’ve got to hand it to them for the truly immense amount of expert research and theory that they bring to the table when it comes to preparing communities for disaster.
As it turns out, virtually unlimited budgets do indeed confer advantages, and this is definitely true when it comes to FEMA’s guidelines for civil preparation during power outages.
This can serve as a great core for your own specially adapted blackout response plan, both for short and long-term events. Get it right here.
4. Power Outage Action Checklist, Cummins
A simple, straightforward action item checklist for coping with a power outage before and after it starts. This is a good one to print out and put up near your supply stash or your ready room.
A little rehearsal and preparation with your family mean you should be able to run through these items in fairly short order, and then you can be assured that you’ve done everything you need to do. Download here.
5. Guide to Safe Portable Generator Usage, OSHA
Probably one of the most fundamental preps when it comes to coping with a blackout is a simple portable generator.
Being able to make your own electricity, for any purpose, is a blessing indeed but if you are used to dealing with electricity in your home only by flipping switches you’ve got a lot to learn about using a generator.
Not for nothing, improperly handled generators can be dangerous and there’s always the risk of carbon monoxide buildup if they are used in or near enclosed spaces.
You can’t risk that, so it’s in your best interest to learn how to place, set up and run one properly. This OSHA guide will tell you how to do that. Find it here.
6. Generator Load Chart, Master Distributors
Another thing to keep in mind when running a portable generator is the fact that they don’t supply unlimited electricity. Far from it, in fact.
Your generator can only provide enough power for so many devices and lights in your home depending on its rating, and understanding the interaction between the load placed on the generator and the requirements for sustaining that output is important for success.
This simple generator load chart can provide an easy reference if you need to figure out exactly what a given generator is capable of, and it will allow you to approximate the consumption of common devices. Link.
7. Consumer Guide to Rooftop Solar Potential, U.S. DOE
For many preppers, generators are only part of the off-grid power equation. For some, privately owned solar panels are just the ticket for coping with blackout conditions.
So long as it is daytime, you have clear skies, and a properly set up system modern solar cells can provide abundant, quiet energy.
Although it is true that any place which has line of sight to the sun can make use of solar, some areas are far more suited to park or full-time use of this technology than others.
This handy guide from the United States Department of Energy will help you figure out if it is a viable option for you or not. Download.
8. Own Your Power! A Guide to At-Home Solar Energy, U.S. DOE.
Knowing that your home is solar capable or optimally placed to make use of solar power is one thing, but actually implementing it and setting up the system is another thing entirely.
Although it is reasonably within the reach of a DIY-inclined prepper, this is not something you should attempt without a certain amount of specialized knowledge and a plan for maximizing the return on your investment.
Another guide from the US Department of Energy, this guide will tell you everything you need to know when it comes to selecting, siting, setting up, and running your own at-home solar power system.
The good news is that the techniques and principles presented in this guide are highly adaptable, and you can use whichever techniques and approaches are best for your specific property and goals. Grab it here.
9. Life Without Electricity: Storm-Induced Blackouts and Implications for EMP Attack, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry
As I mentioned above, a truly catastrophic EMP event whether it is nuclear or natural is seen by many as the ultimate blackout-related disaster, capable of offlining the power grid for many months.
But history, including recent history, has already shown that an EMP is not the only thing that can completely destroy the grid.
Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other entirely mundane disasters are more than capable of doing the same.
This fascinating and highly detailed report from Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, one of the foremost authorities on the subject, will show you in harrowing clarity just how bad the consequences of a long-term total grid-down scenario can be.
Let the historical accounts presented here in form and motivate your own preparations. Complete download is here.
10. Electromagnetic Pulse Basic Fact Sheet, Washington State Dept. of Health
You’ve heard of an EMP before, surely, and I’ve mentioned it several times throughout this article already.
But do you really know what it is? Do you really know what it does? It’s okay if you don’t, everyone started somewhere.
In the interest of making sure that you know exactly what you are dealing with you should check out this simple but very excellent fact sheet from the Washington State Department of Health.
In it, the creators spell out in plain language precisely what an EMP is, what it will do, and what you can expect in the aftermath.
If you need to wrap your mind around what an EMP is, make this your first stop before moving on to other downloads on this list when it comes to EMP protection. Download it here.
11. Effects of and Responses to Electromagnetic Pulses, Center for Homeland Defense and Security
Starting a little more than a decade ago, the threat of a major EMP started to worm its way into the public consciousness and also into the minds of our elected officials.
Experts were brought in, studies were funded, think tanks were founded and agencies were bent toward the problem, both its scope and its possible ramifications.
Regrettably, what they discovered and determined was not good: the US is extraordinarily vulnerable to the effects of nuclear or non-nuclear EMP attacks, and highly vulnerable to a sufficiently powerful natural EMP caused by solar phenomena or other cosmic events.
Nonetheless, the titanic task of rectifying our many vulnerabilities is underway. You can learn more about how the government is trying to protect you from such an outcome in this summary. Find it here.
12. Blackout Warfare: Cyber-attacking Electric Power Grids, Dr. Edward M. Roche
Major blackouts are serious business with horrible consequences, and the consequences of a powerful EMP can be even worse.
But, like most things, it turns out that the most likely occurrence could be somewhere between these two poles in the form of a total grid-down blackout that is brought on by a cyber attack initiated by a hostile nation or rogue group.
I know this list seems to be full of nothing but bad news, but our tottering infrastructure and aging, out-of-date technologies that control it are once again disproportionately vulnerable to attack.
A very literal domino effect from such a thing could knock out power to multiple regions or even half the nation. This report will show you just how bad it really is. Get it.
13. EMP Protection and Resilience Guidelines, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
By now, you might have already learned just how bad EMPs can really be. In fact, they are something of a total disaster and there is very little that can be done to protect society from them as a whole.
That being said, there are always things that you can do to increase the chance that your gear will not be destroyed or permanently offline by the effects of an EMP.
You can learn a lot from this publication presented by the cybersecurity and infrastructure Security agency concerning EMP protection and resilience.
By learning how the pros will strive to protect their own systems from an emp’s effects you can be better informed about how to protect yours.
Whether you have a precious few minutes of notice to implement countermeasures or if you just want to try and harden your systems against the worst of the damage, these guidelines can tell you how. Download here.
14. DHS Strategy for Preparing and Protecting the Homeland from EMP Threats, Dept. of Homeland Security
One of the more recent public publications outlining the Department of Homeland Security’s strategy for preparing and protecting America against modern EMP threats.
It’s somewhat dry reading, but it is informative when you look at the scale of the problem and the potential consequences. Link here.
15. Nuclear EMP Attack Scenarios and Combined Arms Cyber Warfare, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry
You should keep in mind that power getting knocked out during a time of war, or even the simmering hostilities that lead to war, is not just symptomatic of the proceedings.
It is likely a major strategic objective for the opposition!
By knocking out power, everything that a nation does is made more difficult, more costly, and less efficient, and the pressure this place is on a populace will directly affect that nation’s will to fight.
We know this, our enemies know this, pretty much every would-be belligerent knows this. Cutting the power and keeping it off will go a long way to winning the fight.
Accordingly, during a time of real war, it is all but completely certain that much of the power in the country will go off as a result of EMP attacks and cyber attacks.
There is little hope of withstanding such an assault. Once again, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry will tell you everything in this report. Download it right here.
16. Implementing an Effective Faraday Cage, Adam McHale
Believe it or not, it is possible to implement meaningful protection for your devices and gadgets that are vulnerable to the effects of an emp, and any kind of EMP.
Known as a Faraday cage, these conductive enclosures can serve to block and redirect the destructive emanations of an EMP before they interact with the vulnerable components in our technology.
This isn’t going to help protect a power grid or a whole home, for instance, but it’s totally possible to make your own Faraday cage for personal electronics, computers, radios, and other gear. This guide will show you how to make a basic but effective one. Find it here.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.