If you were at work when an EMP hit, would you be ready? How would you get home? Do you have an office, work in the field, or travel for work? This article examines the difficulties you could face if an EMP hit while you were at work, and covers some of the basic SHTF supplies you should have with you or stashed at work.
Whether you work in a big city or small town, odds are you spend a major portion of your week at work (away from home). If you work at a grocery store or Walmart Super Center, your employer’s shelves may leave you well prepared in the event of an emergency such as an electromagnetic pulse. For the rest, prior preparation is a must.
For the purposes of this article, let’s assume you work as an IT specialist at a small manufacturing facility in a town of about 100,000. Your office is about 15 miles from your home. Suddenly, the lights and computers suddenly go black. You wait for the customary five or so seconds, but the backup generator has not kicked on. A solar flare just caused an EMP that will change the lives of millions, including you. How will you survive?
You are stuck in a cube farm in the basement of your building. You feel around for your $1,000 cell phone to use its flashlight function. You tap furiously at the screen, but it will not come on. While mashing at the buttons, trying to get it to restart, someone yells from a neighboring cubicle, “Can anyone get their cell phone to work? Mine is dead.” A sick feeling settles in the bottom of your stomach. You know this is more than a simple power outage and help will not be arriving any time soon enough to matter.
Once the EMP hits, it will be too late to get prepared. People across the country will be stranded. Government services will not be forth coming. Everything will stop. Have your prepared for such an event?
Workplace Emergency Items
The first thing you’ll need to do is make a mental emergency assessment of your surroundings.
Do you have any items on your person that may aid in survival? What is in, or on, your desk? Do you have a locker? If so, will you be able to open it? What tools do you have access to? Does your workplace have first aid kits, or vending machines you may be able to raid for supplies? What is the demeanor of the people around you? How will you egress in the dark?
Let us examine some of the items it would be beneficial to have available for easy access in an emergency.
- Flashlight (with extra batteries) – This is great for many emergencies, but after an EMP, it could be useless. Plan ahead with a lighter or matches and candle.
- Multitool – The various implements incorporated into a multitool allows you to carry a single small item with a host of potential.
- Pocketknife – Many workplaces have policies regarding weapons. Some even cover items as small as a pocketknife, but I’d still want to have a one available.
- Matches or lighters. These are cheap and easy to store, but could be invaluable in the scenario described above.
- Chemical light sticks – You can get between six and 24 hours of light from a single stick that can be picked up at most any $1 store. This si a no brainer to throw into a desk drawer.
- Firearm – Putting this on the list is a wobbler for me. Yes, I subscribe to 24/7 carry, so I would be very likely to be armed. However, while prepared to face a mob mentality scenario, a firearm would actually be low on my personal list. I do not find it likely that chaos would break out immediately, so I could easily walk 10 miles before the desperation of other set in.
- Batteries – This one is another wobbler. Batteries that are not connected to an electronic/electrical device would likely survive an EMP. However, the devices they would power would likely not survive. I suppose it is better to be over prepared.
- First Aid Kit/IFAK – Injuries are going to happen. People will panic. Whether you are rendering aid or simply carrying the supplies so someone can give you aid, a kit is essential.
You may simply want to get outside, but you may also need to go deep. An EMP might not knock out all cars. You should have an emergency kit in your car—parked on the forth floor of the subterranean parking structure. Make a plan to escape or get to your supplies.
What do you normally keep at your desk? I always have a junk food drawer, because I like to snack. In a SHFT scenario, this is food I would want to pack with me. Living in the Midwest, I keep an extra jacket in my office. Even when the temperature is in the low 20s, I often leave the house without a jacket. I have an attached garage and there is a heated underground garage at work. However, if I ever had to walk home in winter or other severe weather, I would be unprepared without additional clothing. Plan for the worst.
The vending machine won’t be working after an EMP, but after breaking a bit of glass those prepackaged food and drinks would be great emergency supplies. Being prepared requires more than simply your supplies in a bag. Think about your surroundings.
For those who do not live in a metropolis such as New York where most ride the subway, your vehicle is probably your best bet. You should keep emergency supplies in your trunk or the back of your SUV. Therefore, all you’ll likely need to do is transit from your position when the EMP hits to the supplies in your vehicle. Why make two kits when one can serve double duty?
It Is Your Responsibility
Ending the article at this point, I can already hear the scoffs and complaints that there is nothing new here and this article does not cover every situation, scenario, or aspect of survival. I agree. However, it would be impossible. Every person’s work situation is different. Their distance from work to home varies. The strength of an EMP is variable, so the equipment that would work after an EMP and the effort required to resume normal utilities and services would be different. Besides, if believe a 1,000 word article is going to prepare you, perhaps you should study a man named Darwin.
So, what is the purpose of this article? It is not to give you a “feel good” list of 10 items that give you a false sense of preparation because you have a multitool and flashlight. Instead, it is to scratch the surface and get you thinking about your responsibility for your own survival in a SHTF scenario such as an EMP or other emergencies when you are away from home. Good luck!