2019's Radioflash, a movie about survival after an electromagnetic pulse kills power to more than 200 million people in the Western U.S., is looking like a film ahead of its time these days.
The 2-minute trailer is not only a powerful reminder of how quickly society can descend into darkness and chaos, but it also provides important survival lessons all of us should keep in mind should disaster strike. In fact, our team at My Patriot Supply found 20 survival lessons that you and your family should take to heart so you’re prepared for the worst-case scenario.
Before we dive into the 20 lessons we spotted, let’s first cover what an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is. An EMP is a short burst of electromagnetic energy. The origin of the pulse can be manmade, such as a nuclear weapon, or a natural event from a solar flare or lightning bolt. Depending on the energy levels, EMPs can simply disrupt electronics for a short period of time, cause damage to buildings and planes, or even wipe out entire electrical grids.
The chance of an EMP happening is very real. If the energy levels are high, a fallout from an EMP would be catastrophic considering how much of society relies on electricity. It would affect our communication and way of life, and could send us into the dark ages.
Take a minute to watch the trailer below, and then check out the 20 survival lessons we spotted.
#1 EMP-proof valuable electronic assets
Should an EMP happen, anything with a chip in it is at risk of getting fried. Keep electronics you aren’t using unplugged--even if you’re using a surge protector, you need to unplug it from the power source. You’ll also need to remove batteries from portable devices when you aren’t using them. Unplugging your electronics doesn’t protect them 100% should an EMP occur. The best way to protect your electronics from being damaged is to invest in a Faraday Cage or Bag. Basically, it’s a metal container that blocks electromagnetic fields. You can buy one like the Waterproof Faraday Cage Bag or make one yourself using a metal box or container and insulating your electronics with something nonconductive, such as styrofoam. It’s difficult to protect electronics in a Faraday Cage when you’re using them, but you can store older cell phones, computers, tablets, a Ham radio, solar charge controllers if you have solar panels, and any medical electronics.
#2 Always keep your vehicle topped off with gas
A good rule is to never let your gas tank drop below half full. This way, should a disaster strike--whether an EMP takes out the grid or a hurricane cuts off gas supply for a week--you’ll have gas on hand to bug out. Also, should temperatures drop and you need a source of heat, you can always hop in your car to warm up for a bit.
#3 Keep extra fuel stored
If your county allows it, store extra gasoline in an approved can or tank. For safety reasons, The National Fire Protection Association proposes a storage limit of 25 gallons. Laws on how much gasoline you can stockpile differ from area to area, so check with your local fire department about local fire codes before you stock up. If you do store gasoline, make sure it’s in a tightly sealed container somewhere safe and out of sight (the last thing you want is your neighbors coming for it should disaster occur). Also, store gas at room temperature, away from potential heat sources such as the sun, a hot water heater, a space heater, or a furnace. To play it safe, don’t keep gasoline for more than a year and use a fuel stabilizer.
#4 Have methods for hunting
If things really got bad, such as an EMP causing a blackout on a nationwide scale, you’re going to have to get creative with your food. If supply chains are cut, there’s only so long you’ll be able to live on your stockpiled food. A bow and arrow, a rifle, or even having the materials to make a snare will enable you to feed yourself. Also, having a fishing pole and lures means you can fish for food.
#5 Have methods for self-defense
Civil unrest occurs frequently after a disaster. If you find yourself running from or having to face desperate people who want your supplies or your food, you need to be able to protect yourself. Pepper spray, wasp spray, bean bag guns, and tasers are good nonlethal weapons you should have in your survival stockpile. Having a firearm and ammunition is also a good idea to protect yourself--and to hunt for food if necessary.
#6 Keep batteries on hand
Batteries come in very handy for both short-term and long-term survival situations. Not only can they power radios, flashlights, and other items that can save your life, but you can also use them to start a fire, should you not have lighters or matches. We recommend using lithium batteries over alkaline because they don’t leak, they have a long shelf life, they produce more power for a longer period of time, and they work better in extreme temperatures. The only downside is that they only come in AAA, AA and 9 volt sizes. If it’s a long-term survival situation, you’ll need to invest in something more significant, like a top-notch solar generator.
#7 Think outside the box
Thinking outside the box is one of the best skills you can have when a disaster occurs. While you can plan all you want, you must be prepared for the unknown. Being creative with solutions, improvising, and thinking quickly will help you stay or get out of trouble. Practice your emergency plan. Turn off the power to your home for two complete days, and you’ll quickly learn a few things and develop ways to improvise.
#8 Have methods of communicating
As we see in the Radioflash trailer, the teenage girl is able to communicate with her grandfather, who warns her to get out now. Should you not have access to a cell phone or landline in the aftermath of a disaster (or cell towers go down), you need a way to communicate with family or authorities. If you have a ham radio, not only can you communicate, but you can also listen to what’s going on with the weather, emergency services, etc. When regular communications go down, knowing what’s coming your way or what you’re headed toward can save your life. CB radios and short-range radios like walkie-talkies can also help you communicate and stay informed.
#9 Keep extra food on hand
When electricity goes out for an extended period of time, fresh food will rot fast. Supply chains break down, chaos ensues, and people get violent fighting for food. If you’re not prepared, you and your family could starve or be forced to search for food. Should disaster strike, having enough nonperishable foods such as canned soups, granola, rice, and canned and pickled fruits and veggies will make life easier. Stocking up on an emergency supply of nonperishable foods will ensure you’re getting enough calories, and you can easily take them with you should you need to bug out.
#10 Keep extra water on hand
We can only live without water for 3 - 4 days. Whether an EMP, earthquake, or poor government policies shut off electricity, your chances of survival depend on access to clean water. It’s important to stockpile purified water at home. As we saw in Venezuela earlier this year, many people were forced to fill water bottles at heavily polluted springs and rivers. Having water purification solutions, such as germicidal tablets, personal water filtration systems, or the gravity-powered Alexapure Pro Water Filtration System means you’ll be able to drink clean water and not run the risk of getting ill or dying from dirty water.
#11 With sudden loss of water, use the toilet reservoir
If you need water should the pumps stop working, use the water from the back of the toilet. If you need it to fill up a water bottle or use it for drinking, make sure to purify it with something like the Alexapure Go Water Filtration Bottle or germicidal tablets. You can also use water from the toilet reservoir for cooking or to wash a few clothes. Whatever you do, make sure to conserve the water.
#12 Know where to go if forced to bug out
If you live in an urban area and it becomes unsafe to stay, you need to know ahead of time where you’re going to go. Even if you live in a more rural area, you may need to bug out to keep your family safe from civil unrest and desperate people searching for food and water. Will you seek safety in the mountains with family like the father and daughter in the Radioflash trailer? Do you have family members that are self-sufficient living in a secluded location? Own a cabin in the woods that’s near a water source? Don’t wait until disaster strikes and panic sets in to come up with a game plan. Decide now where you are going to go should you have to flee.
#13 Act quickly and decisively according to plan
If you have a solid plan in place before a disaster, all you need to do is follow the plan. However, it’s not always that simple unless you have a plan for it. Know in advance what you will do if disaster strikes during the workday and your family is separated or if you and other family members cannot meet and bug out together. Having a plan will help you keep a cool head and help you act quickly. Every moment spent in indecision counts after a disaster, especially one where civil unrest occurs immediately after.
#14 Have a go-bag already packed
You never know how quickly you’ll have to bug out after a disaster. The last thing you want to be doing when you need to get out fast is to be searching around your home for key survival items. Have a go-bag already packed and in a place that’s easily accessible should you need to evacuate after a disaster. What goes in your go-bag depends on how many family members you are packing for, health issues in your family, and the conditions of the area where you live. However, as a rule of thumb, every go-bag should include…
- Water bottles.
- Water purification system or purification tabs.
- A tarp and tent.
- Emergency blankets and sleeping bags.
- Fire starters.
- First aid kit.
- Personal hygiene items like baby wipes and feminine products.
- Paper maps.
- Gloves, hats, raincoat.
- Change of clothes.
- Self-defense items such as pepper spray.
- Extra batteries.
- Important documents.
#15 Avoid main roads when bugging out
Even if your car has fuel, navigating city streets or main highways can be risky due to failed traffic lights, long lines to get out of town, or violent crowds blocking your way. Avoid main roads whenever possible. Before disaster strikes, know all sideroads out of town so if you’re forced to turn back on one street, you have other options.
#16 Memorize alternate routes to your destination
Depending on the type of disaster, there could be downed trees and powerlines, closed bridges, or angry mobs blocking the streets. Memorizing alternate routes beforehand can save your life should you have to bug out. Make sure to avoid large cities and major bridges when planning out alternative routes. Even if you have to go an hour out of your way, staying safe should be your #1 priority.
#17 Keep paper maps in case of loss of GPS
If your cell phone runs out of battery and you can’t charge it, your phone isn’t with you, or you’re in the middle of nowhere where GPS doesn’t work, you’ll be glad you have paper maps to guide you and your family to safety. Even if you have a phone and are able to charge it via a solar-powered charger, and your GPS is working, oftentimes it’s not accurate in remote areas. We recommend you have paper maps in your go-bag, as well as a compass. Also, make sure everyone in your family is able to read a map so you can drive while someone else navigates.
#18 Wear good walking shoes
Should you not be able to bug out via car because your car runs out of gas, roads are impassable or too dangerous, or as we see in the Radioflash trailer, you have an accident, you may have to hoof it. If you want to move quickly to safety, you need comfortable walking shoes that will not fall apart, cause blisters, and are weather resistant. Gore-Tex boots and shoes are made from a waterproof, breathable fabric and, while pricey, are worth keeping near your go-bag should you have to flee for safety.
#19 Don't let fear overcome critical thinking
In the trailer, we hear the main character declare, “I’m not afraid anymore.” Overcoming fear and thinking critically in the fallout from a disaster are the key to survival. If you can remain calm--especially when everyone around you seems to be panicking--and not let fear paralyze you, you’ll get out of the fight-or-flight mode and be able to make better decisions about what to do next.
#20 Avoid desperate people also facing survival
Mobs of desperate people, street gangs vying for control, or even police and military trying to enforce martial law...when disaster strikes and civil unrest ensues, you want to stay away from crowds of people--no matter who they are. Even your neighbors can turn on you if hungry enough. As someone who is prepared for survival, you already know not to tell others how prepared you are. But do your kids and other family members? Make sure your family knows to keep quiet regarding your stockpiles of food, gas, water, and other survival items. This helps keep desperate people from coming to your home or tracking you down.
These are just the 20 survival lessons we spotted in the Radioflash trailer. Watch for yourself and see if you can add to the list! Better yet, see the movie and, afterward, discuss what other lessons you learned.
Have a great weekend. And remember, those who know what’s coming are using today to prepare.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply