Commercial jets will fall from the sky across North America. Nuclear power plants will go off-line. Hospitals will become death traps. Battles over food will be fought in the streets. And that’s just day one. Welcome to the EMP nightmare.
If you’re in a jumbo jet and you’re going down with a few hundred other people and the jet has no on board maneuvering capabilities, that seems to say that the jet will be at the mercy of wherever it happens to be and what elevation it happens to be at when it comes down out of the sky — flights that make emergency landings on to land are said to statistically fair a lot better than flights that come down in the water.
The only problem with these emergency landings will be that if it’s at night, there won’t be any lights on the ground to signify cities vs rural country side; nor will there be lights on the ground to signify local airstrips.
If the EMP happens during daylight, at least the pilots have a chance of eyeing what’s on the ground as they come down. If the control yoke is useless for steering, I’m not sure what chance at all they have of the jet being directed toward a relatively flat area to land. If this thing comes down on anything other than concrete, most likely everything on the bottom of the plane — landing gears, wheels — are going to be torn off as the plane sinks into the soil. Will the force of that kind of impact cause the plane to break up?
Left to chance, my guess is that the majority of those 4,000 approximate flights in the sky when an EMP takes place are going to end in disasters. A few are likely to make it out ok though.
Trapped in an Elevator — Complete Darkness
An elevator is one of the last places I’m sure most people would want to be when an EMP takes place — especially an elevator in a tall skyscraper in a large city experiencing a terrorist attack. You might get left in there for a few days.
The chances of being trapped in an elevator increase if you work in a downtown skyscraper or other building and regularly take elevators; you need to consider that if the EMP occurs while you’re in that elevator, you’re going to be stuck, for hours and possibly days; you might want to learn in advance what it takes to get out of an elevator when the power goes down for good.
First tip: Talk to your building management — make sure they have a plan for immediately rescuing people from stuck elevators in the event of a blackout. They need to be concerned about the well-being of people who may be trapped inside. Keep in mind that they won’t be able to simply call a maintenance man to come to the building to rescue tenants trapped inside. If that building’s maintenance man lives 20 miles away and his car doesn’t work, how is he going to get to the building?
Besides, his phone isn’t going to work, so he can’t simply be called on the phone. Finally, the last thing on his mind might be his job that he doesn’t care too much for anyway — in fact right now he might be a lot more worried about his children or parents who live thirty miles or so in the opposite direction of that building where he works as a maintenance man.
What does that mean for people stuck inside an elevator in a downtown high rise or other building? They’re going to have to figure out a way to get out, and also hope that other people who live or work in the building will also care to take the time to help get them free. Escaping a trapped elevator may involve a few people.
Not only is the elevator trapped between floors, the elevator (and much of the building) may be in total darkness.
If You’re Stuck Inside an Elevator
Yell and bang on the sides of the elevator. Make a lot of noise until someone responds and confirms they’re going to help you get out.
Where Will You Be When an EMP Strikes?
Do you know where you’re going to be when the lights go down for good — if an EMP takes place? You might want to start carrying a small pen-size flashlight, one that can fit on your key chain for example — so you always have it with you.
Theory goes that small devices with small components not connected to larger devices should be fine in an EMP; the reason these should be fine is that the “pulse” that fries components is picked up by devices with longer wiring that then acts as an “antennae”, picking up the pulse as it goes out from the initial nuclear blast; small devices with small circuits and wires won’t pick up enough pulse, as statements I’ve read indicate. They should be ok.
Do you take a daily elevator? Get yourself that small flashlight. Also get yourself some training on how to get yourself out of an elevator should the power go off and it get stuck in between floors.
If there’s no maintenance man around, rescuers (who know you’re inside) can also look for the fire department; fire departments are trained in elevator rescue. One unfortunate aspect of an EMP though (or other major disaster that knocks out power) is that the local fire department might be spread thin and already responding to multiple other emergencies in distant parts of the city.
To get people out of stuck elevators after an EMP, other people (who are aware of people trapped inside stuck elevators) will have to search far and wide for the fire department. See: Storm Caused Power Outage Traps Girl Inside Elevator
Ventilation Failure in Buildings
Final concern for people trapped inside an elevator — buildings without air conditioning (when the power fails) can turn into ovens during the summer months, especially an elevator in the heart of a building. Additionally, buildings — especially large buildings — are built with electronic ventilation systems.
Some of these buildings may become dangerous to be in after a few days of the power being out, due to stagnant air. Rooms will need to be ventilated by hand shortly after an EMP — meaning, a window in each room broken if need be or holes made through walls.
Last tip for people who take a daily elevator to work or home — along with that small flashlight (and extra batteries), carry some bottled water and a bit of food. I’d throw a Bible in there also. Here’s why: If you live or work in a high-rise downtown in a city experiencing a disaster or terrorist attack — no help may come for you in time.
Not if fire departments are overwhelmed elsewhere in the city, perhaps a secondary terrorist attack has taken place — or perhaps massive fires have erupted following a jet falling from the sky or 15 separate pile ups of 100 or so vehicles in each crash.
You might be on your own here — stuck in a pitch black elevator in the heat of summer with no one to come to your rescue; you’re going to need God or an angel to bail you out of this one.
One more thing while you’re stuck inside that elevator: Hold on to the hope that this is just a temporary power outage — and not an EMP.
If You’re Stuck in an Elevator After an EMP and Help Never Comes
You can search the roof of an elevator for a service latch to a hatch, but sometimes these require special tools to open; if you can reach the service latch that is — meaning you’re either about 7 feet in height or you’re lucky enough to have a second person in the elevator with you, who can give you a boost up. Some elevators do have hand rails though. Use a corner of the elevator to climb up on to the hand rails to look for a service latch.
(If you take a daily elevator in a high rise downtown I’d suggest you find out what those special tools are for the hatch in the type of elevator you ride and you start carrying them — just in case.)
Also — don’t ride that elevator alone — you may have a hard time reaching the hatch, without someone else to give you a boost up, even if you do have tools to open it.
Dangers After Escape
Once you’ve climbed out of the top of the elevator, you’re only partly out of danger. If the power comes back on you can get crushed — so I wouldn’t make this escape unless you know for sure that the power is down for good:
Be sure to pull the “STOP” button in the elevator before you climb out through the top. That way the elevator doesn’t start moving again if the power comes on.
Once in the elevator shaft you also risk electrocution (depending on the wiring for the building) if the power comes back on.
Some elevator shafts have no way to escape. Once in an elevator shaft though your cries for help might be heard easier — perhaps a few people with sledge hammers and manual concrete breaking tools can chip their way through the elevator shaft and get you out that way — though the best way to get to an elevator will likely be to break through doors in a floor above the elevator and drop rope down (headlamps would be a handy tool to have to provide light); rescuers could then climb down the rope to the top of the elevator and break open any service hatch — unless it opened from the top.
If an EMP occurs during day or early evening hours, we can expect tens of thousands of people across the U.S. to be stuck in elevators in thousands of cities.
If you live near buildings with elevators, consider rounding up a number of people to do a search for anyone who may be stuck in an elevator.
Hospital / Nursing Home Care Requiring Machines
Hospitals are going to be a disaster following an EMP — people needing medical attention will show up on foot; aid workers will likely be sent to nearby emergencies and other aid workers will stay behind to help with the many people on critical systems that are now without power. People in surgery and connected to machines will be in trouble. Hospitals in major cities are going to be a mess.
Nursing homes with elderly patients requiring critical care (machines and scheduled medication) and also hospice are likely to become a disaster also. These will be some of the first people to die across the nation — after all those flights from the skies come down to earth and initial car wrecks take place.
Near a Nuclear Power Plant After an EMP
Nuclear power plants operate in a “controlled meltdown” — rods in a state of meltdown emit high amounts of heat, generating steam from fresh water that is pumped over these rods, which then turn turbines, which produce electricity.
When electricity fails at a nuclear power plant backup generators come online to keep everything operating safely. But like a commercial airplane these backup generators will end up fried in an EMP, as everything is wired to everything else, and it’s this wiring that allows an electro-magnetic pulse to do so much damage to so many systems.
With the power failure and fried generators, we now have a nuclear meltdown on our hands. In the coming days high levels of radiation will soar into the air, dusting the land and lakes and streams and any people for miles around — especially those people downwind of a nuclear power plant.
Do you live nearby any nuclear power plants? Do you have plans to “bug out” in the event of a disaster to a remote location? You might want to study prevailing winds first, and look to see where in relation the nearest power plants are to those prevailing winds so that you can predict what direction radiation will be carried and how far. Compare this path to where you live and also to where you plan to flee to in the event of disaster.
In a Highway / Freeway Tunnel when an EMP Occurs
When the lights in the tunnel go black from an EMP, so will most vehicles controls, so will your headlights — and so will most lights in most vehicles in that tunnel, large trucks with tractor trailers and buses included.
At 60 MPH freeway tunnels filled with traffic that is suddenly in the dark could immediately end in crashes where cars, trucks, semis, and buses pile up, one on top of the other — glass breaking, metal and fiberglass colliding violently — sheer devastation.
Think about that the next time you’re driving through a long tunnel that is lit by traffic and overhead lights.
Good news in this? It’s very possible that gas that spills on the roadway from crashed vehicles won’t ignite from sparking vehicle wiring — unless sparks are created from metal grinding on the concrete. That might ignite a fire ball that turns that tunnel into an instant furnace.
Some reports indicate that it’s likely that not all vehicles will be effected by an EMP. These reports say that many will lose power and that some will not. They back these claims off of reported tests that have taken place.