A long-range nuclear missile is incredibly sophisticated. It needs to be; it has to deliver a warhead – possibly up to a dozen warheads for a MIRV’d missile – to a precise location. A Trident II submarine-launched missile can drop half its warheads within 65 feet of the target, letting it destroy even hardened bunkers with a relatively small weapon. An EMP attack doesn’t need anything like that precision. As long as the rocket can get the weapon to a high enough altitude, it can detonate anywhere in a circle hundreds of miles wide and still blanket a huge area with its pulse. Every country that currently has nuclear weapons and several that could be very close to building them has the ability to attack with high-altitude EMP – and that includes rogue or unstable states like North Korea and Pakistan. An EMP might not be the worst thing that could happen, but it’s a real risk.
Most to-do lists seem to start with “Go to WalMart and buy a truckload of rice.” It’s not very obvious why. What are you going to do with it when you get it home? The first thing you need to do is prepare to be prepared. Identify a food storage area – somewhere that’s secure, sheltered, dry and cool. Some people like to keep food in a basement or dugout, which is good for hiding it but makes storage more challenging. Make sure your store is protected against rodents. Set up a storage system in there – strong shelves are ideal. Keeping your food store organized is vital: You’ll need to rotate supplies, using up older items and replacing them. The more organized you keep things the less waste you’ll have and the more prepared you’ll be.
You can figure 25-30 years storage life for hard red wheat, stored at 60 degrees in a 55 gallon drum, using 1 pound of dry ice to drive out the oxygen (wait 24hrs for the dry ice to “melt” before sealing the drum). 400 pounds of wheat per drum equals 400 man-days of calories, and costs you about $100. Fill 3-4 barrels. It’s Cheap insurance. Add a barrel of Winter Rye for variety. Add a barrel of oats. Then a couple barrels of WHITE rice, and 2-3 barrels of pinto beans. (You need the beans to balance what’s missing from the grains. The beans may be harder to rehydrate after 10-12 years without a pressure cooker, but then you just grind up the dried beans, and bake them in your bread.) For around $1000, you can be prepared to feed your family for close to a decade, if you also garden, keep chickens, and have fruit trees and bushes. Honey is way too expensive to store on a dollar/calorie basis, but consider bee keeping. A drum takes up LESS than 2’X2’. And they stack nicely, at 33” tall. In a 2’X10′ strip along a basement wall, you can have 10 barrels with 4000 pounds of food. Hang a peg board in front of it, and you’ve got very useful space. If you can’t spare that much space in your basement, to protect the lives of your family, think Venezuela .
Still, these extraterrestrial-looking foodstuffs seem to be having something of a moment: For the past four years, Costco has been selling pallets of shriveled vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats that promise to feed a single family for up to a year—and if you’re not a member, you can purchase similar survival kits, many of which boast a 20- to 30-year shelf life, at Walmart and Target. One top seller, Wise Company, saw its sales nearly double over the past four years, reaching around $75 million, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story last November. The company’s CEO, Jack Shields, told me he estimates the industry as a whole generates between $400 and $450 million annually in retail.