June 28, 2017

What would you do, North Korea Attacks

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a “What Would You Do?” post.  I thought today would be a good time to have another.  For those who haven’t seen these, the reason I write this type of post is because of the book The Survivors Club.   Author Ben Sherwood explores a theory developed by a man named John Leach called “The 10/80/10 rule”. In summary, the rule states that the top 10% of people in a crisis excel; they think clearly and take immediate action. The middle group comprises 80% of people; they are “quite simply stunned and bewildered”; “reasoning is significantly impaired and thinking is difficult”. The last 10% of people are the “ones you definitely want to avoid in an emergency”.

A few pages later he explains something called ‘behavioral inaction’; “The current theory of behavioral inaction goes like this: As your frontal lobes process the site of an airplane wing on fire, they seek to match the information with memories of similar situations in the past. If you have no stored experience of a plane crash, your brain can’t find a match and gets stuck in a loop trying and failing to come up with the right response. Hence: immobility.”

The scenario I describe today has a slim chance of happening just as I describe it but, as was discussed on Monday in “Current Threats to America with AlertsUSA”, North Korea has clearly put the Unites States in its crosshairs and made claims they would use a preemptive nuclear strike.  As AlertsUSA mentioned, what it might take for North Korea to attack, “…, we believe that move would not come out of aggression, but fear. Fear of attack and fear of the further choking of resources needed for the survival of the state.”

I chose this scenario because, if I was Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, and was faced with extreme sanctions by the UN and threatened by joint American and South Korean military operation, this is how I would attack America; a sucker punch.  The event’s I’ll describe may seem far-fetched but I’m sure Japan attacking Pearle Harbor and destroying a large portion of the United States Pacific Naval fleet seemed far-fetched on December 6th, 1941 until it happened the next day.


What would you do, North Korea Attacks

Due to continued nuclear testing and repeated threats of preemptive strike to the United States, the United Nations has passed the heaviest handed sanctions given to any country in its history.  The Chinese, Russian and Iranian leaders condemned planned joint military operation with the South Korean Navy that are to take place in the near future.

At 12:00 PM PST North Korea launches a low yield nuclear bomb on Seoul South Korea and a barrage of conventional missiles at American and South Korean military bases inside of South Korea.

At 1:00 PM PST a modified cargo ship hailing from China but originally from North Korea, has taken a long trade route and is currently in the Atlantic, roughly 500 miles from the East Coast, when it launches two mid-range nuclear missiles.  Both are headed to Washington D.C.  One is destroyed a minute before detonation.  The second detonates.

At 2:00 PM PST a modified cargo ship originally from North Korea, last docking in Hong Kong and now located in the Pacific, 200 miles away from California, launches two long range nuclear missiles.  The first missile, targeting military bases, detonates in San Diego California.  The second detonates in the stratus-sphere over the western hemisphere of the United States, destroying the electric grid over much of the western half of the U.S. and causing scattered blackouts over the rest of the country.

So, what would you do?

(Check the comments section to see the answers from myself and everyone else as well as to add your own.)



  1. Chris Ray says:

    The world is a tinderbox just waiting for a match to be lit. If there is a medium to large scale attack like this, I would have either a TV or radio on the rest of the day. We would be praying for those in South Korea as well as for those here who have loved ones serving in South Korea.

    There is a high chance that there would be several live reports getting reactions to the attack on South Korea and the American forces there. Because of this, there is a good chance that in the five or so minutes it would take to reach Washington D.C., the media might pick up a mention of the missiles launched off the eastern coast.

    As soon as the second attack became known, we would start to batten down and pray for guidance. Having no idea what might come next, we would start making an improvised fallout shelter. If memory serves, it takes 3 feet of earth to stop radiation. I would need to choose between digging an impromptu shelter in the back yard or making one inside. Inside would be more comfortable, so we would take the large plastic storage totes and begin filling them with earth, placing them on the kitchen and dining room floors. This is the area directly above where we would be in the basement.

    By now the EMP would have gone off. This would increase everyone’s panic. We would keep filling containers until sufficient cover was in place. We would move everyone, including the dogs, to the basement. All supplies would be moved down there as well. We would check the wind up radio every few hours to see if it worked. Having no idea what might be happening, we would stay in the basement as much as possible.

    Depending on events in our immediate surroundings, we may bug out. Knowing what everyone around us would do is impossible. We would continue praying for guidance and protection. Eventually life would find a new normal but this, as well, is too difficult to predict.

    • Hi Chris,

      Your information concerning dirt and radiation is correct. However, the biggest concern is making sure that you have 4 walls of earth around you, enclosing a relatively small space. If you are in your basement, I would focus more on building dirt walls, as you have described, to enclose a corner, rather than putting them on the ceiling above you. Make the space as small as possible for your needs. What is above you does not really matter, as almost all gamma will be coming in at angles that either miss your shelter completely, or are stopped by the walls. You shouldn’t leave this shelter for 2 weeks, and then, only intermittently. After that, your biggest concern is making sure that you clean up any “nuclear snow” that you find, and put it somewhere else (move it, bury it, whatever). This ashy residue emits alpha particles, which are of little danger as long as you cover your skin while out and leave your outer clothing at the door when you come back in. Alpha particles can be stopped by a sheet of paper, but will give surface burns to skin if the ash comes into direct contact.

      • Chris Ray says:

        I know radiation travels in a straight line, but are you sure it wouldn’t impact us if it comes over the main section of the house, which we are right below? We would have as much cover on all sides as possible, but only the ceiling above us to stop radiation passing over the rest of the house.

        You’re spot on about what to do after leaving, good additional info.

  2. I’m not sure your scenario is all that far fetched. Growing up I remember hearing people say that we didn’t need to worry about a nuclear attacke because no one is crazy enough to use them, I’m not so sure that is the case – and when our only diplomatic tie to a nation that has threatened nuclear warfare on us is Dennis Rodman, well I think that just serves to confirm that whole “crazy” thing. I’ve actually thought that their next “test” won’t be a test – but the real thing – they will just call it a test so we keep our guard down.
    If it happened today – my family would be in trouble – I just “woke up” to prepping a couple months ago and so we don’t have much yet prepared although nuclear prepping is on my list – I’m thinking we have until August (when Kim and his new bestie are planning a vacation) so I’m working on getting my family moved to a place that will provide better long term survivability (owning not renting, storm shelter, well water, alternative heat source, space to grow food, etc.).
    I think that I would be in the better end of the 80% – I’d be slow to act as I tried to think of what the heck I have that can help my family, we don’t have a basement so covering windows (do we have enough plastic sheeting?) to help protect from radiation. Just bought a great set of used encyclopedias at a library sale (2008 set) so I’d probaby open those up and see what they say about radiation since I’m not well versed on it (will probably do that later today anyway). We would stay at home, that’s for sure – not taking any chances out in the open or in government shelters with 4 kids. I’m sure we would be praying a lot. It’s scary to think about – but even scarier to not think about it. Lots of things I had planned to do to prepare – that I guess I’d better get busy!

    • Chris Ray says:

      Hi Stefani,

      I’m glad you started prepping and found the blog. Keep in mind that the chance of this happening are relatively slim, I brought it up because it is a slim possibility and fit nicely with the post on current threats from AlertsUSA on Monday. It sounds like you are heading on the right path with your future plans.

      There are three that protect against radiation they are; time, distance and mass. With no basement you can make a temporary shelter in an internal room or hallway. place dressers and anything else against the joint wall with your temporary shelter, part of my plan is tipping the fridge on its side. Anything to add mass.

      Here are a couple resources that have more information. The first is an article I wrote on dirty bombs, they are far less dangerous but the same rules apply. The second link it to a page of links in the link library on shelter, it has some shelter in place information for nuclear attack.



    • Hi Stefani,

      I highly recommend the book, “Nuclear War Survival Skills”, by Cresson H. Kearny. You can buy a hard copy or download a pdf version for free. He was working for the U.S. government when he published it so it is public domain. It covers expedient shelters that the average family should be able to build given as little as 24-48 hours notice using common household items. Very informative, it also covers hygiene, food, water, lighting, etc… Here’s a link http://www.nuclearwarsurvivalskills.com/. Hope this helps.

      God bless,

  3. Oh, and I found this a couple weeks ago (and just now printed it) – it’s a free online FEMA course for radiological emergencies – the course is online but the handouts are printable. Haven’t read it yet but I’m guessing that there is some good info in it with regards to radiation safety measures.


  4. My immediate plan is to shelter in place as this is where all my supplies are. Bugging out is the very last option in my plan, because once you leave home you are “Homeless.” In any emergency I am going to make myself as invisible as possible because I know that my neighbors have made no efforts to prepare.

  5. Thanks for the info Chris, I sure did not know about this dirt thing. But what if you have no basement to go to? We have a unfinished basement that is unworthy of even mice. Just a small horrible place with a furnice smack dab in the middle with just enough room to walk around it. I always thought just sealing up the windows and even the furnace vents was the thing to do. And maybe the dirt too? Gosh I have water, I have food, lanterns, wind up radio etc etc now I have to worry about something else. I have canned alot of meat and other things always thinking of the day we have no electricity with a EMP attack but Nuclear, I need help. I even bought an outhouse and have it ready to go!

    • Chris Ray says:

      Penny don’t fret to much over it, I think there is a very slim chance of it happening. But as I mentioned in another comment it was a threat made my North Korea, and it fit well with the article on Monday. Yes it could happen, I think it has a very remote chance. If you are curious about some option, see the reply I made to Stephani.

  6. Chris, I have replayed this scenario over in my mind many time. I am of the generation that did duck and cover drills in school. If we are close to the blast zone say within 25miles or so I think I would gather my family and we would pray until we met our maker because unless you are in an underground bunker that was built for radiation you are not going to survive. As harsh as that sounds it is true. If we are outside the blast zone depending on how far immediately get all the gear I have gotten for my family and we would suite up with face mask and go to work. As you stated in your reply stack earth or what ever you have against the walls and ceiling where the blast or blast wave will hit to at least 3 feet thick leaving NO spaces. It must be solid. Since we do not have a basement we would then get into the interior of the house and with heavy plastic sheeting and duck tape start sealing up all outside entrances. Make sure all your water, food and medical supplies are also contained with you. You will need to stay in this room for a minimum of 2 weeks. Radiation falls in straight lines, in other words straight down, the danger is when it is caught by the wind and carried. Some of the old bomb shelters had what looked liked windows but where covered with a type of metal and always slanted with downward facing slats. So at least you could get fresh air into the bunker every so often. I have purchased rad stickers for everyone in our family plus enough of the ThyroSafe to last everyone 2 weeks. When coming out of the bunker in full gear the danger will still be there but not quit a bad as when it first struck. All items that test positive for radiation will have to be bagged in heavy duty garbage bags and discarded. Now that you are out of the bunker you must be careful NOT to disturb the dust or dirt on anything until after it is tested. I think if you are not in the area of the blast it would be bad but you could survive it, most likely without electric. A Nuclear Bomb could not only kill you because of the radiation but also it will most likely cause an EMP knocking out electricity.

    • Chris Ray says:

      A nuclear strike like the one I mention coming from North Korea concerns me much less than one from say China or Pakistan. It wouldn’t be a picnic coming from them, but I think the blast and fallout would be much less.

      A traditional nuclear attack is different than an EMP, a traditional attack either hits the earth and detonates, or detonates near the earth. An EMP is detonated 200 or so miles above the earth. With a traditional nuke there is radiation and fallout, with an EMP the electric grid is damaged.

      Good additional info on staying put for two weeks and what to expect when leaving.

  7. Craig Mouldey says:

    There is an even more serious threat than a few nukes going off and an emp taking down the grid. What about the nuclear plants? They only have so much diesel fuel on hand to run back up generators. Get a bunch of those melting down at the same time and it will make the bombs look like fire crackers.

    • Chris Ray says:

      Excellent point Craig. I believe they have roughly two weeks worth of diesel to power the cooling, if they are not resupplied after that the generators shut down and we face what Japan saw after the tsunami.

  8. yikes!! Yeah we are in deep Kimchi!

  9. Deborah M. says:

    I’m in south Florida, so there is no possibility of going underground. What alternative measures would you suggest in this scenario?

    • Chris Ray says:

      Hi Deborah,

      Thanks for asking. There are still option, see the links I added to the reply to Stephani. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  10. I live in the subs of DC – so I am sure that I would not make it. Sad but true.

    • Chris Ray says:

      In my scenario yes I’m sorry, but you’re probably correct. Lets just pray that we never see anything like this.

  11. John W. Manuel says:

    Around my neck of the woods, no one has basements, something about the water table or something. Anyway, I would first get my “team” together. This includes my family (getting the kids from school, activities, etc..) as well as friends I have made to “prep” with. Next, I go to the bank and withdraw as much cash as I can. Depending on how long power is out, my ATM card could be useless. I may hit up Walmart one last time while everyone else is watching TV, top off gas tanks if possible. I don’t bug out yet but start thinking about whats next. This all assumes I’m not near the blast and only have to deal with no power and panic

    • Chris Ray says:

      I wonder if companies would stay open. Smaller mom and pop places might close, but I wonder if chains would wait to hear from corporate to close.

  12. We live far enough away from these blast zones to not have worries about radiation. It’s the after-effects. We would likely lose power from the EMP and some or all of our electrical devices. Vehicles may not work. As Craig Mouldey said, there’s a serious risk of at least one aging nuclear power plant meltdown, and that’s very nasty. There’s the electricity loss, and with that comes a loss of the incredibly fault-intolerant just-in-time store delivery system. There just aren’t warehouses all around anymore, folks.

    There’ll be a power vacuum and the threat of gangs rising to fill it. Believe it or not, you’ll likely have both anarchy and totalitarianism at the same time; Anarchy in places where the jack boots can’t or won’t bother to reach. But cross-country travel will likely be restricted due to martial law.

    There’s economic fallout; This would likely set the U.S. (and by consequence, the entire globe) into an economic tailspin. Barter will reign. Maybe the mark of the Beast will be given?

    I think likely we would drive or set out on foot for Mexico. We’re on the East coast of Florida at the moment, so that’s quite a hike. I don’t have a passport so am not sure how we’d cross the border or any ensuing road blocks.

    If I could not relocate I would rally my church (if possible) and neighborhood best I could and build community to hunker down. I would distribute printed information in order to train up hunters, trappers, gardeners, defenders, doctors, etc. Fortunately we are on the edge of the city so we shouldn’t get most of the riff-raff. I would seek to share Jesus with the neighborhood.

    Alternatively I could fall back to family in the country not very far away, but my wife and I both agreed that’s a last resort decision as there’s a great deal of dysfunction there.

    It’s scenarios like these which have us eyeing Idaho for our next move. We wouldn’t hike there given that there would be significant fallout across the U.S. It’s best we avoid the center of the continent.

    Finally, we would remember that it says in Lamentations that His mercies are new every morning. This scenario is frightening because we don’t today feel as though we have enough grace to get through it. But He doesn’t supply grace that we need for next year. Nope, only the next 24 hours.

    His mercies are new every morning. GREAT is His faithfulness.

    • I think I would follow this plan if I had to rally my community:

    • Chris Ray says:

      I have given the idea of heading for Canada if something like this were to happen, but it’s still 4-5 hours away and I like you don’t have a passport. given the circumstances, I wonder if they would be more or less likely to let anyone across.

      “Finally, we would remember that it says in Lamentations that His mercies are new every morning. This scenario is frightening because we don’t today feel as though we have enough grace to get through it. But He doesn’t supply grace that we need for next year. Nope, only the next 24 hours.

      His mercies are new every morning. GREAT is His faithfulness.”

      Good stuff.

  13. Chris Ray says:

    I’m to busy today to give a solid approach to those of you with no basements, I will write a follow up article for Friday.

    It wasn’t my intent to cause any stress or panic, I posted it as something to get people to think, which I guess it did. I really do think there is a slim chance of this scenario actually happening.

  14. First Off, Thank You Chris. I forgot about the dirt and enclosure part. Next, I think you did right by informing us and as for being scared, yes it is a chance this may happen, but I think we are already past the point of setting the timer back for more time. Thanks and keep up the Good Fight. May God watch over us all.

  15. Regarding anyone thinking about leaving to Canada without a passport, gold has been known to open borders throughout history. If you have that, I wouldn’t have to worry about the passport. Just sayin… But no worries, you wouldn’t be able to “move about the country” anyway, because Martial Law would be declared in what remained of our country and no one would be going anywhere, except of course, to a fema internment camp. That’s my opinion. Glad I’m prepared for this scenario, with my faraday cage, and won’t need to leave the homestead. Many blessings to all.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I hadn’t considered greasing the wheels, but i am sure you’re right.

      As to martial law, I think there would be pockets of it, and pockets of lawlessness, neither are something I want to be mixed in with.

  16. Renard Gervais says:

    Again Chris – kudos for the question.

    In order of importance – what I’d do. (I too, like others who’ve responded am in Florida – west coast, below Tampa Bay).

    1. Just stop. Do nothing if possible (no immediate threats), and think.
    2. say a prayer, ask for forgiveness for my sins and beg for guidance and counsel – to do the right thing(s)… now and in the times to come.
    3. start checks – see if I can contact family, friends, associates, neighbors; even, customers that I’ve become close to over the years. High priority given to opening up and maintaining lines of contact with others of like-minds/levels of preparation I’m allied to.
    4. continue checks – I’m pretty aware of my personal supplies and what I’ve stored; however, I’d sure be doing a mental inventory – and quick. Safeguarding what I have ranks very high from now on.
    5. see what services are still available – water, electricity, phone (I’d’ve found that one out most probably in #3) and take certain measures like filling tubs, placing any and all rechargeables on their respective chargers…
    6. if chaos hadn’t already set in locally and ATM’s/my local bank branch office was still open – get as much cash out as I could. If not, locate any and all I’ve here at the house and hit SAM’s – buy those last items if possible. I live very close to one – walking distance if needed be. Fuel is available there as well. In other words – as long as possible, whatever possible – obtain, get back to base, add to stored supplies.
    7. finally – observe, listen to what is going on around me. See what neighbors are doing. Reconcile that the future is going to be very different and set protocols in place internally for what is to be done – for whom, how much…. Adjust to any and all threats – bio/nuclear/chem/enviromental/social/regional…. take steps to counter and to anticipate based on incoming information and what data available. Communications is a priority for local, regional and national determinations of what life may hold ahead.
    8. Relax, rest,eat, take care of life and needs…. and live as normally as best as I can. And return to #1 & #2 – hoping that MacDill is not on someone’s ‘hit’ list. Keep low profile, become ‘blended into my environment’ and not stick out.
    9. repeat list ,dropping/modifying items as the original steps become impossible to do. Example – friends…. if possible, join up, actually go to and/or check them out physically. So much would be in a grey zone – leaving base/home and joining any exodus or confusion due to travel here in Florida could or would be suicidal.

    As a CWP holder, I’m already defense-postured when moving about; nevertheless, I’d be increasing the magnitude and scope of all defensive measures; both at home and while engaged in any foray. Additionally, all items already EMP-protected would remain so for at least a couple of weeks in case more NK or other aggressors continue what has started.

    Again – return to #1 & #2. Only the passage of time will allow for any longer-range plans.

  17. You know, I’ve never really given this any thought so I’m glad you brought it to my attention, Chris!
    We are lucky that our house was built on a slope of a hill, thus giving us three walls that are tucked into the slope of our yard….so now we have to think about how to cover the one exposed side, with a door that goes outside…I use to hate the basement, it’s dark and kind scary, lol, but now I’m rethinking that! :)
    I’m thinking that maybe we can build a small room inside the basement, in the back corner….but just the thought of being in this dark room with all seven of us for two weeks gives me the creeps, but when you consider the alternative :/

    Of course, living within 30 miles of Oak Ridge, Tn. Makes me think that nothing we could do would be good enough, unfortunately….if O.R. IS a target, so maybe we’d just drive to our church, and prayer and praise Jesus until He calls us home 😀

    • Chris Ray says:

      Is there a military base near Oak Ridge? If not, than I wouldn’t worry to much about it being a target. If it is North Korea that does the attacking, they have a limited supply of nukes and would hit political, military and high population areas.

      • Oak Ridge National Lab is located there, all very top secret, as I found out when I first moved here and inadvertently drove up to the gate and the guards surrounded me, made me get out of my vehicle, took a pic of my license and license plate, and questioned why I was there! I had my 65 yr old mother with me, about scared her to death!! LOL!
        I believe it has the largest plutonium storage in the U.S. so I’ve been told its a possible target…maybe not N. Korea, but others.

        • Chris Ray says:

          Wow very interesting. If its true about the plutonium that yes, it would be a target. I wonder if it would be more of a target to break into, or to attack.

  18. i think we need to realize that if this situation occurred it would not be done on a basis of lets just see how the americans react. it will be an all out war attack on america followed up with an armed invasion. is it coincidental the remake other. of red dawn included an emp attack by none other than north korea. this would be done with precision and would be designed to split the country into manageable sections instead of as a whole. scary situation but a very real possibility. not very many friendly countries around that like us anymore so can’t depend on outside help. all up to us

    • Chris Ray says:

      I’m not so sure an armed invasion would immediately follow, thought you may be right. makes one wonder if it would be them alone or with allied countries with them.

  19. you fight as you train so might not hurt to keep this in mind

  20. I do not think the scenario as laid out is likely. An EMP strike with possible escalation into partial nuclear response is more likely. However, the scenario as laid out deserves some clarification: the strike at South Korea would place the US military on a war footing very quickly. Every radio & TV station on the planet would air the report. At that point, I would:

    1) call family & invoke the event phone tree;
    2) leave work and head for home to retrieve bug out vehicle & trailer;
    3) head for retreat before more events occur.

    I would leave one radio out to listen to the news but the rest of my electronics are sheltered. Bug out vehicle is old truck & trailer of mobile supplies. Need to get out of city ASAP to shelter of retreat & to get away from potential target (city).

    Hearing about DC getting nuked would be further confirmation (I’m in AZ). I would be at retreat locking down shelter and helping family as they arrive. Would seal inside after radio dies from EMP and get out another radio the next day (waiting to avoid additional EMP events). We would pray a lot during this period. I figure things would escalate & be “over” within 24-48 hours but things could get dragged out over as much as a week.

    We would listen to radio and take radiation readings for at least 3 weeks. Then if safe, we would carefully emerge & prepare for the aftermath (social breakdown, economic breakdown, starving masses, lawlessness, etc).

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