EMP Preparedness: You Only Really Have 2 Options

EMP Preparedness: You Only Really Have 2 Options
4.62 (92.31%) 13 votes

EMP Preparedness

EMP Preparedness – How To Protect Yourself

What would an EMP attack really look like on US soil? How bad could the destruction be? What are your EMP preparedness survival options? What’s the best EMP Emergency Management Plan? What the heck is an EMP anyways?

Electrical Magnetic Pulse…seems technical. Seems complicated. Doesn’t really sound all that scary. Seems more like something you used to hear your boring physics professor talk about…right?

Today I want to discuss the following:

  • What An EMP Is
  • What Weapons Can Cause An EMP Attack
  • How Much Damage and Chaos An EMP Attack Could Cause
  • What Will An EMP Aftermath World Look Like
  • What Your Only 2 Options Are For EMP Preparation

Electrical Magnetic Pulse

When a conductor moves through a magnetic field an electrical current is produced.

This is how the generators work at your local power plant. Likewise, when a moving magnetic field passes a conductor, a current is created.

Here’s a small EMP demonstration destroying a calculator.

But what if the magnetic field created is very, very strong when it passes the wire? What if the magnetic pulse is immeasurably strong?

The voltage and current generated will be extremely large. Perhaps large enough to damage the wire, especially if that “wire” is microscopic and lying on a printed circuit board.

Given a strong enough magnetic field, microelectronics can be destroyed by this electrical burst. Completely burned out.

So How Are These Large EMP Pulses Created?

The phenomenon is called Electro-Magnetic Pulse, or EMP for short. One way EMP’s can be created is during the detonation of a nuclear weapon.

During the initial energy release from a nuclear weapon a large electromagnetic field in the form of a “pulse” radiates outward. This pulse from the explosion will travel in a line of sight fashion. Any electrical wiring in the path of the pulse will burn out,

The nuclear explosion does not have to be very large to generate a dangerous EMP. At least dangerous for our computer friends, not so much for us.

Unlike the radiation released during the nuclear explosion, EMP is not particularly dangerous to people. Unless you have a pacemaker installed. But it will destroy unshielded computer systems.

Since EMP travels line of sight it can cover a very large area if the nuclear detonation occurs high in the atmosphere.

Most nuclear military weapons are not intended for high altitude detonations. This is because those detonations do little damage to the enemy and cause very little fallout. However, if one were detonated at high altitude the EMP would travel outward crossing everything in its line of sight.  Covering perhaps thousands of square miles.

Though the EMP magnitude diminishes with distance, it may still be strong enough at thousands of miles to fry most microelectronics.

This makes the nuclear EMP a near perfect weapon for a terrorist, rather than a conventional military force.

Here’s an interesting question. If you are a terrorist organization and could only lay your hands on one nuclear weapon. Would you want to blow up one city or detonate it high enough to wipe out the electrical systems for thousands of cities?

Aside from nuclear weapons there are EMP-generating devices called “explosively pumped flux compression generators.” These devices use a combination of electromagnetic physics to generate large pulses of electromagnetic energy.

The basic concept is to generate a electromagnetic pulse in a coil surrounding a metal core using current from a capacitor bank.  While at the same time compressing the coil into the core using explosives.

This change in core geometry causes a compression of the electromagnetic field momentarily before the whole thing shorts out and is destroyed.

Circuit Board

So What Kind Of Damage Are We Talking?

Any device not shielded against a large EMP attack is likely to be damaged or destroyed.

We’re talking damage to the following:

  • Power plants
  • Laptops
  • IPad
  • IPod
  • Smart Phones
  • Cell Phone Towers
  • Telephones
  • Desktop Computers
  • Mainframe Computers
  • Routers
  • Automobile Engine Management Computers
  • Jet Aircraft Systems
  • Air Traffic Control Systems
  • Banking Systems
  • Hospital Diagnostic Machines
  • Televisions
  • Internet Servers
  • Refrigerators
  • Thermostats
  • Plus Anything Else With A Micro Chip

Which is damn near everything these days.

Can you imagine everyone within a thousand-mile radius losing all technology at one time?

How about a city like New York or Los Angeles, with 8-10 million people suddenly finding themselves in a pre-industrial world without power?

Things that will still work, however, are mechanical systems (i.e. guns and bullets).

So we’re talking instant anarchy.

EMP Preparedness: So Is There A Way To Protect Electronics?

Is there a way to protect your personal electronics or your home electrical systems?

There are several ways to protect against an EMP attack. One EMP preparedness survival technique is simple EMP protection otherwise known as electrical shielding.

If an electrical cable has a grounded external braided shield, the electromagnetic field will not penetrate the shield. It will induce a current in the shield which will be harmlessly released to the ground.

This is great, but what about devices, such as microelectronics?

You can shield entire devices using something known as an EMP Faraday Cage. Named for Michael Faraday, one of the early scientists in the field of electromagnetics.

Faraday discovered that electromagnetic fields will not penetrate a metal cage made of copper or other good electrical conductors. The fields impinge on the exterior of the cage. Since all sides of the cage are electrically connected to each other, there is no induced electrical current.

For current to flow there must be a differential in electrical potential.

When all sides of the cage are connected as one—there is no electrical differential potential. It’s as if there is a short-circuit before the current even begins to flow. Devices held inside the cage are protected from induced currents which can damage components.

Nested EMP Faraday cages are even better for EMP preparedness. This involves nesting a cage within a cage.

A simple EMP Faraday cage is a covering of aluminum foil. If you want to protect your devices, wrap them in a layer of aluminum foil. But take care, they must be completely covered with no gaps in the foil.

Also, if you wish to use multiple layers of foil, place a layer of insulation between them, something that won’t conduct electricity.

Just adding thickness of foil means nothing. The only reason to double wrap is to better prevent gaps in the foil.

galvanized trashcan with a lid will work in a pinch. If you know something bad is coming, place your valuable electronics inside a sealed cardboard box and place that inside the trashcan. Ensuring the lid closes completely and seals.

Galvanized Trash Cans

Now that you have all your devices protected when the terrorist EMP event strikes you’ll be ready. Assuming you knew in advance it was coming and took these defense precautions.

So let’s say you did.

The “Event” happens and the lights go out.

You quickly retrieve your fully functional cell phone from the foil and trash can Faraday Cage. And presto, you have one of the very few functioning cell phones in the Northern Hemisphere.

Did your EMP preparedness survival pay off?

How many bars do you have? None?

Can you hear me now? No?

You pull out your protected laptop or IPad and boot up. Internet connection? Nope.

You’ve got a four hour charge on the device, great.  Now where are you going to plug in your charger (assuming you placed the charger in the Faraday Cage in the first place)?

  • No sweat. I have a home generator—nope—it’s fried by EMP.
  • Oh, but I have home solar panels—nope—fried by EMP.
  • I have a windmill—nope—the inverter is fried.

Bottom line: The power is out and it’s going to stay out for a very long time (maybe even years).

  • The utilities distribution system has been fried.
  • Cell phone towers are fried.
  • The water company’s filtration and pumping systems are fried.

Food will quickly begin to spoil and we just lost a war without firing even one bullet.

There are really only 2 EMP preparedness options:

EMP Diaster Prep Option 1 – Plan for an Amish survival skills future. Plan to revert to an 1860 agrarian society with the sort of survival skills our great-great-grandparents knew. But, our society has forgotten.

EMP Diaster Prep Option 2 – Store a complete, disassembled home electrical power generation system inside very large Faraday Cages. Solar and wind are your best bet—since you won’t be able to get gasoline or natural gas. Everything electrical associated with these systems should be boxed in Faraday Cages.

Most People Will Have To Take EMP Preparedness Option #1.

Why?  Because most people can’t afford to drop $10,000-25,000 on a home generation system. Especially one they do not plan to use immediately and then take extraordinary precautions to store it all.

Most people don’t have the resources for grid-independent electrical systems that work today. Let alone ones they keep stored in Faraday Cages.

However, if you do end up going with EMP Preparedness Option #2, you’d better be prepared to defend it. You’ll be the only one on your block, maybe your town with any kind of electrical power.

By the way, you EMP disaster prep Option #2 guys, I would wait until long after the attack before assembling your system. Any good terrorist or even a state sponsored enemy threat will be smart enough to allow us to install our spare power system trying to bring things back online. Then pop us again to destroy the rest of it.

An EMP blast from a single nuclear device at 20 miles altitude will cover a large portion of the US with EMP.

An enemy doesn’t have to destroy the entire nation to destroy its society and kill off large portions of the population.

Even the US Government admits as many 9 of 10 Americans could die within one year of a crippling EMP attack on our homeland.

There are simply too many people, and too few with survival skills, for a majority of our nation to survive with no electrical power for a year.

This means near the end of that year looting and rioting will be rampant—everywhere. It’s time to take EMP preparedness seriously and learn some real survival skills.

Your Best Defense Is EMP Disaster Prep Option #1

EMP Preparedness is similar to most other emergency disaster preps in many ways. You need to have a large food stockpile, a water storage and replenishment plan, skills to constantly replenish your food stocks. Throw in some defense skills to protect your resources and some basic medical supplies.

Food, water and medicine. You need regular amounts of food and water resources to survive and you need to be able to defend these precious resources from others.

It’s really as simple as that, but just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.  The best way to describe the survival skills you need to learn to prepare or an EMP attack is this:

The skills our great-great grandparents called everyday life we now call survival and prepping.

So look backwards in time for inspiration.

The closest modern day example is the Amish. By choice, they live without power. They don’t use it today and won’t miss it after an EMP attack. However, will the Amish be willing to defend their resources to the death? To me, this is the biggest challenge the Amish face, but you can learn them and throw in a bit of firearm training.

That’s how you prepare for life without power long term.

Prepare, Adapt and Overcome,
Just In Case Jack
P.s. -For A Limited Time Only -Get a FREE FireHawk Tactical Flashlight For Visiting Skilled Survival! Just pay s&h. Click Here To Learn More.
Click Here To Get 2 For 1 FireHawk Flashlights

Photo Credit Circuit Board / Garbage Cans

Comments

  1. Cyrus Douglas says

    I understand That after a E.M.P. That the internet will be gone, But My computer can download many survival ideas before a E.M.P.. All of the downloads will be stored in my computer I can remove the battery (charged) from my laptop an store the laptop along with all my other electronics in a FARADAY cage. Solar battery chargers included. At present , all my downloads are also printed an stored in a 3 ring binder, Just in case my faraday cage fails me.

    • Just In Case Jack says

      Good point Cyrus.

      A working computer with valuable

        pre-downloaded

      survival information is a good idea to store in a Faraday Cage. Add in a solar battery charger and you can continue having access to it.

      However, online use of your computer to communicate or research will be useless.

      – Just In Case Jack

        • Just In Case Jack says

          If you want to ensure they survive an EMP blast, yes. Anything that has electrical wires and electrical components are susceptible to permanent damage due to a large electrical magnetic pulse.

  2. taxn2poverty says

    This is a fact, not conjecture. Nine of ten people will be dead within 30 days. Reason: CONTAMINATED WATER. Within 24 hours after an EMP, if not sooner, virtually every household in America will be without water. Most have no reserve water at all. When the spigots stop producing, which is immediately after the attack, people will begin to drink water from the ditches, lakes, streams, rivers, and any other source they can find. Typhoid and a host of other diseases will then take their tolls. Thirst will drive a person mad! I’ve seen it first hand. Storing water and having dozens of life Straws cannot be overstated. .

    • Mike Bryant says

      You are so right. Another thing a lot of people will forget is most water heaters are 55 gallons pure drinking water, ready to drink in their homes. people will panic and leave their homes in search of water and food. some will not come back, there will be some extra water for those who know. Just have to unscrew one of the flex pipes on top of water heater to vent and open the bottom valve. Just a little info for those that dont know, because there will be a lot of empty houses.

      • Just In Case Jack says

        Excellent point Mike. I’ve always had my own water heater in the back of my mind, but for whatever reason, I’ve never thought about taking the water heater water from vacant homes. Great tip.

        -Jack

    • Bruce says

      Actually, a large number of water systems are gravity fed, thus the large water towers. However, they will not have the power to refill them. Best thing you can do is to immediately fill your tub and sinks and anything else with water because it will disappear shortly. If the city doesn’t shut it off via a valve immediately.

  3. Mic Roland says

    Perhaps a budget-friendly variation on your Option #2 would be having a spare circuit board (or two?) for a portable generator. You wouldn’t have to have a complete duplicate disassembled and in a cage. The gasoline motor itself isn’t vulnerable, and the heavy copper windings in the generator itself don’t seem fragile enough to fry.

    Sure, a 2000w portable wouldn’t run your whole house, but is that really needed? Mix in a bit of Option 1 lifestyle and your energy “needs” go way down. Do you really need to stay up until midnight, the house fully lit, watching movies? Do you really need to run several big-wattage appliances at the same time?

    A small genset runs longer on stored fuel. Not forever, sure, but for a long time, you’d have fridge and battery-recharge capabilities. Time enough to sort out alternatives.

    • Just In Case Jack says

      A little bit of Option 2 with a whole lot of Option 1. No argument here.

      Definitely a setup I’ll be thinking about some more…

      Thanks for the comment.

      – Just In Case Jack

    • Rob says

      The EMP would induce a voltage in the generator coils that would arc right through the insulation, effectively shorting out and destroying the coils. Spending effort on electronic trinkets would be a waste of energy that will need to be applied to survival.

  4. Prepperdaddy says

    Question? Would an 55 gallon metal drun with removable lid make a good Faraday container? I am thinking of something to put my generator inside of.

    • Just In Case Jack says

      Thanks for the question.

      As long as its 100% metal and 100% sealed it should work.

      Watch the video provided in this post where they use a radio to test/prove their faraday cage. Just do the same radio test and if the radio goes silent when the metal drum is sealed then you should be good to go.

      – Just In Case Jack

      • Chris says

        There’s an app now for testing faraday bags and faraday enclosures. It’s very nice. It’s called, “MD Faraday Bags Tester” I recommend using it to test your faraday enclosures to make sure they are working properly. It tests Wifi, cell, and bluetooth. Use it close to a Wifi Router to get the most power out of your router and the closest test to an EMP possilble.

  5. Frank says

    You mention that solar panels will be gone? The only thing I lnow of that will be gone on a solar panel is the diodes.

    Do you know of anything else on the panels that will be affected by an emp?

    I know all the charge controllers, inverters etc will go.

    Just wondering 🙂

    • Just In Case Jack says

      Frank,
      Thanks for the comment and question.

      Here’s my quick thoughts on your question:

      Let’s just say that your solar panels do survive and EMP attack and only your inverter fries. The good news is you can pull out your spare faraday caged inverter and boom…your solar panel power is back in business. The bad news? All your indirect home circuit based systems that you didn’t have stored in faraday cages got fried (refrigerators, microwaves, heating units, radios, lighting, dishwashers, modern vehicles, cell phones, etc.) so you still cannot use your solar panels for anything useful. Unless you keep spares of all these modern appliances in faraday cages.

      That’s what makes a massive EMP’s potential so deadly. The systems that generate power are in danger but so are all the technologies that harness this power.

      – Just In Case Jack

    • Just In Case Jack says

      I’m not very familiar with that make and model vehicle so I cannot say for certain.

      However, the amount of damage any device or appliance or electrical system takes is dependent on how large the EMP strike is and how close you are to it.

      Though the EMP magnitude diminishes with distance, it may still be strong enough at thousands of miles to fry most microelectronics.

    • Carney says

      1989 was the last year for non-computer run/managed vehicles. A spare computer chip, plug wires and alternator/generator will fix you up if you don’t have anti-lock brakes and an electronic dashboard. the computer chip can easily be had these days. The rest of the car accessories may or may not work though. a good supply of fuses too. Most current cars and trucks wont run even with a new engine computer-too many electronic accessories.

  6. David Lewis says

    If you have an RV, then all of the appliances, and furnace, will run off of either 12V or Propane. Having a set of solar panels, to charge your batteries, would be an excellent idea! As would having an extra thermostat and solar panel charge controller. If you are running LED lights, it may be a good idea to throw some of those in your faraday cage also.

  7. Mountain Man says

    Nice article. I have wrapped all electronics I can (tucked inside their original packing material) in multiple layers of heavy aluminum foil (not one continuous roll several times), then wrapped in heavy wrapping paper (think UPS store), then placed inside galvanized steel trash cans.

    Contents include LED flashlights, battery tester, watches, smoke/CO2 detector, outside motion detectors, Goal Zero solar generator set, Goal Zero Light-a-Life, multi-band radio receiver, multiple Baofeng handheld HAM radios, old laptop, inexpensive DVD player, among other things. The only electronics I couldn’t fit inside are my 30W solar panels, but they are wrapped multiple times in heavy foil and secured to prevent tearing. At least I was able to wrap and place inside one small 20W solar panel.

    I learned this technique from “The Survival Mom” who tested radios in various types of wrapping/storage and moved them under a cluster of radio towers emitting a combined 9 million watts of radio signal. The radios placed inside the galvanized can and wrapped in foil appeared to no longer receive any signal. Don’t know if that’s the most scientific method of testing, but your suggestion and hers are similar. Like your blog site.

    • Just In Case Jack says

      Thanks for sharing Mountain Man.

      Nice detailed list of what you’re protecting and how.
      Yup, the radio signal cut off is a simple but effective test to ensure you’ve got it right.

      Jack

  8. Mountainman2 says

    This is very important: Purchase a gravity filter (around $50) and get a couple of five gallon buckets and a spignot. You can find instructions online on how to assemble this basically inexpenstive water purification system that will last quite a while. Water is a huge concern and this will help you deal with that immediate problem. That being said, some lifestraws and other small purification systems will help you on the go. Think of this as an alternative life insurance policy that you hope you never need. Passing it on is the best gift you can give, for many reasons. Also, there are many videos, especially on this site, that can teach basic survival skills. If anything, it is comforting to know this stuff. One last thing- a couple of books on edible plants is also a good idea.

  9. Andi says

    I have several LuminAid lights that are charged by solar light. Would an EMP attack ruin them if not in aluminum foil or galvanized can ?

    • Just In Case Jack says

      Honestly, I can’t say for certain without more research. However, I like to use the philosophy of “when in doubt, assume the worst” so I would suggest you take precautions with anything that uses electrical circuitry so that you know your gear is safe.

  10. cornelis says

    Do you think that storing all components in a steel shipping container will work as a fareway ?

    • Just In Case Jack says

      Probably. As long as the container it sealed with not gaps. On way to test, would be to take a portable radio, turn it on, and walk into the container and close it. If the radio signal gets cut off while you’re in the container, you should be good to go.

      • Gary Griffin says

        Shipping containers do not have a solid metal bottom, and have a questionable door seal, so I would suggest rethinking their use as a Faraday cage.

        • Just In Case Jack says

          Thanks for jumping in Gary. I assumed they would work if sealed properly but if the bottom is not solid metal that might be a problem. You could line the inside of the container to improve the seal if you could find enough material to line it with.

          • RIchard says

            There are many companies out that have material that is designed just for this type of problem…

  11. Frank S. OWen says

    so,uh, me being a quadriplegic (meaning I’m paralyzed from the neck down. And on a breathing respirator that either plugged in or on battery backup, and I die without it) . Why should I be preparing to live after a EMP attack Without a working generator or batteries and someone to take care of me. I’m done for in the next four hours.
    Just a thought.
    And no matter what I have drilled into her mind over the past 30 years. She still thinks of nothing but unicorns and puppy dogs

  12. RIchard says

    Working on building a room in my house with Copper mesh on all walls ceiling and floor all connected together and the door will have a hanging curtain. I am working on a way to cover and ground my solar system with the same mesh to protect it. as you said above as long as any wiring is shielded and grounded an EMP should have little affect on it. I only wish there was a way to protect antennas but really it’s not the antenna I am worried about as it is basic, but the radio that is attached to it may suffer some damage. so I am looking into a few old tube type short wave radios to minimize the issue. To finish off my comment I thank you and people like you that have information out like this to assist people who wish to be prepared.

    • gizmobear says

      folks, thank you for shareing your knowledge. QQ. blind man here. totaly since ’06. family is spread out. have health issues. fixed income. any hope for a fella like me and my bf; sparky is my guide dog. great youthful gray male lab..

  13. says

    If i am understanding this, my 1958 chevy truck would be safe from an EMP ?I am also taking a gas engine and a truck alternator, to make a small generator. Something else to consider is a wood gasifier. during WWII , People in Europe used this system to power their vehicles because gas was rationed.

  14. MW says

    You said anything with a microchip would be destroyed by EMP. Does this include our pets who are chipped?! Please email me the answer!

    • Just In Case Jack says

      My guess is that the microchip will fail but your pet will be fine. An EMP won’t cause the microchip to explode, an EMP will just fry the internal electrical connections. So you’ll lose the function of the microchip to track your pet but they shouldn’t be harmed. It’s sort of like a wrist watch, it will likely stop working but it won’t harm you personally.

  15. red says

    Can a electical disconnect switch be added to my vehicle’s positive cable wire and simply turned off when not in use to protect its electrical system, and would an emp toast say an aa, or d,cell battery if it’s still in the packaging and not installed in a device???

    • Just In Case Jack says

      My understanding is an EMP will damage electrical components and circuits regardless of whether they are turned ON or OFF. If the pulse is large enough, the energy blast will pass through the turned OFF electrical components and will still compromise these wires and components. So I don’t believe that installing an electrical disconnect to your vehicle’s positive cable wire will protect its electrical system from a large EMP blast.

      As far as batteries go, they don’t have any electrical components. They are the power for electrical components. They are made of chemicals and metals (no wires) so they won’t be affected by an EMP blast at all.

  16. Richard says

    Dig an outhouse hole the first day and a shelter around it . . . maybe a family camping tent for privacy until a wooden shelter can be made. “Wash your hands before returning to work”, as the public restrooms remind us. Most rivers will soon be contaminated with sewer outflow and industrial waste, so avoid river water. If a neighbor has a well, your portable generator would help a lot of people with their water needs. A little simple rewiring would be necessary. Everyone is forgetting about the second word in EMP. Whenever an electron shower passes by any metal, some amount of magnetic field is generated and only three elements can protect against this huge magnetic damage: iron, nickel and cobalt. A garbage can made of sheet metal may be enough to deflect the magnetic field if the distance is great enough from the pulse, itself, but it maybe not. Iron can become “saturated” with magnetism. The thicker the iron, the better. Point two: Along with the electron shower will be a neutron shower from the atomic blast. Most people won’t even feel it and may not have problems with it for an extended amount of time. However, when metals are in a neutron shower, x-rays are released. Very high energy x-rays are also released and these are called gamma rays. These are very damaging, so steps need to be taken to protect the living from this secondary exposure. Why is no one discussing it?

  17. Brian says

    According to electrical engineers I have spoken with. Smaller items like watches and small radios would survive. An emp will do more damage with larger conductive surfaces like power lines etc… The EMP commission in 2002 tested cars and trucks and concluded 10% of vehicles would permanently undeliverable. The commission applied 50kv per square meter of energy. This is a moot point because gas pumps would not function. A lot of people take the book one second after as gospel,however, it represents a scenario that is on the extreme of the probability scale.

  18. Paul Gilbert says

    Great article. I keep many survival references on an old original kindle. I chose this over a newer Kindle Fire or a tablet computer because the original Kindle can be used for as long as two weeks between charges and can be charged with a 1 amp charger (better than most newer smart phones. I keep this kindle, multiple chargers (both solar and not (charged and checked monthly)), a Goal Zero solar panel, a pair of high power FRS/GMRS walkies and a Baofeng ham walkie in cardboard insulated ammo cans, within a lockable office file cabinet (the kind with flanges around the drawers). I am expecting this to do the trick. If all else fails, I have paper versions of many manuals and I’ll just have to learn to live without commo gear.

  19. Bonnie says

    For my post SHTF news, I saw on the internet a gentleman was talking about his little radio, a T508. What’s really neat is this little radio gets AM/FM. It also has a slot for a micro SD card so you can listen to your music. It can be charged with a solar charger and also hooked up to a little speaker for better sound. On Ebay it costs about $11.00. I got a generic which didn’t have a SD card limit, the T508 says the limit is 8 GB. What I have to store my SHTF info is I have several 3 ring binders that I keep the info in protected by document protectors. Hesperian.org has medical information you can copy and paste such as “where there is no doctor”, “where there is no midwife”, and “where there is no dentist” and others. Ebay has medical supplies such as sutures and surgical blades, you might have to look into the “for veterinary use only” labelling to avoid the red tape. Sorry for getting off topic, stay safe everyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *