Prepping for an EMP and Solar Flares: How to Prepare for an Electromagnetic Pulse

Editor’s Note: This resource has been revised and updated for 2018.

Of all of the reasons to prepare, one that we all need to take seriously is the possibility of a catastrophic EMP, or electromagnetic pulse.  This is especially true right now, as we face a huge amount of solar activity the likes of which could send out huge solar flares wiping out  communication systems and modern electronics.

To be blunt about it, an EMP, if large enough, would affect the entire planet.  In an instant, civilization as we know it would change as we get swept backward in time by a century or two.

NASA Solar FlareMay 2013

WHAT IS AN EMP?

For those of you that only kind-of, sort-of understand EMPs, in the simplest of terms, an EMP is is an abrupt burst of electromagnetic radiation.

There could be many causes.  To start with, certain types of high energy explosions, such as a nuclear explosion, will cause an EMP.  Likewise, an EMP can be the result of a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field.  Or, as I have mentioned before, it can be the result of Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from solar activity.  But perhaps most sobering of all, is the possibility of a man-made EMP weapon that is purposely deployed in order to wreak devastation on our planet.

Regardless of the trigger, an EMP can be devastating to the power grid, resulting in rapidly changing electrical fields that can create fluctuating electrical currents and wild voltage surges.  Bottom line?  The electronic gizmos we have come to rely on would be toast.  The microchips would be fried or so severely damaged that they would become useless.

LIFE AFTER AN EMP

What would life be like following a massive EMP event or episode?  There would be no power, no transportation systems, no communication systems, no banking, no internet, no food and no water delivery systems.  This would truly be an End of The World As We Know it situation.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What if the power went out and never came back on?  Could you fend for yourself?
  • Could you keep yourself warm in the winter and cool in the summer?
  • Where would you find food?
  • What would you use for money if credit cards and ATM’s no longer worked?
  • How would you get from one place to another without transportation?
  • How would you wash your clothes?
  • How would you keep yourself healthy if sanitation systems were no longer functional and medicine could no longer be manufactured?
  • And the biggest question of all, how would you communicate with the rest of the world?

An electromagnetic pulse could potentially fry the vast majority of all microchips throughout the world. In an instant, nearly all of electronic devices would be rendered useless.

Back in 2004 the Wall Street Journal wrote:

“No American would necessarily die in the initial <EMP> attack, but what comes next is potentially catastrophic. The pulse would wipe out most electronics and telecommunications, including the power grid. Millions could die for want of modern medical care or even of starvation since farmers wouldn’t be able to harvest crops and distributors wouldn’t be able to get food to supermarkets. Commissioner Lowell Wood calls EMP attack a “giant continental time machine” that would move us back more than a century in technology to the late 1800s.”

MASSIVE SOLAR FLARES DO HAPPEN – REALLY!

We are risk right now; perhaps not so much from an overt EMP attack by our enemies (although that could) happen, but from at attack by Mother Nature and the sun.  NASA readily admits that the number of solar flares increases approximately every 11 years, and that the sun is currently moving towards another solar maximum, likely in 2013.

Will it happen?  All I can say is that it has happened before, with the “Carrington Event” of 1859:

At 11:18 AM on the cloudless morning of Thursday, September 1, 1859, 33-year-old Richard Carrington—widely acknowledged to be one of England’s foremost solar astronomers—was in his well-appointed private observatory. Just as usual on every sunny day, his telescope was projecting an 11-inch-wide image of the sun on a screen, and Carrington skillfully drew the sunspots he saw.

On that morning, he was capturing the likeness of an enormous group of sunspots. Suddenly, before his eyes, two brilliant beads of blinding white light appeared over the sunspots, intensified rapidly, and became kidney-shaped. Realizing that he was witnessing something unprecedented and “being somewhat flurried by the surprise,” Carrington later wrote, “I hastily ran to call someone to witness the exhibition with me. On returning within 60 seconds, I was mortified to find that it was already much changed and enfeebled.” He and his witness watched the white spots contract to mere pinpoints and disappear.

It was 11:23 AM. Only five minutes had passed.

Just before dawn the next day, skies all over planet Earth erupted in red, green, and purple auroras so brilliant that newspapers could be read as easily as in daylight. Indeed, stunning auroras pulsated even at near tropical latitudes over Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Hawaii.

Even more disconcerting, telegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on fire. Even when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted.

“What Carrington saw was a white-light solar flare—a magnetic explosion on the sun,” explains David Hathaway, solar physics team lead at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

One of the scariest things about an EMP is that unlike just about any other disaster, this one can happen either naturally or due to man’s intervention. This is in contrast to most disasters are either man-made (nuclear, economic, war, etc.) or natural (hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood, etc.).  An EMP is unique in that it can be caused both ways.

EMPs can be caused by three things: lightning, solar storms, or nuclear explosions. In fact, many people have already experienced low-impact EMPs already, and may not have thought about it.  This is because low-impact EMPs easily happen on a small scale during a lightning and thunderstorm.

Let’s walk through what happens.

A bolt of lightning hits a local transformer or nearby power line. A huge surge of electricity is sent through the lines to a small number of surrounding buildings. If that surge happens to hit your home, it may take out devices not connected to a power surge protector.  Things affected are plugged-in televisions, stereos, microwaves, and other appliances. These items are easily replaced so no real harm is done other than a little inconvenience and a blow to the budget.

On the other hand, when an EMP occurs on a much larger scale, it is a lot more than an inconvenience.  It is a disaster of major proportions because nothing works!  All of the electronics we depend upon to live our lives day-to-day become inoperable.  If this were to happen, we would have a major mess on our hands – a mess that could last for years.

Okay, so we know EMPs can be caused by major solar storms and even by a lightning storm if we are unlucky enough to be near a strike.  But how likely is a man-made EMP that can cripple the nation or even the entire world?

Pretty likely. There really are real-life EMP weapons out there. According to the global intelligence firm Stratfor, the technology that is involved in creating an EMP attack will be a big part of modern warfare going forward.

Additional Reading:  Gauging the Threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack

In addition, there are also readily available and relatively cheap ways that localized terrorists, domestic or otherwise, can wreak havoc on target areas. Using explosives to take out power lines and send a big surge through them is one possibility. This type of attack could take out a big portion of the power grid. If an entire power plant is destroyed, power will be knocked out to entire cities or even large segments of the country.

Additional Reading:  What Happens When the Lights Go Out for Good?

Think about that and consider the effects that go beyond not being able to charge your cell phone or turn on a television. Without electricity, anything plugged into the ‘grid’ will be fried unless it has been protected by a Faraday cage.  But what else… your car?  If it is less than 20 years old, it will very likely be rendered useless.

Do you think you’re safe with a generator for power?  Think again.  Many modern generators have electronic circuits in them to help regulate the flow of electricity. Bye-bye generator.

Getting back on point, seasoned preppers feel they are prepared because they have their own food resources and have practiced disconnecting from the grid to hone their off-grid skills. The less experienced of beginning prepper may not understand the effect of a total grid-down situation. Anything you buy, whether it is coffee, sugar, or household batteries and matches, is going to be in very short supply if a long-term disruption occurs.  Consumables may not be available at all.

Transportation will be difficult over distances, and factories will not be able to function. If you still have money in a bank or other financial institution, it may be inaccessible and completely unavailable for a very long time. It may “disappear” and barter may become the currency of the day.

Alright, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Okay, okay, so people could cause major havoc with a nuclear strike or EMP weapon.  And lightning can take out a local transformer.  But nuclear strikes are a mutually assured destruction so they are not that imminent, and lightning can be recovered from quickly. Sure, terrorists can attack with a weapon, but there are protections up to help stop that… so?”

No matter what protections there are, those things can still happen, but solar storms are something we simply can’t stop or control.

Solar storms powerful enough to cause widespread EMP destruction happen roughly every 11 years.  Consider this: if a solar flare erupts, it can take as little as five minutes for major damage to occur. Not pleasant to think about, but planes, helicopters and anything electronic in the air will fall to the earth when an EMP hits. Nuclear plants will melt down, and people will go to war with each other in the streets over food and supplies.

When thinking about the destruction a widespread EMP could cause, think “throwback.” Everyone will instantly be transported without the use of a time machine to the very early 1900s, or even the 1800s.

Skills, Strategies, and Supplies You Need to Prepare for an EMP

On the plus side, other than nuclear attack, most EMPs are small and are not deadly to people, only electronics. You are likely to survive a common EMP. That does not mean, however, it will be an easy life. If you are not prepared, the struggle will be very real and very difficult.

Skills

Learn how to purify water. No matter how much water you can store, eventually you will run out. When planning for an EMP, don’t think short term. A major EMP disaster will be longer-lasting than anything you can stock up for.

Learn to cook outdoors over an open fire.

Learn to cook from scratch using bulk foods, canned goods, and fruits and vegetables you have grown yourself or that you acquire from neighboring farms or farmer’s markets.

Practice and be prepared to be a leader. Family members, as well as people in your surrounding area, are likely to be distraught and scared. It will take strong leadership to develop a watch group to protect each other from marauders.

Develop old time, pioneer skills that allow you to continue to carry on life, even if it is not the same as before the EMP strike.

Additional Reading: 46 Pioneer Skills for the Modern Homesteader

Attend flea markets, garage sales, or estates sales and learn the art of bargaining.  This skill will be useful in a barter economy.

Strategies

Build a Faraday cage and acquire a “Faraday collection”.  Place small electronics like radios, laptops, inverters, batteries, watches and even cell phones in a galvanized metal garbage can, or a popcorn can that is insulated with cardboard or Styrofoam so they can be ready and keep you connected to the outside world following an EMP attack.  You can find out how to build a quick and easy Faraday cage here.

Note:  Keep in mind that even protected electronics may not work following a blast depending. No one knows for sure what will work and what will not, with the differentiator possibly being their frequency range.  For that reason, try to have multiples of the items you wish to have on hand.  They can be old and outdated by today’s standard but that will not matter.  What you want to do is increase the likelihood that at least one device of each type will work.

Have a long-term supply of food and water, or the resources to generate them without power.

Get a bike! There’s nothing better than pedal power when an EMP hits, and it beats walking.

Learn to grow food in whatever area you have available.  If that is not possible due to locale or other reasons, develop relationships with others in your community that do have the ability to grow food.  Offer to lend a helping hand in return for some of the bounty.  There is not a gardener on the planet that will turn down an offer to pull weeds!

Be prepared to defend yourself and your property.  You need to decide how you want to arm yourself whether with a firearm, pepper spray, a baseball bat, or a bow and arrow.

Seek out like minded folks that will barter for things they need in return for items that you have available.

Live a healthy lifestyle.  If stuff happens, you will be much better off if you are healthy and not reliant on exotic prescription drugs or medical procedures.  Eat healthy, natural and real foods and get regular exercise.  This just makes good common sense.

Supplies

Create your own power with solar panels.  Surprisingly, the sun is also the most powerful resource for surviving an EMP as well as one of its instigators. Solar panels themselves should not be affected by EMP bursts.  On the other hand, the inverters and generators connected to the panels power may be destroyed by an EMP strike.  Keep this in mind and keep a spare inverter in your Faraday cage so it is ready to replace the one you may be using that gets fried.

TVs, video games, and computers will no longer work.  Stock up on board games, books (including coloring books and pencils for the adults), and puzzles to keep your mind occupied while you wait out the crisis.

Have plenty of emergency candles, matches, flashlights and extra batteries on hand at all times.

Make sure you have a generous supply of the prescription medications you use on a regular basis. Also, stock the first aid kit with lots of supplies, and plenty of over-the-counter medicines that will be impossible to get once local stores are sold out (or looted).

Store plenty of drinkable water plus some method to purify water. Locate supplemental water sources now and be prepared to purify the water on your own.

Stock plenty of basic, non-perishable food that will get you by while you are learning to survive under the most trying of circumstances. (See 20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan.)

Recommendation: Bug In or Bug Out?

When an EMP occurs, your best bet is to “bug in.”  Hunker down and deal with the aftermath.

An EMP, whether natural or manmade, is likely to happen quickly and it will be impossible to have enough notice for running off to a remote retreat or bug-out location. In addition, it is pretty likely that there isn’t going to be anywhere you can run to that is far enough away to not be affected by a major attack.

If you do have a bug-out location, and most of your supplies are located at a distant location, the first few days will be difficult.  Getting to your bug-out destination, if you can even get there, will most certainly be harder than you had planned for. Conditions may be dire as the unprepared mob the streets and roads, willing to attack anyone and everyone that appear to have more than they do.

In that case, it is still best to hunker down in your current location for the initial days after an EMP strike.  Wait until everything and everyone settles down a bit. Have some food and water on hand, and other emergency supplies to allow for several days of seclusion. Before venturing out, wait to find out if the EMP was caused by a temporary issue like a lightning strike, or if it was a long-term disruption that will not be solved anytime some by the local power company.

Once you are sure you can make it to your long-term bug-out location, you will likely be hoofing it to your destination.  Be prepared to carry what you need and to take the time it takes to get there.  It is also a good idea to be fully armed because you will be threatened along the way.  Guaranteed.

THE FINAL WORD

We are all members of the 21st century prepper movement.  We are learning to be self-reliant and to educate ourselves relative to the ways of old.  We are stocking up on essentials and learning to prepare for the worst of times with a positive mindset.

As frightening as a massive solar flare and an EMP may be, we can only do what we can do but even a little bit is better than nothing.  That said, I hope an EMP never happens.  But if it does, I want to be ready to fend for myself and to continue to live a rich and rewarding life in spite of it all.

For more information on solar flares and EMPs, visit the NASA website.  It will make a believer out of you.

  1. Actually, it would be worse than that: it would be like going back 200 years with over 400 nuclear reactor core meltdowns going on at the same time….

    1. Here is an article put out by MI2G.com a couple of years ago .. the same year that NASA put out there study that was over a thousand pages big but said the same thing.. enjoy..

      Could Super Solar Flares Take Us Back To 5000 BC?

      London, UK – 17th June 2010, 12:50 GMT

      Dear ATCA Open & Philanthropia Friends

      [Please note that the views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. ATCA conducts collective Socratic dialogue on global opportunities and threats.]

      It is a very simple equation: Energy = Civilisation. Without any form of energy we regress to circa 5000 BC. Energy powers every aspect of our modern lifestyle: clean water, fresh food, lighting, comfortable shelter, mobility, communication, safety and security. Our very own giant hot star, the sun, is earth’s primary source of energy. On June 12th, at 00:55 Universal Time, an M2-class solar flare sparked a bright flash of extreme ultraviolet radiation, propelling a shock wave through the sun’s atmosphere, and hurling a billion-ton Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) into space. According to scientists at NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), “The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity… at the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms.” One needs to go back over 8,000 years in order to find a time when the sun was, on average, as active as it is at present!

      Solar Coronal Mass Ejection
      The sun supports almost all life on earth via photosynthesis and drives earth’s climate and weather. Solar flares have been connected with weather extremes, and there have been some powerful lightning storms in recent days:

      1. BP temporarily suspended siphoning operations on its Gulf of Mexico oil gusher after a drill ship collecting the oil was hit by lightning;
      2. A 62 feet — six storey — tall statue of Jesus Christ in Ohio came to a blazing end when it was struck by lightning in a thunderstorm and burned to the ground; and
      3. A bolt of lightning struck a local gasoline storage tank in North Carolina, erupting into a wall of flames that leapt as high as 100 feet and belched a plume of smoke in the shape of an arch across eight lanes of US interstate highway.

      The one critical factor that did not operate according to plan in many of the recent severe lightning-strikes was the electrical grounding system, which was supposed to draw lightning away from the structures. The sun has begun to awaken and possibly exhale a massive solar storm on planet earth’s electromagnetic field. Are several interlocking factors in play that could bring life as we know it to a stand-still via a catastrophic disruption?

      Catastrophic Disruption

      Our 21st century society is micro-managed by computers, 24/7 internet communications and interlocking electric grids. All are extremely vulnerable to outside forces, both natural and man-made. The National Academy of Sciences 2008 report titled “Severe Space Weather Events — Societal and Economic Impacts,” predicts that our sophisticated technology is vulnerable to a severe solar storm. In a worst case scenario, developed countries with high-tech cities could face blackouts and devastating financial costs 20 times higher than the economic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Sometimes catastrophe records are shattered abruptly by a wide margin. Now that it has been recalculated that the BP gusher is spilling over 60,000 barrels of oil a day since April 20th, as opposed to the original estimate of 5,000 barrels per day, this means we are adding the equivalent of one Exxon Valdez catastrophe every four days. So far, that equates to more than 13 times the potency of Exxon Valdez in 1989, and counting.

      Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) and Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP)

      The most dangerous type of solar flares for humanity are the Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) that occur during the most active period of the sun’s 11-year cycles. This time, the zenith of CMEs is set for 2012 as the solar cycle #24 reaches a crescendo. A CME happens when gas erupts from the solar corona — “crown” of outer atmosphere surrounding the sun — and carries a massive amount of radioactive material that can reach earth in three to five days. One potentially catastrophic disruption humanity is not prepared for is an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) or a burst of electromagnetic radiation from a major Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the sun. This would create a sudden, massive fluctuation in the earth’s electromagnetic field similar to the detonation of a High-altitude Electro-Magnetic Pulse (HEMP) nuclear device. The resulting electric and magnetic fields would then couple with electrical grid systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges.

      Solar flares vary in strength, and are highly radioactive, with x-rays and extreme heat. Their impact varies for the two sides of the same coin:

      1. Humanity: We are normally protected from extreme solar radiation by the earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere. Earth’s magnetosphere deflects huge bursts of energy and keeps us from cooking like food in a microwave oven. However, strong solar flares can have a significant impact on degrading the earth’s magnetic field, letting the harmful rays through.

      2. Technology: Solar flares can damage satellites and x-rays can disturb radio and other wireless communications. Although there have been big sun storms before in history, we have never been this dependent on the technology they can disrupt. Small microprocessors and chips that power our vehicles; the Global Positioning System (GPS) that helps us navigate; Internet, satellite and mobile phones can all be affected. Immediate cash sources such as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and credit card transactions may also malfunction. In the event of an EMP nothing using electrical or electronic systems may function correctly. This means no power for:

      i. Pumping fuel into vehicles;
      ii. Recharging batteries for flashlights, radios, pocket computers or communication devices;
      iii. Withdrawing cash or using credit cards to pay for food, fuel and services; and
      iv. Transportation of food, essential goods and professionals for emergency and healthcare services.

      Semi-Permanent Damage

      If a truly massive Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) hits earth, it could practically take out the world’s electricity distribution on a semi-permanent basis. It would take many years, if not decades, to repair the world’s electrical system, even if replacement parts were immediately available. There would be massive damage to power generation, distribution facilities, substations and countless transformers and switching equipment everywhere. When high power transformers used in substations or on utility poles are damaged, they must be scrapped or rebuilt. If the factories that create or repair these electrical components are also without power, they will be unable to rebuild or repair electrical equipment. With an AC power outage, there will be no diesel fuel available to fill the tanks of large heavy goods vehicles used to transport and install the massive electrical components.

      It takes an enormous amount of power to bring a power plant online. This power must come from another power plant. If all power plants were knocked off line, or all those in a specific region, there would be no means to start them back up again. It would take a year or two to get one operational again and additional years to power the rest. So it might be a decade for human civilisation to achieve a semblance of what it was, prior to the paralysis caused by a massive electromagnetic pulse.

      US Department of Defense (DoD) EMP Tests

      Earlier this year, when the US DoD tested the effects of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) generator, the expected EMP level required to disable vehicles based on previous studies was 30 to 80 kV/m (kilo Volt per metre). However, the DoD began testing at only 5 kV/m. Driving a 2010 Toyota Prius through the path of the EMP generator pulse, the car dashboard immediately went blank and the Prius halted. This is the result of using smaller microchips and circuits, which makes them even more susceptible to EMP. Consider then that our entire 21st century civilisation is completely dependent on computers for power, lifestyle synchronisation, and everything else we do. Yet we don’t have any backup in the event of a massive electromagnetic pulse.

      Carrington Event

      Bursts of electromagnetic radiation have occurred before, the most notable being the Carrington event when the most powerful solar storm in recorded history hit earth. Just before noon on September 1st 1859, Richard Carrington — a 33 year old British astronomer — was observing an image of the sun on a white screen and was drawing the sunspots and solar flares. Suddenly, two beads of intense white light appeared over the sunspots. In sixty seconds the light had significantly diminished, and within five minutes completely disappeared from the screen. Just before dawn the next day, skies all over planet earth erupted in red, green, and purple auroras so brilliant that newspapers could be read as easily as in daylight. Carrington wrote that the glow of the flare brought campers out of their beds. They thought it was morning. They began preparing breakfast! Stunning auroras pulsated even at near tropical latitudes over Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Hawaii. Worldwide, telegraph systems — the only equipment resembling today’s Internet and electrical grid in place at the time — went berserk. Carrington’s report makes reference to spark discharges that electrified telegraph lines, shocked telegraph operators and set telegraph paper on fire. Even when the telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted!

      On March 13th 1989, during the solar maximum of solar cycle #22, the northeast US and eastern Canada experienced a geomagnetic storm as a result of a large solar flare. This disrupted power in Quebec blacking out 6 million people for 9 hours. Like the Carrington event, this also induced current into the lines, causing power surges that melted a transformer in New Jersey. There were also 200 other incidents reported on the North American power grid including a nuclear power plant in New Jersey.

      What would happen today if another solar flare the size of the 1859 Carrington Event were to hit earth? According to a report by the National Academy of Science (NAS) it could induce electrical currents that would knock out at least 300 main transformers cutting off power to 130 million people, all within 90 seconds.

      Disruptions throughout the solar system suggest that the present solar cycle #24 is likely to produce Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) rivaling that of the 1859 Carrington Event. If this were to happen during dry conditions, many wooded parts would be totally in flames. The smoke and heat could affect weather patterns in places far removed from the fires not to mention disruptions in the food supply chain. Cascading catastrophic occurrences could happen concurrently. There would be no help to call on, since everyone would be busy dealing with their own local emergencies. Further:

      1. Loss of ground cover;
      2. Failure of irrigation systems due to a lack of electric power; and
      3. Persistent use of herbicides which have destroyed natural ground cover;

      would set us up for dust storms that might dwarf the ones in the 1930s during the Great Depression. We would, as before, probably see mass migrations to more sustainable regions.

      Why The Sudden Commotion?

      Some scientists believe an incoming brown dwarf star, several times the mass of Jupiter, is responsible for disrupting our solar system’s heliosphere. The brown dwarf has disturbed Pluto’s orbit. It is also disturbing the orbit of Jupiter and the rest of the celestial bodies in our solar system. The sun is emitting Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) during the last few months that are having a significant impact on the earth’s geomagnetic axis and electromagnetic field.

      Conclusion: Prevention and Precaution

      We must implement measures to protect our electrical power grids from a catastrophic Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) event caused by a super solar Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). Without intervention our modern civilisation remains utterly defenceless. Clean water, fresh food, lighting, comfortable shelter, mobility, communication, safety and security, would no longer be available or accessible, without electricity. The electrical power grids enable the superior quality of lifestyle and advanced standard of living within our 21st century tightly networked civilisation. Without modern technology at our fingertips, we would collectively revert back to sub-standard survival living circa 5000 BC within a matter of weeks. We no longer have skills or equipment to live as we did a thousand years ago. In such a scenario, sustainable off grid communities — cities or regions using alternative energy sources — may fair better. Avoiding some of the damage, they may be able to sustain some degree of normalcy, working infrastructure and capability.

      The electric grids around the world are dynamic and real time, having no storage. Production is dynamically orchestrated to meet current demand. Given that we do not have storage of energy and depend on a real time system, this is a severe vulnerability which also decreases efficiency. However, backed with USD 75 million in US Department of Energy smart grid demonstration grants, the first large-scale distributed battery storage project is being started in the US.

      The main US agency for watching the sun is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Environment Center (SEC). The SEC warns of impending solar storms so electric power, cell phone and satellite companies ought to take precautions. Tens of millions of dollars in protective measures properly implemented prior to an EMP event are likely to result in trillions of dollars saved following an EMP event. Ideally, all modern electronics ought to be EMP hardened, which is not possible. Given the practical constraints, parliamentary measures to protect the most critical infrastructure — such as generators, substations, power transformers and switching equipment of our national grid(s) — must be implemented as soon as possible. By protecting the national grid(s) through EMP hardening of critical electrical-electronic devices and equipment we can reduce the power grids’ vulnerability to damaging surges. NASA also advises:

      1. The private sector;
      2. Air travel industry; and
      3. Electric power utilities

      to take special precautions for the future when a colossal solar storm surges through earth. Smaller components and communications equipment — necessary to maintain continuity of operations during an emergency — also need to be protected from an EMP event. The time to initiate pre-emptive action is now, before a super solar flare takes us back to circa 5000 BC?

      [ENDS]

        1. You are welcome.. I agree with the last one that commented that it would be a crap shoot to be hit by a solar flair.. I myself believe it would be a cascade event.. if you look back in history a squirrel took out the better part of the North East United states and Canada.. Once one system fails another then another. The United States has been so much more worried about what is happening someplace else that our congress has neglected to take care of our nation. Leaving a crumbling infrastructure that has instead of progressive infrastructure maintenance to a defensive infrastructure maintenance. We have out dated wiring, water lines and gas lines to mention just a few not to mention crumbling bridges and roads.. With this in mind any country that has us in its sights could set off one emp warhead and start the cascade event.
          The other thing that I haven’t to many people talk about is history. Look at historical warriors and how they defeated more powerful enemies. They divided the more powerful forces and once they were divided conquered them with a much smaller force. split the forces and you weaken the whole. Now look at us today.. we have our defence forces in how many different places and threats from how many different area’s.. with us dividing up our strength. Then with economics we are at our most vulnerable there. Our corporations have outsourced our economy and our Congress still is giving economic stimulus for other countries and given tax incentives to corporations that hide their earnings outside out shores. and printing up more money to accomplish a meager growth. take this into account and then take the five billion away for food stamps and the eic tax credit and you put the nation in a death spiral. the money that the low and middle class with children spend is amazing you take that little bit away then award more stimulus to other countries.. what was it cut five billion and increase the other to forty billion.. well my math says it doesn’t add up then expect those that you are taking the funds away from to pay for it..

  2. Gaye. I don’t know if you watch “Under the Dome”, I believe on CBS, but last night they thought they were going to run out of water, and my, oh my, the panic. The run on the grocery store, violence in the street, murder to get food and drink from the restaurants, and yes, even rape. There were some law enforcement, but they couldn’t do it all. Some law enforcement was busy taking care of their family. This all happened in a few minutes after a truck ran into the water tower and they lost all supplied water.
    I wondered if this episode was for all the preppers to show them what could happen. It was eye opening.

    1. I believe Under the Dome is on Amazon Prime and yes, I do watch it. I have not watched the latest episode, though, so thanks for the heads up.

      I think you meant that the episode was for non-preppers, right? Most preppers do suspect that the worst will happen if supplies are cut off and that humans will go after each other with violence and worse. I wish it were not so but that is a probable likelihood.

      Let us hope that it never happens.

  3. I shouldn’t really be shocked at the number of people that look lost when they don’t have some electronic gadget in their hands, but it still does amaze me, how so many people can’t even drive without a GPS, speak to a friend without having text messaging capabilities and so much more.They are going to be in big trouble if we do ever experience an EMP. Or am I just over reacting?

    1. Mike – I agree with you totally. I think the art of communicating in real-time and not by email or text, is being lost. Even in my own case, I force myself to pick up the phone and actually TALK to someone rather than rely on electronic communications.

  4. One silver lining to the dark cloud. All of the surveillance equipment installed by the alphabet agencies and all the data they have collected on would become instantly worthless and non-existent.

    One thing you did not mention was to have cash and silver coins at home. Because credit cards, debit cards and atms will not work.

    Even if you have a full tank of gas, most likely your vehicle has enough electronics to be shut down too. Were not completely sure. Some experiments have mixed results.

    In the event that your vehicle does not work, have good walking shoes in your Get Home Bag (GHB).

    If you live by an airport… well all I can say is DUCK. Hope you are not in an elevator. Hope you are not these people. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIaxCW9BsDs

    What plans have you made if part of your family is out of town for business or college? Will they survive in place or hike back home? if they can’t make it, can the remaining members execute the family survival plan, or has the missing person been doing all the prepping and planning and training?

    1. No worries – I make a ton of typos myself – to the point of embarrassment actually. I try to correct them the morning after my article posts but the typos still go out in my email updates. So like I said, no worries!

  5. I try to imagine different things that would affect society as a whole. very daunting. those big airplanes flying around all the time, would drop like rocks. no power, no fuel delivery, no food delivery, or medical.
    no water,waste treatment,garbage collection, and roving zombies. Just like in the new TV series “Under the Dome. I’ve been watching that, and thought of my fellow preppers. The book,” One Second After” by William Forstchen, Cormac Mccarty’s “The Road”, and the TV series “Jericho” all give some scenario’s on things to expect in an event such as an EMP. High voltage transformers being fried would take, not months, but a year or two, at best because our govt. despite dire warnings, hasn’t done anything to protect the general population. With no electricity, it would take some time to get them ordered, built, transported, and installed, and, with workers being busy with protecting their own families, would they have enough trained people to do that task. no alarms, police,medical(hospitals, pharmacies, drug , fire fighting, no phones,tv,cars,news,etc. etc…. there are ways to survive, if you are at least partially prepared and have hard copies of books,maps, pre-80’s vehicle to drive around in. that is why I want to learn old skills. what do you do when all of your shoes,socks jackets, bras, underwear, gloves wear out and you have nothing left? My husband is hard on shoes, and pants, but he is also skilled at dressing out an animal hide and making things. old tires might be used as the shoe bottoms, but finding material for bras and other intricacies that we take for granted? any ideas,anyone?

    1. I have been hoarding old clothes up in the loft. These are things that have good fabric but perhaps are a bit stained or out of style. I already tested the sewing machine using solar power so I feel good about that. I also have a lot of yarn and can knit sock and gloves if it comes to that.

      I don’t have any ideas for bras – mine tend to last a long time. And I have two pairs of Timberland books that will never wear out.

  6. Gaye, by the by, I haven’t forgotten about worms. I have some and should be coming over soon. there are little babies in there. I also have some french tarragon if you are interested. I also have dozens of tomatoes, hoping they will ripen soon. I found a trick to help ripen them if the warmth doesn’t do the ripening for me, but would like bring them over to dehydrate. think we need to all have a catching up soon. been busy trying to finish things, and are behind in splitting wood for the winter. Hate to say it but I smell fall already. the humming birds have almost all but disappeared(headed south), and the maple leaves have been turning for more than a week now, more than a month earlier than last year.

  7. Wow, the “Fear Porn” blogs do get some replies. I am stymied by your ignorance of Solar Flares and wish you had written an article about preparing for the Bubonic Plague since it would have been as helpful. To find the latest pop culture fear and exploit it for your blog is just lazy. I quit reading Activist Post since they put your article on their site, so good job on that.
    I am sure your intention was good but come on, do some research next time instead of just referring your readers to Nasa dot gov.

    1. Instead of criticizing and making vague innuendos about ignorance why don’t you educate? In my opinion you were “lazy” in your response.

  8. Mike, if you are such an expert in
    EMP’s please educate us,
    but dont be coming here and
    spewing accusations. Gaye DOES her
    research, do you. oh, and “fear porn”
    the fear porn is the lapdance media, not Gaye.
    Play nice or zip it!

  9. In an unintended way, the response from “Mike” should be beneficial to the reader. Mike is a rather honest example of those who taken by surprise and shocked beyond belief when it it happens. Thanks, Mike, in your case even ignorance has some value.

  10. My worry is this. No matter how prepared we may be we would still face the ever looming disaster of a nuclear meltdown. Without power, the reactors would blow sky high. We would then face deadly radiation poisoning. So what do you propose then?

  11. One Second After is a great book to read on EMP’s and survival after….based on some historical events ( footnoted).

    1. Yes and no. I actually have a partially completed article on the subject.

      The short answer is that the solar panel itself may be somewhat resistant but there will likely be damage to the wiring and also to the solar controller. The real problem of course, is that until an EMP event occurs, we do not know for sure.

  12. anything with computer chips in it. the panels would probably be ok, but an inverter and maybe wiring would be fried. If the power is out for extended periods, nuclear reactors would be comprimised and they are all over the place. dont know that we would survive too long, everything would be permeated, plastics, wood, anything porous, thus contaminated, so eventually we would be subjected to radiation at some point. I think that stuff sealed in mylar bags may be ok if they are not opened until quite some time after a fallout. would have to do more research on it. I have charcoal tabs, but havent bought any of the other stuff.

  13. I’m an IT Professional who is also an Electronics Design Engineer. It would depend on what “Class” of flare hits the earth, and WHO is facing the sun when it does. It’s a crap shoot in more ways than one. While this kind of event is the most LIKELY thing to take us back to the stone age – just the odds of a massive (X9+) flare hitting the earth isn’t too likely.. then considering that only half the world is facing the sun at any one time, we would have chance to “duck” it possibly.. and.. the further away the USA is from the direct path (evening or morning) we might escape serious damage.

    But, it’s true that if a “Carrington Event” class flare hit us.. it would take a very long time for whoever gets hit by it to recover.

    Another thing. Cars & trucks would most likely be fine – even with a massive flare. The energy it would take for an EMP to penetrate a car’s metal shell and enter (by induction) into the electrical system would have to be beyond comprehension. The Navy did some test using a carrier and an enormous EMP generator. The maximum effective distance was less than 50 yards. The emp from this device was equivalent to an X30 solar flare.

    This stuff exists in movies and has carried over to the prepper movement so that everyone thinks their cars will just die.. doesn’t work like that.

    However.. electrical power grids are another thing. They are designed to “fail” if they experience overloads. More and more of the HUGE transformers that make up our Grid (over 2000 of them) are being “hardened” against EMP surges whether from Flares or a Nuclear device.

    While we are in no way safe.. we are NOT as vulnerable as we were even just 20 years ago.

    1. I said all that so that people don’t fall into the “Hype” that if an X28 or X30 (massive flare) hits us we will loose everything.. we will not. 🙂

      1. Hi James,

        How does one equate a naval ship with a modern car?
        Seems like the electronics and shielding would be utterly different. Love your post though. Got any scientific references we could check out or are you just relaying stories? Naval vets are know for those. 😉

  14. EMP and Coroidal Mass Ejection(CME)/Solar flares/Carrington Events are different things with differing effects. An EMP is an instantaneous event that will affect a given area. The higher the altitude of the EMP weapon, the larger the affected area, but it will not be world wide. A solar flare, on the other hand, can last for days, affecting the whole planet. The effects of each, as I mentioned, are different. EMP’s have three components which can knock out anything in its range. I say “can”, not “will”. Some things will be destroyed (sensitive microelectronics). Some will be affected but not destroyed (say, a car whose ECM gets “glitched”, causing a need to turn off the car, and restart). And some things will be unaffected (older cars, older electronics, “hardened” military systems, etc). The power grid will likely go down, and not come back for several months, maybe years. The biggest problem will be that we will get “knocked back 200 years”, but we’ll have a population that can’t be sustained with 200 yr old technology, there will be very few people around who have the knowledge to survive with 200 yr old technology, and our current survival supply lines (food, water, etc) are not set up to use 200 yr old technology. Farms are dependent on diesel fuel, large machinery, and a ready supply of water. The water supply is dependent on purification and pumping operations that require electricity. Casualties will be in the millions.

    CME’s/solar flares have one of the three components of EMP’s, but their primary effect will be to long conductors like long power transmission lines. The large transformers on the ends of these transmission lines are vulnerable, as is anything connected to the power grid. Any surge protector should protect anything connected. BUT… these large transformers are used to distribute and balance power demands around the country. Without these transformers, we will experience MANY blackouts, and some areas may be totally without power until the transformers get repaired or replaced, which will take months (maybe years). Some areas will be like NOLA post Katrina. Other areas will be hardly affected. There will likely be casualties, but nothing on the scale of an EMP.

    Bottom line: EMP’s can’t affect the entire globe, but the areas they do affect will be devastated; likely a grid down scenario for many months, possibly years, with millions of casualties. CME’s/solar flares can affect the entire globe, but the effects will be much less severe. I would MUCH rather get hit with another Carrington Event than an EMP.

    1. A Carrington Event would be global, knocking out any chance of anyone beign able to supply the equipment necessary to get society back together. Take electrical transformers as one example: most around the world could be fused into useless metal blobs and would need to be replaced. However, to replace them requires a factory provided with copper (wire) to wind (using power); then transportation which is set up to use oil that can no longer be extracted nor pumped around.

      If just one continent is knocked by an EMP, the affected countries can be re-supplied by the rest of the world, who can get those countries back running within a few months, helping them become sustainable within a few years. Sure, their national debt would be horrendous and they would never be the same country again but most citizens would survive and eventually find a way to thrive.

      If the world is hit by a catastrophic solar flare, there will be nobody to help anyone else. Each country (if the term ‘country’ really continues to have any meaning in a global financial meltdown) would be struggling to fend for itself; each town would be striving to survive, each family working out how to survive (and most likely failing to do so in the first 2 years). The resultant sick, nuclear-polluted, remnants of human kind would have to be concentrating too hard on surviving to be able to rebuild the electrical infrastructure we have today. Rather, they or their descendants would start almost from scratch, with the one benefit of knowing how things work (if the remaining paper libraries haven’t all been burned for fuel). The one thing they would understand, far better than even the same numbers in today’s society, is that building a society that relies on flimsy electical and electronic systems is not the way to secure humankind’s future!

  15. I commend you good folks for a lot of insightful information. There are a lot of “ifs”, unknowns. IF we, the US, get hit I would expect those in high density areas would be most effected. My observation is that “city folks” are often the least prepared, space constrained and take gov’t services for granted. There is even some dispute about need for grounding a Faraday cage. Old tube radios would work IF there are any stations transmitting. The wave effect of: loss of power, cell, internet followed by water shortage will lead to rampant violence particularly in cities. The fight to survive. gather what food, water, etc needed will make for mayhem. It will not take long before the big effects, nuclear meltdown,
    can’t flush, bath, cook. Food spoils quickly. I feel badly for big city folks. The rural areas may well do better, without transportation, crime may not spread as well in the country.
    To be sure, don’t count on gov’t, at any level, to be much help. Small groups of reliable, prepared friends I think has the best chance.

  16. I am more fearful that ISSIS Is able to launch an EMP,maybe from a ship off one of our coasts.with what they did in Paris and that they have said that they WILL attack the US,IAM WONDERING JUST WHAT THEY HAVE UP THAIR SLEVE FOR US.We are focused on them attacking soft targets in the US but what if that is just what they want us to do and divert our attention .AM I THE ONLY ONE THAT THINKS THEY WILL ATTACK WITH AN EMP?

  17. A good trash can faraday cage is next on my list of to-do’s. Throw in walkie-talkies, a good emergency weather/police radio, cell phone, chargers, a couple of windable clocks, laptop or tablet computer, watches, small T.V., etc. These items will help you get through after an EMP of any nature.
    Ironically, I was reading about surviving without electricity a few nights ago, and it was thundering and raining outside. Suddenly, the electricity to my home was gone!! Thankfully, it didn’t last long, and the power was back on. But what if? It really made me consider the fact that we assume that our lifestyle will always be the same, but it can change in an instant. If the electricity goes off in your town, you’ll have about 3 days before things get ugly. Think about what you would do in that situation, and starting working on those plans now. Tomorrow may be too late…

  18. One thing I must argue with is the solar flare EMP section…first off, it’s 8 minutes from the sun to the earth, but if a flare is large enough to generate a HEMP event then we’re in deep trouble as there will be ZERO warning (the flare might happen at time x, but we can’t see or learn about the flare until it hits.) Of course most flares will cause damage only when the plasma cloud (CME) arrives which is normally a few DAYS, and minimally a few hours after the event. So there will be warning of an impending solar CME/EMP event and people can take precautions. It won’t save everything, but unplugging everything you can and putting critical electronics in a faraday cage that you seal up with conductive tape will go a long way to making sure you have some minimal electronics survive the event.
    My personal boogey man for EMP is the satellite nuke…where a rogue nation, or just one of our nuclear armed enemies might place a small nuke in a satellite and set it off at a time of their choosing, but when it’s over Kansas if they want to hit all of the continental US, or say over NJ if they want to get Washington DC and the entire Northeastern US. When Iran put up their first satellite is when I decided to start filling up a trash can faraday cage. And now that North Korea has started lobbing satellites skyward, I’m up to 4 trash cans! :/

      1. Aluminized or copper tape, not just your usual duct tape. Gaye has another article on here about do it yourself Faraday cages and I think there was a link to aluminized tape, but basically any metallic tape will help seal out an EMP. The trash can is good, but when paired with the tape it’s even better.

    1. As a general rule of thumb no. If it’s truly a battery and not a battery pack then it’s safe left on a shelf. But any lithium ion or lithium polymer battery packs (generally things with LED indicators on them) have some computer chips built in and those chips are susceptible to EMP damage. So I leave my NiMH and alkaline batteries on a shelf, but all my lithium battery packs with USB ports are safely in a faraday cage, although I do take them out once a month to top them off…they need to be kept from zeroing out charge wise, otherwise they might not work right when I need them, hence the monthly charging cycle just in case.

  19. Not to rain on anyones parade but, what if someone else is at your BOL?

    I am reminded of a close family friend that had a farm near a lake. The house on that farm was broken into on many occasions. Some suspicions was aimed at other neighbors that knew the property was easy pickings since they knew nobody lived there full time.

    1. Break-ins at a BOL have been the subject of many novels in the survival fiction genre. I agree that security can be a real concern. Many preppers geocache their supplies but as of now, I have not done so. Shelly, however, has been making noises about burying an old shipping container full of supplies at our cabin location. No definite plans, however.

  20. I have read many articles about different ways to make an EMP proof storage container, faraday cage. have not found an answer to a question, if a microwaveve is designed to keep the microwaves (similar to EMP) inside the microwave, could you use a broken microwave (functionally broken but the door still seals) as a Faraday cage? Sounds like it would be more reliable than many of the garbage can home made faraday cages?

    1. An internet search will turn up many references to using a microwave oven (old or new) as a Faraday cage. When I wrote my article on putting together a Faraday cage, I decided to test this myself. I put a cell phone in the microwave oven then called it. It rang. This told me that as a Faraday cage, it was not reliable (plus it made me wonder if I was getting zapped by microwaves). Here is the article: //www.backdoorsurvival.com/how-to-build-a-simple-faraday-cage-for-emp-survival/

      1. I like the test but wonder of its applicability. Did you try that same test on the home made faraday cages? Put a phone inside and call it? I am not sure that the wavelength of a cell phone connection would be the same as an EMP pulse?

        1. Yes, I did. Nothing. I could not hear a thing plus it went to voice mail right away, acting as though it was offline.

          At the end of the day, no one knows for sure. That said, do you know of other tests I could have run?

        2. Sorry but I finally made the time to read the article mentioned above. Good article. I guess I am always looking for the easy way out. If the over lap on the lid of the garbage can lid provides protection because radio waves travel in straight lines (don’t bend easily) how much protection would you get if you put your bug-out-bag and associated electronics in the basement? 5 to 7 feet below ground???

  21. we also can’t forget that any time the electricity goes out for two weeks or more, the nuclear power plants will start to melt down. the law only requires the plants to keep two weeks’ worth of diesel fuel on hand, although a few keep more than that. once the diesel generators run out of fuel, the rods can no longer be kept cool, and the meltdown starts. also, it doesn’t take an emp to wreak havoc on our lifestyle due to loss of power. during superstorm sandy, central and eastern long island had little or no damage from the storm itself; my apartment complex only lost power for a few hours. but most of the gas stations in the area didn’t have electricity for another two weeks, so there was very little gas available. if i hadn’t had enough food and water stored, those two weeks could’ve been a lot longer than they were!

    1. The reactors can be made safe fairly easily if the personnel are ok, but it’s the cooling ponds that will be a problem if the plants don’t get diesel resupply before they run out. Cooling ponds keep the spent fuel rods from melting by keeping them submerged, but if the water evaporates too much exposing the rods…bad things happen. And experts that I’ve read say that it would be at least six months before the rods were cool enough to survive exposure to the air. Maybe the Trump administration will finally get a spent nuclear fuel depot setup so as to reduce the risk at all the nuclear power plants scattered around the country.

  22. No. Any reactor can be SCRAM’d, which shuts down production of fast neutrons to stop fission and eliminate heat build-up. The containment vessel remains full of extremely radioactive radionuclides, but even if those leak it’s a localized problem.

    //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scram

      1. Short answer: the diesel generators were within the flood plain for a tsunami which wiped them out, eliminating power to the reactors and virtually guaranteeing a major disaster. Coupled with the direct earthquake damage, they didn’t stand a chance.

        Decent article on the mistakes before the disaster: //news.usc.edu/86362/fukushima-disaster-was-preventable-new-study-finds/

        A more complete report on the disaster: //www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident.aspx

  23. We had an microwave that stopped working. It was a larger one. Tried putting the cell phone inside and called it. We were not able to call the phone, it went right to voice mail. I assumed that this microwave would work as a faraday cage. We have some items in there now. Any other things to try/test?

  24. We (You) have proved that the microwave which was designed to not leak “Microwaves” will also block “radio waves” that cell phones operate on. Do we have somebody reading this that knows the wavelength of Microwaves, cell phone radio waves, and the wave length of an EMP. If they are all close it could give you a warm fuzzy feeling. If they are at opposite ends of the scale I am not sure how solid this conclusion would be?
    I still like to push the question of the value of putting the microwave in the basement. I remember a number or articles saying that the EMP will go in straight lines? They can’t go around corners? How about dropping down 6 or 8 feet below the surface. Question: is the EMP following the curvature of the earth or is it coming in at an angle because it is detonated at some distance (?50 km?) above the surface? Is the wide area of impact due to the EMP wave rolling over the curvature of the earth or a small area with direct EMP impact and a much larger area of electrical grid collapse?

    1. Cellular phones work on any of a number of frequencies depending on which carrier your phone is set to use, as well as the generation. A list of bands with links to specifics is available on Wikipedia:
      //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_frequencies

      Microwave ovens operate at 2.45GHz, right in the middle of the 802.11b/g/n WiFi band (2.4GHz to 2.5GHz), and they are designed to keep the microwaves inside the unit to heat the food rather than letting them out into the environment to interfere with your home electronics. That said, the shielding may be effective at a wider range of frequencies depending on the construction of your particular unit, but it’s not a great idea to depend on that. If it’s all you have, then wrap your items in foil, then put them in the microwave (unplugged!) on something non-conductive…the glass rotating dish would be fine. But if you’re planning ahead of time, the gold standard is a galvanized metal trash can with tight fitting lid. No wasted space inside the can, it’s cheaper than a microwave, and until you tape it up it looks like normal household stuff (for those worried about OpSec.)
      To truly test your particular gear requires some fancy electronics as can be seen in this YouTube video of someone analyzing RF reception inside a trash can with and without aluminum tape:
      //www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYWhTMmv6bs

      As to putting things underground, the situation is even more complicated…
      from //www.futurescience.com/emp/EMP-myths.html
      Myth: When an EMP hits the ground, the induced electric currents either head directly toward the center of the earth or they just vanish from existence.

      Fact: When EMP (or lightning) hits the ground, the currents tend to spread out horizontally. These ground currents can do great damage, especially to underground cables of all kinds. Metal conduits are of little help, and may actually make the situation worse by providing a path for underground currents which can, in turn, induce large voltage spikes on the underground lines inside of the conduits. A large amount of damage has actually occurred due to these underground currents, due to both lightning strikes and nuclear EMP. This is one reason that so much of the information on the internet on grounding and on underground cabling is pure nonsense. Large variations in soil conductivity makes the ground current situation even more complex.

      So I tend to rely on sealed containers, in my case galvanized metal trash cans in order to keep as much energy outside of the container as possible and hoping that my gear survives. I do keep them in my basement, but more for aesthetics then additional shielding. Of course I have non-electric ways of doing all essential tasks just in case my precautions weren’t enough. But I have no way of knowing if my precautions will be enough until an event.

      Sorry for the long-winded response. I hope some of the info is useful.

      1. You seem to have a better than normal understanding of EMP type energy and wave theory. This makes me want to push the envelope just a little. How much protection would you have for your NEW car electronics if at the time of the EMP it was parked inside a garage with Al siding? Parked in an underground garage? I have such a garage and if I am downtown I often park in the underground garage.

        1. I’m not an electrical engineer, although I did take all the basic courses before I shifted majors since higher level math was just too annoying for me to slog through. But I learned enough so that when I’m reading what other folks have written on a subject I can tell if they are talking nonsense, or if they have a clue.
          All that said, I wouldn’t even begin to know how to figure out if your vehicle will survive an event. Best thing I can suggest is that you have a foldable bike or some really good walking shoes in addition to your GHB, since until an event it’s unknowable how cars might work or what could be wrong with them.
          I suppose if you had a spare computer in a faraday cage inside the car then you could theoretically replace that and drive home with burnt out sensors, but there are so many variables I’d just plan on getting home with muscle power (on foot or on a bike) and if the car works, great, but if not at least you’re ready. Personally I’m not willing to bet on my ability to replace a car computer in the dark or with minimal light, and would rather spend my time walking home or making preparations to do so…
          I’m fortunate that I work within 6.5 miles of my home and my wife is about the same, although in another direction. So we have good walking shoes in addition to our GHBs in case the cars get fried in an EMP so we can walk home easily. Once home we have access to all our preps, including a lovely garden cart that can haul 400 lbs of gear if necessary. Even if my car survives an event, I’m not willing to bet on how long fuel will be available, hence the cart.

  25. With the increased use of LED lights due to low power demand I was just wondering if they were susceptible to an EMP?

    1. I’ve always assumed that even light bulbs could be blown out by an EMP, and LED lights should be even more sensitive. I keep all my spare flashlights, LED lanterns or other electronic light sources in my faraday cages just to be on the safe side. If they didn’t need to be in the cage to survive, no harm done. If they should have been and weren’t then they are fried and useless…

  26. My son- who has done the electrical engineer stuff- said that as long as there is not a circuit your things are good. Keep batteries out of simple flashlights. Batteries do not have to be stored in a separate place. BUT- all of your activated solar stuff does have to be stored because the circuit is in place.
    I have, seriously, looked at how to hook up a ceiling fan the “old way”. It gets mighty hot in the summer and sometimes the wind does not move. A good cord wrapped around and tied to my rocking chair may save me. 🙂 I have a watch and clock that wind. My main cooking is with propane- so that is good for at least a year. Solar oven and dutch ovens after that. We have lots of windows and ways of making inside shutters- so light and safety are good for now.
    i love to visit Victorian homes in the area and see how they did it. To me, this is not the worst case prepper situation…

    1. I live in a house built between 1902 and 1904, and while it’s fully updated including a whole house fan in the attic, it’s obvious how the house was cooled in the summer prior to regular electricity. The stairwell goes from the cellar to the attic and opening windows in the cellar and attic just after sunset will create a chimney effect pulling in the cool night air from the basement, through the house and exiting at the attic. At dawn you close the windows and draw the shades to keep the direct sunlight out and the house will be as cool as it can be without power.
      A few other points: don’t use up your propane for cooking when you don’t need to. In a long term grid down situation, you may not be able to resupply easily or at all, so if you have a solar cooker, use it as often as you can to save your cooking fuel. Only rely on the propane when the weather doesn’t permit solar cooking….
      And I’d be concerned about the flashlight bulbs. Even incandescent bulbs might be susceptible to EMP damage, and I’m almost certain the LED bulbs would be fried by an EMP…so consider a small faraday cage for some spare flashlights. Take the batteries out to avoid leakage, wrap the flashlight first in paper, then in aluminum foil, then place inside a galvanized metal trash can lined with cardboard (making sure it has a tight fitting lid.) Once the can is full and assuming you don’t need to recharge any battery packs in it, you can then tape up the can with aluminized tape to improve the protection. The trash can can be stored anywhere and most folks won’t even comment on it unless they see the tape holding it shut, and even then it’s easy to say oh I store bird food in there and I’m trying to keep out the squirrels, chipmunks, or whatever varmints are in your area. 😉
      And finally, make sure you have not just a windup clock, but a windup alarm clock. Some medical treatments require regular dosing, and the ability to have an alarm go off after 2, 4, 8, 12 or some other amount of time could be critical (in case you fall asleep while caring for loved ones.)
      I drive my wife nuts with all the manual backups I have for things we can do easily with our modern conveniences, but given how easy it is for someone with nuclear capability to blast us back to the 1800s with a single EMP blast, I’m not only not sorry about that…I’m actively looking for more backups and tucking them into various nooks and crannies in the house.
      As the Boy Scout motto goes, always be prepared. 🙂

  27. Reminds of the book “Disaster through air power”. The bomber was once considered capable of destroying a nation to the point that it wouldn’t recover for decades. Fact is, the workers showed up at the bombed plants the next day, started clearing things away and putting things back together, and within days were back in production.

    1. The bomber raids destroyed factories, not entire nations or the globe. The factory could get back up and running by replacing equipment brought in from elsewhere, that had not been bombed. Large-scale debris clearance was done with power equipment that drove in from anywhere just outside the blast area.

      When the factory is ‘bombed’ along with everything else being ‘bombed’ at the same time, there is no way to recover that factory. Even if there was, there would be little point because distributing the production would be unlikely. Even if distribution was possible, workers could only work there for a few days before needing to do something else to be able to eat, since the monetary system would collapse, they could not be paid in anything other than the factory owner’s IOU (pointless and worth nothing to them except maybe if they were a major global corporation: such IOUs could form a kind of currency). With no incentive and no reason to build the factory, it would be abandoned, as many badly-bombed factories were in Germany during the last years of WW2.

  28. One thing no one who talks about EMP ever discusses; the USA has about 200 nuclear power plants.
    If there is ever a general EMP event in the USA, within 2 months we will experience the meltdown of these 200 power plants. This would be like Fukashima times 200.
    I have a BSEE degree and I hold an Amateur Radio Extra class license and a GROL license. My first job as an engineer, back in the mid 1980s, was to harden a commercial computer based device against EMI/RFI events. An EMP is a big EMI. One of the arguments against preparing for an EMP is the cost of fixing the problem. Commercial and military systems have been designed to be hardened against EMP since the 1980s. The hardening is mostly a design problem and does not add very much cost to the end product.
    So, the problem has been fixed. As an example, a few years ago the power lines in my neighborhood were destroyed in a snow storm. When the power company restored the lines they replaced the three separate wires on the pole (2 phase service) with a cable in which the three conductors are twisted around each other. This is possible today due to the improvement in electrical insulation that allows high voltage wires to be placed close together. In the past you could see the wires move during a close lightning strike because the magnetic field created by the lightning would thread between the wires and move them. With the twisted wires this can not happen. An EMP energy is like a huge lightning strike.

  29. I think Finland would be a great place if there’s ever an EMP. I live near Keravanjoki, a river in Vantaa. I could go fish if there’s an EMP. Finland also has low population density which means that you couldn’t really find other survivors. That’s a good thing because about 30 of 100 finns own 1 or more firearms. Also ISIS has no real reason to attack Finland with an EMP or otherwise because they wouldn’t have any real advantage being there. They’d probably just get killed.

  30. I am rather surprised that the article (and comments I have skimmed over) make no mention that there WAS a massive solar flare in 2012.

    The flare was of a size and duration that would have caused massive damage around the world.

    We were lucky, that time, because the bulk of the flare struck the Earth’s orbit about 15 days after the Earth had passed that point. The Earth only caught a little of the flare, leading to 3 satellites needing to be replaced and only minor damage to vulnerable systems on the ground.

    We were lucky, that time. Maybe we will be lucky next time. Sooner or later we will not be lucky. Disaster from a massive solar flare is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’.

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