First let’s take a look at Electromagnetic Pulse. An Electromagnetic Pulse or EMP for short is a short burst of electromagnetic energy. These bursts of energy can happen by natural or man-made events and can knock out the entire power grid and can temporarily or permanently take out electronic equipment. Although there does not seem to be a definitive answer as to whether or not it will disable your vehicle, with all the electronics onboard vehicles today I wouldn’t bet the house that yours would still be running. If you think it may just be inconvenient to be without power but we will still be okay, think again. This would have an incredible economic impact as well and not just in the harm it would do to industries. Consider this, over 90% of the worlds currency is digitized. In 2008 the EMP commission stated that should an attack occur 90% of the US population would die within 12 months from starvation, disease and social unrest.
Most people believe that an EMP would be delivered by some hostile foreign government in the form of a nuclear bomb. You may think this type of scenario is unlikely until you start to look into some rather disturbing facts. During the early 1960’s the Soviet Union began EMP tests over Kazakhstan in the form of nuclear bombs exploded at various altitudes and various kilotons known as K-3 or test 184.This gives the Russians a tremendous amount of data and experience. Russia has the capability of delivering such a device in the form of a nuclear bomb, scud missile and a device the size of a small suitcase. In fact Russia has already used tactical EMP warheads attached to mortars while fighting Chechen rebels.
In 2006 and again in 2009 North Korea tested a Russian design, “Super-EMP” weapon. On December 12, 2012 North Korea launched a KSM-3 satellite which has an orbit that passes directly over the eastern half of the United States. The satellite is the correct size and weight of a small nuclear warhead.
In recent years Iranian military documents were found and describe EMP scenarios against the United States as well as a text-book that endorses such attacks. This text-book also discusses 20 different places to launch such an attack in the US.
A Coronal Mass Ejection or CME is a cloud of particles ejected from the sun’s surface during a solar flare that may create a magnetic storm on earth. When these charged particles collide with atoms in the earth’s upper atmosphere we get Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Although this may be a beautiful sight to behold this has the potential to cause devastating effects here on earth. On September 1, 1859, astronomers Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson observed and recorded a massive solar flare. This created an Aurora that could be seen as far south as Cuba and Honolulu and took out telegraph systems throughout Europe and the North America. It was even reported that some telegraph operators received shocks from their equipment due to the CME. Today we rely on far more sensitive equipment on a daily basis throughout the world than just telegraph wires. Almost everything we do is somehow tied to computers and the internet.
How do we protect ourselves from these real threats when it seems that almost everything we do depends on the grid and our electronic equipment. Although things would be very different for sure there are some things we can do. One such example are micro grids. Micro grids are basically small electricity distribution centers that collect energy from varied sources and can be grid tied or not. They are essentially tiny power plants for small communities, large buildings, industrial plants, off grid and single family homes. The generators which would be needed to produce energy when the other sources such as solar panels or wind turbines are not producing, can be shielded. One inherent problem could be finding fuel for those generators. You would need to purchase either EMP hardened solar panels or EMP suppressors to protect your solar panels and or wind turbines. EMP suppressors essentially work as a shield around an area. These units can absorb 90%-95% of an incoming EMP wave.
A Faraday Cage or Faraday Shield is an enclosure or mesh of conductive material that blocks electric fields. Although this may not keep the circuits in your home from being damaged it will protect valuable electronics such as cell phones, computers, tablets or radios from damage. These types of items may prove invaluable in a grid down situation. It is a very good idea to keep as much useful information as possible on these devices. You need to include a way to charge these things in your Faraday Cage as well, if they are dead they aren’t going to be of much use. You can purchase Faraday Cages or you can make your own they are fairly easy to construct in just a few minutes using something like a metal garbage can with a lid and some sort of insulating material. Compared to other options this is probably the least expensive.
Some other things to consider when prepping for an EMP or CME event are things like water, food and fuel. Most water sent to your home is sent through pumps, so no electric, no pumps, no water. Make sure you have water stored and a way to replenish it. If you have your own well the same thing applies you should make sure that you have a manual pump to get water from your well. You will of course need food especially food that does not need refrigeration. Fuel is like water it has to be pumped from tanks underground to your vehicle. With no electricity you are not going to be able to fill your tank. If you are able to store fuel that would be ideal. If you choose to store fuel be very careful to keep it away from any sort of ignition source, it goes without saying it can be extremely dangerous. You will also need to add a gas stabilizer if you are going to store it for more than six months and you will need to rotate it at least once a year if not more. Just like with anything else we do to prepare there are a lot of things to take into consideration.