How To Prepare And Survival An Electromagnetic Pulse – EMP.
An Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is, simply stated, a burst of electromagnetic energy.
It can occur as a radiated, electric or magnetic pulse.
An EMP is usually damaging to most electronic equipment including household appliances, automobiles, power grids and communication systems.
However, certain equipment can be shielded from the damaging effects of the pulse.
There are also naturally occurring EMP’s which can be caused by lightning and from electrostatic discharges when two charged objects come in close proximity, or by making contact.
* How Is An E.M.P. Caused?
An EMP can be cause by a surface or atmospheric nuclear detonation
An EMP can also be man-made, and equipment designed to produce an Electromagnetic Pulse would be used to target specific buildings, installations and equipment.
To create an Electro magnetic pulse over a large area an atmospheric nuclear detonation is considered the the most likely and would be the logical choice.
A rocket would be launched into space and the nuclear warhead would be detonated at a certain distance above the earth’s surface.
High altitude nuclear explosions have already been tested several times by the USA and USSR between 1958 and 1962, as a result of their nuclear weapons testing programs.
All test resulted in a measurable EMP that caused electrical damage over a large area.
* What Are Solar Storms?
Solar Storms And ElectroMagnetic Pulses Go Hand In Hand
A major solar storm going to be inevitable at some time, according to most experts.
A solar storm will cause an electromagnetic disturbance and a large EMP would be enough to easily cause widespread destruction of any country’s power grid.
However, while a solar storm of a large enough magnitude could very well destroy a large portion, if not all of the world’s power grids it poses little threat to electronic gadgets, and will not disable automobiles, planes or trains.
Power companies do have the technology to protect power grids against a solar disturbance.
However, whether they have or will do so at some point remains to be seen.
Once damaged by a solar disturbance the worlds or any nation’s power grids would take years to repair if they could be repaired at all.
* How Does An E.M.P. Effect You
Today a few pounds of enriched plutonium launched into space on a satellite in place of its cameras would cause widespread devastation worldwide.
The effects would be greater as well because today everyone has an ever-increasing dependency on electricity. Some rely wholly on it for the basic maintenance of their lives.
There is a very strong belief that any long-term loss of the electrical system would put the world or a country back 150 years.
However, keep in mind there was not any infrastructure to speak up 150 years ago, so people knew how to survive without electricity.
Therefore, a long-term outage would put us back half of a millennium or more because of our lack of knowledge on how to survive without electricity.
No one today truly knows whether the world or a country can survive without electricity because no one alive today has ever had too.
There will be casualties caused by the effects of a pulse.
A widespread loss of electricity will cause mayhem in any community.
Hospitals and care centres will not be operational because backup generators will not operate, lifesaving equipment would fail and be nothing would work.
Emergency services will be shut down as well, loss of comms and transport grinding them to a halt, which means no law enforcement or emergency response to medical emergencies.
Battery operated torches and radios will cease to work if they have an electronic circuit board in them.
Most automobiles manufactured after 1960 will not operate unless the vehicle was shielded.
Aircraft can fail in flight because any navigational aids would be destroyed seconds after an EMP.
Smaller aircraft can be flown without instruments, but many commercial jets and other aircraft rely on electronics to navigate. Only those that can fly by dead reckoning without instruments would have a chance of landing safely.
Literally, an Electromagnetic Pulse could mean aircraft would be falling from the skies causing untold numbers of fatalities.
People not prepared could very well succumb to hypothermia and hyperthermia.
Dehydration will be a threat for many in a matter of days as well as starvation in the days after. Mobile and landline phones will not function and any hand-held communications devices unless properly shielded will not operate after an EMP.
Prepare to live without electricity, which means you as an individual or family are on your own in the first few weeks, months or possibly years.
You must be self-sufficient enough to survive until the damage can be repaired.
You have to remember that any task you complete today using electricity will still have to be completed in the days after the power goes out.
* The Faraday Cage
The Faraday Cage or Faraday Shield is simply an enclosure used in order to block out an electrical field and a way of protecting electronic equipment from an EMP.
The Faraday cage was named after the English scientist, Michael Faraday, who invented them in 1836
It can be as simple as wrapping a device in aluminium foil. The cage must be made of a conductor of electricity ideally copper, aluminium or steel.
The items protected should be nested inside the cage with Styrofoam or other plastic material without touching the metal walls. Ground the metal cage if possible.
If using foil, wrap the devices and then place in a plastic bag/other plastic material and then wrap again in foil. The more layers of foil and plastic you have the greater protection afforded.
This is a very rudimentary shielding method but can be used when no other materials are available.
There are going to be certain items that are essential to protect from and EMP, and as preppers these must be stored away.
Far short of building yourself a Faraday Cage to fit everything in, it is better to individually pack and store the most needed items.
To do this you must try to imagine life without any power. This gives you an idea of what is essential to protect.
Two way radios, solar chargers, smart phone (with all survival information loaded), batteries, Radio, Torches/Lanterns – all essential survival equipment.
Packing these items individually into Faraday pouches like the one shown above will protect from an outside electric source like an EMP.
These shielded bags come in all different sizes from small pouches to fit an iPhone in, right up to the 10″x 15″ sizes and more.
Protecting your electrical equipment is essential for your future survival, plus its going to make your life a lot easier in the long run.
* DIY Faraday Projects
Get yourself an anodised aluminium rubbish barrel, sold at every garden center or simular.
This can then be made into your shielding device by grounding the bin with an earthing rod and wire, or even burying it in the ground so the lid is at least a half of a meter under the soil.
If you also add a plastic liner inside (this can be a smaller bin that fits inside), and place all your sensitive electrical items in the plastic bin.
Still try to place them so they do not make contact with the sides.
You could also use plastic cases or even styrofoam pieces or bubble wrap to insulate the items in the ‘cage’.
Your household microwave oven can also be used as an effective Faraday cage.
Place in in a metal box and ground the box to earth and it will be double secure as well.
Then all you need to do is place your sensitive electrical items in the microwave and and close the door.
If you don’t have a large metal box to sit it in, then simply position the microwave near a metal water pipe (water pipes are always earthed), and then run a length of earth wire from the microwave and solder to the water pipe, this will create a earthed ground connection.
What will happen is the EMP will flow over and around the box or microwave and then try to find the shortest route to the ground. The metal piping will give this route and bypass your items inside the cage.
An Electromagnetic pulse will destroy computers, your USB devices, as well as hard drives. In effect it will fry and make inoperative, just about any device that has an electronic component within it.
The only way to protect it is to ensure it is shielded in some way.
However, as a side note here, there is some conflicting view regarding whether it is necessary to ground the cage at all.
Instead, providing the cage is totally sealed with no perforations, simply allow the cage to discharge naturally.
* Communications & Radio
In a SHTF situation communication is vital, as is using two way and ham radio.
Both types radios are very important and absolutely necessary for keeping everyone updated.
It is essential that you and family members are able to keep in contact and, also be able to monitor the airways for any public information that will help you stay safe..
Along with your radio devices, all torches, and all other battery-operated survival devices are well worth adding to your faraday cage if possible.
Don’t forget batteries – they will fry and become useless in an EMP, so shield them too.
The internet and all mobile phone networks will be effected as well, so don’t rely on comms via your phone.
Major disruption for all transport systems will occur in an EMP strike. Causing untold disruption and confusion.
You vehicle will suddenly lose all its electrical and electronic controls and die. Leaving you high n dry wherever you find yourself at the time.!
Driving at 70mph or parked in your garage, it will be zapped, and rendered useless, and that includes the battery as well.
It is almost impossible to try to shield a full sized vehicle and very unpractical as well. Although it would be quite possible for smaller modes of transport, typically a small motor bike or scooter could have its own cage and be shielded.
When an EMP stike happens it would bring vehicles to a standstill, meaning the roadways will be clogged with unusable cars, bikes, lorries and, more worrying, emergency vehicles.
People could be literally miles away from their home and totally stranded.
* What To Do Now
As preppers, most of the general disaster scenarios will be covered. Certainly enough for you to ride out the first month or so.
But for others, an EMP would mean total disruption and a very real struggle for survival even to stay alive, in what could be compared to living in the dark ages.
As an EMP would mean no electricity, just about every service we come to rely on would be shut down. The whole infrastructure would crumble, pretty much instantly – think about it for a minute. Every single thing you do relies on electricity at its source.
It really is a frightening thought. Along with the panic and the looting, there will be no way of knowing what is happening and how long things will last before help comes.
Personally, I don’t think help would come at all.
* Equipment & Supplies
You always have to assume the worst otherwise you would never be prepared.
You should have at least a 90-day supply of food, water, medicines and medical supplies. Once people realise there was an EMP, panic will ensue and the shops and other establishments will be looted quickly. You will not be able to go shopping to get anything at this point.
The pulse itself is not dangerous to you physically but the results of the pulse will be. The thing you need to fear the most in some cases will be other humans once desperation sets in. Keep the fact you are a prepper and therefor are well supplied a secret from everyone.
You need protection from the cold so have plenty of blankets/thermal blankets and wood or coal if you have a fireplace/stove. Most people rely on the village main for their water supply so you may not have running water. Private water wells are one option if you have the means and property to have one dug or drilled and remember you will need to have hand water pumps installed.
Charcoal or bottled gas is an option for cooking and gas can be used for heating in some cases but you will not be able to resupply. Of course, you can only cook using charcoal or wood outside.
Laundry and bathing will be a problem because of a limited water supply and not having the ability to heat water efficiently. Hand wash clothes and bathe using collected rainwater. You can place water collection barrels to capture runoff but ensure the barrels are screened to filter out debris and prevent insect breeding. Use large kettles to heat the collected water for laundry and bathing. It is impractical to think you can store enough water in jugs to sustain you indefinably so you will have to develop alternative means of obtaining water.
* Will An EMP Kill Me?
Certain ‘rays’ like radar and microwave radiation can actually cook flesh, so this type most definitely needs to be avoided at all costs.
If you think of a stun gun as an example:
You find that even a 4-watt TASER stun gun is capable of causing severe muscle contractions, and will easily override the bodies central nervous system and affect all the muscles throughout the body, but fortunately these type of devices won’t kill you.
When it comes to an ElectroMagnetic Pulse – A short duration pulse EMP should pass through the body with no effect.
The correct conditions required are simply not present in an EMP derived from a solar flare, nuclear detonation, or any electromagnetic weapon to produce damage to the body.
The reason an EMP does not damage the body is due to the duration of the pulse. A quick EMP pulse would simply pass right through.
To cause any bodily damage you would require a sustained magnetic field. That field would need to be constantly increasing in magnitude thus causing current flow for at least a few milliseconds. However, this isn’t really considered to be a pulse.
Research and the governments technical threat assessments have conclude that an EMP passes through you so fast, that the current cannot begin flowing in your body to cause harm.
So panic over…. It’s not worth being too worried that EMP can frizzle you. Your body should be fine, with no after effects. However, it’s not you that needs protecting – it’s protecting your electrical and electronic systems.
An EMP would take us back into the dark ages, literally.
Without electricity the whole world infrastructure would fail overnight and and total collapse would be a certainty, leaving the world a whole new place to try and survive in…!
Steve Hart – UK Preppers Guide