If an Electromagnetic Pulse were to strike the earth, it would completely destroy our power grids, all electronics and circuit boards, as well as cut off the power to our homes, our businesses, and our armed forces. The threat of an EMP strike is very real, and here are some ways you can protect yourself and your family in the event that one should happen.
What exactly is an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)?
EMPs are short but powerful bursts of electromagnetic energy. They can happen naturally, or they can be manipulated using nuclear energy. Although most experts don’t believe an EMP strike is something to be too concerned with, there are still some that believe the threat is imminent, and we should be prepared should the threat become a reality. Four of the most commonly known EMP threats are:
- LEMP – Lighting Electromagnetic Pulse
- Meteoric EMP – results from the impact of a meteoroid
- CME – Coronal Mass Ejection – ejected from the solar corona and released into the solar wind
- NEMP – Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse – resulting from a nuclear explosion high in the sky designed to wreak havoc on a society’s electrical infrastructure.
The most well-known and documented example of an EMP is the Carrington Event, also referred to as the Solar Storm of 1859. That was a coronal mass ejection that hit Earth 17.6 hours after a massive solar flare erupted on the sun. Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America were shut down, in some cases sending out electric shocks. if an EMP were to happen today, the damage it would cause would be devastating to our electronic infrastructure.
Why is an EMP So Dangerous?
We live in a world that has become dependent upon modern technology for everything — our food source, businesses, education, daily communication — and if an EMP strike were to happen, we’d lose access to all of this, and each other. Our cell towers would be destroyed.
In a recent issue of Financial Sense®, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, who is the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Congressional EMP Commission, talked about the possibility of an EMP strike, and the dangerous effect it would have on a society that has become solely dependent on electricity. “The very technological revolution that is feeding our prosperity is also making us more vulnerable,” Pry said. “As electronics get smaller and faster, and operate on lower energy levels, they also become proportionally more vulnerable to EMPs.” Pry has also stated,”Once the electric grid goes down, everything would collapse. Everything depends on electricity: telecommunications, transportation, even water.”
Hostile nations like North Korea, Russia, and China have reportedly developed the technology to detonate a nuclear device high above the clouds. While this wouldn’t have the same devastating results as let’s say, a CME, it could essentially knock out power grids around the world that would debilitate us on a worldwide scale.
The impact could disrupt, or even destroy, electronics from miles away. A congressional report even details how a North Korean EMP would cause starvation. It would cripple the U.S. economy and severely weaken our military.
The Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack details the many ways an EMP could incapacitate the United States, and the world at large should such an event take place.
How Do You EMP Proof Your House?
The idea of an imminent EMP strike can be quite daunting — albeit a little frightening. But there are some measures you can take to protect yourself and your family that will provide you with some protective measures.
Take Standard Preparedness Measures
If the grid goes down, and you have wood heat as a backup, this will help keep your family warm regardless of the power outage source. The same goes for food and water storage. If you want food stored so you don’t have to go to the grocery store when a pandemic strikes, that same food will serve you well should an EMP hit and there is no food left on the shelves at the grocery store. Another good idea is to learn methods of canning and pickling. These methods served our ancestors well down through the ages and it would be well worth it for you to research these methods.
One the biggest difference we would face dealing with an EMP strike vs. a natural disaster like a hurricane, is that with a natural disaster, there is a certain level of preparedness. Living in South Florida, we expect the pandemonium to ensue once the first hurricane is named. The same applies to the northern region in the event of a snowstorm. The bottom-line is, there is a level of preparedness that an EMP strike does not grant us. The attack — natural or planned — would be unexpected and leave us with no emergency measures in place. The effects would also last longer.
Build (or Buy) Faraday Cages
A Faraday Cage is a metal box designed to protect any items inside from an EMP attack. You can make Faraday Cages from old microwaves, metal filing cabinets, etc. It’s also as easy as wrapping a cardboard box in aluminum foil.
You can also buy a faraday bag or purchase faraday fabric to wrap your electronic devices in. These measures will not protect your ENTIRE home, but will protect your electronic devices.
Some of the things in your home might be much more crucial to protect like ham radios, cellphones, laptops, electronic medical equipment, etc. This is where smaller Faraday cages come in. You can find many of these products at Mission Darkness which has many products to choose that will protect your devices from from an EMP strike if you don’t want to build your own.
Purchase Whole House Surge Protection
Whole house surge protection has gained a lot of steam and is no longer considered a doomsday prepper device. Many Floridians have whole house surge protection devices, and even our electric company now offers this as a service. Again, think hurricanes. Surge protection devices are small devices that are affordable, small devices usually build to military standards. They are widely available for purchase and you can easily find Siemens brand on Amazon. As stated by Siemens, “Siemens FirstSurgeTM stops power surges from entering your electrical system protecting smart appliances, TVs, computers, heating and cooling systems, and more. Every FirstSurgeTM includes commercial class notifiers (LEDs, Audible Alarm, and Red Flashing LED) and supplemental GRM Diagnostics.”
The standard by which the U.S. military sets to protect electrical equipment at fixed locations from the effects of an EMP is well-documented in the MIL-STD-188-125-1
These power surges connect directly to your home’s electrical panel. They are designed to stop a sudden surge in less than one billionth of a second. The excess power voltage is drained away from your power source before it can damage any equipment.
You can also buy a similar product to protect your bug out vehicle from an EMP through a 12 Volt DC Vehicle EMP Protection device such as this one from EMP Shield:
Being well-prepared in the event of any disaster puts you at an advantage in any situation whether it be an EMP strike, hurricane, or snow blizzard. Continued standard preparations, carefully considering how long you could go without external help, and carefully planning any additional steps you need to take in order to prepare your homestead such as canning food and water storage, Faraday Cages, and whole house surge protectors can help make prepping for an an EMP strike easier and effective.